At 6.33am local time on Tuesday morning the train left London’s Paddington station with several hundred anxious passengers, the PA news agency reported.
A number of train fans had already stayed at the station during the night to be among the first passengers. Waiting in line for hours at a closed train station is the most British thing imaginable, one passenger told the BBC.
The new connection is named after Queen Elizabeth II and is intended to significantly reduce travel times between train stations, airports, attractions and the financial center.
The central section below the City of London will be released first. In the autumn, the sections of the route in the west towards Heathrow Airport and the city of Reading and in the east towards the county of Essex and south-east London are to open. Continuous use of the 113-kilometer line is planned for May 2023.
With the Elizabeth Line, the famous London Tube is growing by ten percent. An additional 1.5 million people will then be no more than 45 minutes’ drive from the city. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was also on the first ride, described the line as a “game changer” and admitted: “I’m excited. I’m like that little boy just before Christmas.”
Those responsible expect 200 million passengers a year, who should contribute to an economic boom. The project had been delayed considerably, and the construction time ended up being three and a half years longer than planned. The costs also rose enormously – from 14.8 billion to 19 billion pounds (around 23 billion Swiss francs).