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Opening the Elizabeth Line

Published 17 May 2022

The Queen and The Earl of Wessex visited Paddington Station to officially open the Elizabeth Line

The Queen and The Earl of Wessex, today (Tuesday 17 May), visited Paddington Elizabeth line station to mark the completion of the new railway ahead of its opening to passengers on Tuesday 24 May.

During the Royal visit, Her Majesty officially unveiled a plaque to celebrate the completion of the line named in Her honour. The plaque will be permanently mounted at Paddington station, celebrating The Queen’s connection with the railway for generations to come. 

Accompanied by The Earl of Wessex, The Queen also met with staff who have been key to the Crossrail project, as well as Elizabeth line staff who will be running the railway - including apprentices, drivers, and station staff. 

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness were joined on their visit by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Transport for London's Commissioner Andy Byford, the Transport Secretary the Right Hon. Grant Shapps, and the Crossrail Chief Executive Mark Wild. 

At Paddington, the line contributes to the transformation of the area and complements the station building created by Isambard Kingdom Brunel that opened in 1854. London Underground arrived at the station in 1863, with the opening of the original section between Paddington and Farringdon by the Metropolitan Railway. 

The Earl also had the chance to travel on the railway from Paddington to Tottenham Court Road.

During construction of the railway, eight giant tunnel boring machines burrowed below the streets of London to create 42km of new rail tunnels which cross the River Thames three times, and more than 3 million tonnes of excavated spoil contributed to the creation of Jubilee Marsh as part of the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project. 

The visit was Her Majesty’s second to the Elizabeth line. To mark the name change from Crossrail to the Elizabeth line, The Queen came to see the railway during its construction in 2016. Today’s visit builds upon a long-held association between the Royal family and London's Transport network. Her Majesty became the first reigning monarch to travel on the London Underground in 1969, when she opened the Victoria line.

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