New train line running through London opens next week

New train line running through London opens next week

“The arrival of this line is a motivational moment for London and opens a new chapter for the city,” said Mark Wilde, CEO of Crossrail.

At more than 100 kilometers, it puts an additional 1.5 million people from the surrounding area within 45 minutes of the center of the British capital and will significantly reduce travel times between different parts of the city, including access to Heathrow Airport.

Major stops in the city include the office centers of Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, ExCel Gallery, Event Park and the shopping areas Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.

Even revised downwards, the number is estimated at 200 million annual passengers, and the resulting business and investment are estimated to contribute 42 billion pounds (about 50 billion euros) to the British economy.

“This project shows that London continues to innovate and has the potential to attract more people, including national tourism, in a sustainable way of travel,” said Tracy Halliwell, director of tourism at investment agency London & Partners, Tracey Halliwell.

Wilde prefers to underscore the grandeur and elegance of some stations and the comfort of air-conditioned coaches, in contrast to the practical, narrow and cluttered London Underground.

“The speed will be surprising,” he guarantees, about 145 kilometers per hour, more than twice the speed of the secular “tube”.

The idea of ​​a train that would cross the city from east to west dates back to 1919, but was only approved in 2008 and started in 2009, first known as Crossrail, but in the meantime it was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.

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The result is a mixed surface and underground train that cost a total of £19,000 million (€22,500 million), £4,000 million (€5,000 million) more than expected.

It is the UK’s largest infrastructure project in decades and involves digging 42 kilometers of new tunnels under Europe’s largest city, finding huge bones, Roman ruins and skeletons of the victims of the 1665 bubonic plague along the way.

The opening was scheduled for the end of 2018, but the delays were made due to the difficulty of finishing new stations and installing a “reliable” digital signage system.

During construction, London experienced a recession, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wilde attributed the delay and increased cost to the “complexity” of the project, which involved navigating densely built areas littered with archaeological remains, with many subway lines, skyscrapers, secular sewers and passage under the river.

The central section, especially the Underground, opens between Paddington railway station in west London to Abbey Wood in the southeast days before the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee festivities.

Other divisions at Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield are expected to begin operations in the fall, at a date to be announced.

BM // JNM

Lusa / end

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