$ 23 billion Elizabeth Line train to open, connecting central London
According to Andy Byford, commissioner of Transport for London, the new line, costing $ 23 billion, will be “the envy of the world” when it opens this month.
“It really gives people a sense of grandeur, but there is also a sense of calm,” he said, as reported by the Associated Press.
While the mixed overground and underground railway, named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, is three-and-a-half years late and $ 5 billion over budget, Byford said it will be “a game-changer.”
“I think when it opens it is going to be a huge morale boost for London, post-COVID. What could be a greater symbol of London’s emergence from COVID than this spectacular railway?” Byford said.
The line was scheduled to open in late 2018. But its launch was postponed, as workers struggled to finish 10 new stations and link up three separate signaling systems.
“It has had its challenges. This has been a labor of love for us. We’ve sweated blood over this thing,” Byford noted.
The largely underground central section from Paddington Station in west London to Abbey Wood in the southeast, opens to paying customers this month before the UK celebrates the queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
According to its builders, the Elizabeth Line will link Heathrow Airport west of London, the City financial district in the center and the Canary Wharf business district in the east.