Rushing under the city at nearly 100 kilometers per hour, stations “like cathedrals”, better connections for hundreds of thousands: London has high hopes for a new Underground line. But the Elizabeth line also distracts from violations in public transport.
The famous London Underground has become a new queen. With the new Elizabeth line from ‘the tube’, as the London Underground is called, the British capital is getting its long-awaited axis between east and west – just in time to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the throne of Queen Elizabeth II.
It starts on Tuesday, and for the first time travelers can use the central section directly under the city.
The line, which should be fully accepted in the spring of 2023, has already received a royal honour. Dressed in bright yellow, Her Majesty the Queen announced the opening of the Elizabeth line herself. The Queen looked like a phoenix with tremendous energy, project manager Mark Wilde excitedly.
Ten new stations and 42 new tunnels
It is a build out of supremacy, with 10 new stations and 42 tunnels. Connection lights up in royal purple on the subway map. But construction time and costs also broke records. The opening of the Jubilee of the Throne is more than coincidental. Contact was supposed to start at the end of 2018, but in the end it took 13 years, three and a half more than planned.
Wilde explains that it was a complex digital project. Costs also rose from £14.8 billion to £19 billion due to the delay. Officials are sure that the investment is worth it. With the Elizabeth Line, 1.5 million people moved into the city in a 45-minute radius, Wilde asserts.
New ultra-long tube trains run at nearly 100 kilometers per hour, halving travel times between important hubs such as Paddington Station and the financial center at Canary Wharf. Those responsible chant “game changers,” groundbreaking change.
Trains shorten transfer times between airports
Once fully operational, the link will extend 113 kilometers from Reading in Berkshire in the west, with a branch to the main Heathrow Airport, to Shenfield in Essex in the east. The connection time between Stansted and Heathrow, for example, should be much shorter.
But the job alone is not enough. With the Elizabeth Line, London wants to push the old Underground network to the top of the world. Project Director Wild does not stop raving, talking about “cathedral-like stations”, “acoustically and climatically perfect”. The new building is the ‘UK Pride’, offering ‘the best of British architecture’ and simply ‘the achievement of the century’.
But it’s not just chants of praise that puts the designers and those responsible for the tube under pressure so nothing can go wrong. The modern tube with its spacious stations and modern interior highlights just how dilapidated the London Underground is. Mockers say little has changed since the first connection opened in 1863.
Critics complain that wagons are cramped and claustrophobic, and traffic must be stopped regularly due to signal errors or flooding. With up to five million passengers a day, the tube is the city’s heartbeat. If things don’t continue, London stands idly by.
No money for renovations, the pandemic has created a huge hole. Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly argued with the central government over funding. Possible sources of income are the higher fees for drivers in the city and a larger ecological area. Savings can also be made on the bus network. As they double as the Elizabeth Line, Khan plans to move several bus lines out of town to the suburbs.
By Benedict von Imhof D
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