On Saturday evening we went for a ride on the newest addition to the London transport network – Crossrail AKA the Elizabeth Line. I know it’s opened four years later than planned, but with all the hoo-ha about the jubilee, it’s almost as if opening it now was always the plan.
The train geek in me meant I was very jealous when I heard colleagues that don’t live in London got to experience it on day one, so we took the first opportunity we had to check it out. It felt quite weird going into town solely to go on public transport that we didn’t need to use, but it’s not everyday a new line opens.
We headed to Tottenham Court Road and went one stop to Paddington, before travelling the full length of the central part of the line east to Abbey Wood in south east London – a journey that took a mere 30 minutes, and that previously would’ve taken at least an hour on multiple lines.
Everything about it felt spacious, from the cavernous tunnels and platforms to the wide carriages, with no doors between them giving an even greater feeling of space. Apparently the trains are 205 metres which is the length of 18 new Routemaster buses – the platforms certainly felt almost endless.
It’s not the most helpful line for us on a day-to-day basis (apparently going across London east to west is more important than north to south) but I can see how this will benefit people in certain pockets of the city, especially deepest darkest south east London. I guess time will tell whether it’s worth the circa £18 billion it’s cost.