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In Pictures: Thousands travel on Elizabeth line on first morning of passenger service

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Thousands of people traveled on London’s £18.9 billion Elizabeth line railway in the first few hours of operation on Tuesday morning.

Hundreds of transport enthusiasts gathered at stations in Paddington, west London, and Abbey Wood, south-east London, to be on the first trains, which departed shortly after 6.30 am.

Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Andy Byford said the service was running “so far so good” and “on time.”

Paddington station was closed for around half an hour due to a fire alarm being activated.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who traveled on the first departure from Paddington, said it was “a fantastic day.”

He told the PA news agency: “It’s been fantastic to see these amazing stations being used by members of the public.

“It’s one of those pinch-me moments.

Crowds wait in line to board the first Elizabeth line train to carry passengers at Paddington Station, London (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)
Crowds wait in line to board the first Elizabeth line train to carry passengers at Paddington Station, London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“We’re experiencing an expansion of public transport in London we’ve not seen in more than 50 years.”

He added: “These trains are speedy, spacious, silent, comfortable.

“We know now they are fit for a Queen and, as importantly, fit for Londoners.”

The head of state visited Paddington last week to mark the completion of the Crossrail project to build the railway.

The Queen unveils a plaque to mark the Elizabeth line’s official opening at Paddington station (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The Queen unveils a plaque to mark the Elizabeth line’s official opening at Paddington station (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Absolutely delighted that the Elizabeth Line has opened to the public today.

“Long-term investment in UK infrastructure pays off – with this project alone supporting 55,000 new jobs, 1,000 apprenticeships, and forecast to boost the UK economy by £42bn.”

Danny McLaren, 21, from Edinburgh, arrived at Paddington at 1.30 am to ensure he would be near the front of the queue to be on the first train.

He said: “It’s an epic day to experience it when it’s brand new.”

Crossrail route (PA Graphics)
Crossrail route (PA Graphics)

Another passenger, Colin Farmer, 84, from Croydon, south-east London, said: “It’s history. It’s about time there were trains right through London without changing to the Underground.

“I’m very excited. We’ve been waiting long enough for it.

“It’s a great achievement.”

James Robert, 48, from Wigan, was on the train with his 11-year-old son Matthew.

“It’s lovely and bright and fast,” Mr. Robert said.

“I wish we had trains like this in Wigan.”

Undated Marylebone Boys’ School handout photo of art work by pupils from Marylebone Boys’ School (Marylebone Boys' School/PA)
Undated Marylebone Boys’ School handout photo of art work by pupils from Marylebone Boys’ School (Marylebone Boys’ School/PA)

Clare Cenci, 43, from Maidenhead, Berkshire traveled on an early morning Elizabeth line service from Paddington on her commute to Liverpool Street.

She said there is “a lot more space” compared with Tube trains.

She went on: “The air-conditioning makes it a lot better.

“The Central line in the summer isn’t good.”

The Elizabeth line stretches from Reading in Berkshire and Heathrow Airport in west London to Abbey Wood in south-east London and Shenfield in Essex.

It initially operates in three separate sections, which are expected to be integrated in the autumn.

TfL estimates that annual passenger numbers will reach 170 million by 2026.

The new central section, built by the Crossrail project, runs through tunnels from Paddington to Abbey Wood.

It will initially be closed on Sundays, apart from during the Platinum Jubilee weekend, to allow further testing and software updates to take place.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Chelsea Pensioners, and train enthusiasts from around the UK were among those on the first train to leave Paddington at 6.33 am on Tuesday.

Elizabeth Line
Crowds waited to board the first trains (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Elizabeth Line
Mr. Khan and Andy Byford, Commissioner at Transport for London, gave a thumbs-up as they descended the escalator at Paddington (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Elizabeth Line
Chelsea Pensioners were among those on board the first Elizabeth line train (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

There were big smiles from Mayor of London, Mr. Khan as passengers finally tried out the trains.

Elizabeth Line
Mr. Khan posed for a selfie on board the first Elizabeth line train to carry passengers at Paddington Station (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Elizabeth Line
Passengers onboard an Elizabeth Line train in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Elizabeth Line
Booklets were handed out showing the development of the line (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Elizabeth Line
The line will boost capacity and cut journey times for east-west travel across the capital (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Elizabeth Line
Mr. Khan and Mr. Byford walkthrough Farringdon Station after disembarking (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A lot of work has also gone into brightening up the line for travelers.

Elizabeth Line art work at Paddington
Pupils from Marylebone Boys’ School were behind artwork at Paddington (Marylebone Boys’ School/PA)

Elizabeth Line art work at Paddington
The boys enjoyed showing off their skills (Marylebone Boys’ School/PA)

Elizabeth Line art work at Paddington
The artwork celebrates the line’s link to the Queen (Marylebone Boys’ School/PA)

Londontopia Staff
Author: Londontopia Staff

This article was submitted and adapted by Londontopia Staff and used with a license from the Press Association UK (PA Media). All images and content used with permission.

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