The Queen visits new Paddington Elizabeth line station

HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, unveil a commemorative plaque to mark the completion of the Elizabeth Line Paddington station.

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex have visited Paddington Elizabeth line station to mark the completion of the transformational 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 HRH The Earl of Wessex, Her Majesty 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 the visit by the prime minister Boris Johnson, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Transport for London's commissioner Andy Byford, transport secretary Grant Shapps, and Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild.  

London is paying for most of the Elizabeth line, with nearly 70% of the total funding paid by London – made up of roughly 30% from London’s farepayers, around 40% from London’s businesses – combined with 30% from government.

The Elizabeth line is already supporting regeneration and new homes, jobs, and economic growth across the length of the route. The new railway is expected to support thousands of new homes and jobs and will boost the UK economy by an estimated £42bn. It will transform rail transport in London and the south east by increasing central London rail capacity by 10% and relieving congestion on many existing rail and tube lines. It will also transform the accessibility of the transport network by radically increasing the number of step-free stations and providing spacious trains. 

To mark the name change from Crossrail to the Elizabeth line, The Queen came to see the railway during its construction in 2016. This latest 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. 

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted that Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex have officially unveiled the new Elizabeth line station at Paddington today. The opening of the Elizabeth line, with nearly 70% of the total funding paid for by London, is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year.   

“The Elizabeth line is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades and this new line will revolutionise travel across the capital and the south east and bring economic benefits to the whole country. There is now just one week to go until our world-class new railway will be open to passengers, and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it.”  

Andy Byford, Transport for London's commissioner, pictured above with Her Majesty and Prince Edward, said: “Her Majesty The Queen has a long association with London’s transport network, and I am delighted that Her Majesty was able to visit our magnificent Paddington Elizabeth line station today. In a landmark year for Her Majesty, during the Platinum Jubilee, everyone at TfL is committed to ensuring this new railway will serve as a fitting tribute and will – by creating faster journeys, new jobs, and economic growth – become a vital part of London’s recovery. What could be better for encouraging back on to public transport, and what better symbol could there be of London’s renaissance from the pandemic.” 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps, said: “Boasting the oldest underground network in the world, London has long been viewed as a pioneer in world leading transport systems and the Elizabeth Line is no exception. Just one week from now, Londoners will have access to faster and cheaper travel on board these state-of-the-art trains and it’s an honour to have played a role in this through the government’s £9bn investment.”

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