Queen makes surprise appearance to see completed Elizabeth line in London

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The Queen has marked the completion of London’s Crossrail task by attending the opening ceremonial of the Elizabeth line.

Accompanied by the Earl of Wessex, she was welcomed by the premier minister, Boris Johnson, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and the commissioner of Transport for London, Andy Byford, astatine Paddington station.

She met unit who person been cardinal to the task and who volition tally the railway, including bid drivers, presumption unit and apprentices.

It was a rare nationalist engagement for the 96-year-old monarch, who missed the authorities opening of parliament past week.

Announcing the Queen’s volition to beryllium astatine the ceremony, Buckingham Palace said: “In a blessed development, Her Majesty the Queen is attending today’s lawsuit to people the completion of the Elizabeth line. Her Majesty was alert of the engagement and the organisers were informed of the anticipation she whitethorn attend.”

The engagement is the Queen’s archetypal extracurricular the Windsor country since she attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial work successful Westminster Abbey 7 weeks ago.

Using a walking stick, she smiled warmly arsenic she met Crossrail and Elizabeth enactment workers. She was fixed an Oyster paper and shown however to usage it connected a summons machine. She walked dilatory arsenic she made her mode astir the presumption concourse.

The Queen utilizing an Oyster paper  instrumentality   astatine  Paddington station
The Queen utilizing an Oyster paper instrumentality astatine Paddington station. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

The Elizabeth line, named successful honour of the Queen, volition open to passengers connected 24 May. It was hoped the caput of authorities would beryllium progressive successful the opening ceremonial but her attendance was not guaranteed arsenic she has missed a fig of large events this twelvemonth owing to ongoing problems with her mobility.

But she had made a travel to the Royal Windsor equine show connected Friday, and connected Sunday was the impermanent of honour astatine the equestrian extravaganza A Gallop Through History adjacent Windsor, the archetypal large lawsuit of the jubilee festivities.

Crossrail, the sanction of the task to physique the caller east-west railway, was delayed and implicit fund owed to galore issues including operation difficulties and complications installing signalling systems.

It was owed to beryllium completed successful December 2018 and was acceptable a fund of £14.8bn successful 2010. The full outgo has been estimated astatine £18.9bn, including £5.1bn from the government.

The Elizabeth enactment volition boost capableness and chopped travel times for question crossed the capital. It volition agelong from Reading successful Berkshire and Heathrow airdrome successful westbound London to Shenfield successful Essex and Abbey Wood successful south-east London.

Trains volition initially run successful 3 sections, which are expected to beryllium integrated successful the autumn.

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