LONDON: Long delayed and over budget, the Elizabeth line rail link finally opened in London on Tuesday, with hopes that the speeded up journey times will provide a much-needed economic boost.
Hundreds of people queued outside Paddington station in west London to be on the first train, which departed to cheers at 6:33 am (0533 GMT).
By 10:00 am, there had been some 130,000 journeys, operator Transport for London (TfL) said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was one of those on board, and told AFP that the line was a “game-changer for our country and our city”.
Khan’s predecessor as mayor, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said the project is forecast to boost the UK economy by £42 billion ($52 billion, 49 billion euros).
Only one of the line’s three branches has opened so far, from Paddington to Abbey Wood in southeast London.
There, commuters wanted to reap the benefits of the new line from a sprawling hinterland ill-served with fast transport links.