Paddington station was evacuated just two hours after the first Elizabeth line train departed due to a fire alert, according to Transport for London (TfL).
The alarm, which resulted in the Elizabeth line platform being evacuated around 8.30am, was caused by a person “pressing the emergency button”, the Independent reported.
Hundreds of people had gathered in central London on Tuesday morning in an attempt to be among the first passengers on the new Elizabeth Tube line .
Transport enthusiasts hailed the “momentous occasion” , having travelled from across the country for the ceremony and queued from the early hours of the morning.
Around 300 people queued outside Paddington Station ahead of the service’s opening at 6.30am, and the crowd cheered and rushed forwards when the doors opened at around 6.20am.
The first train departed on time at 6.33am carrying hundreds of excited passengers.
Absolutely delighted that the Elizabeth Line has opened to the public today. pic.twitter.com/5I3rvD0gop
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 24, 2022
London mayor Sadiq Khan , who travelled on the first train, said: “It’s a landmark day. I’m excited. I’m like the little boy before Christmas.”
He said the Elizabeth line is a “game-changer” that will “transform our city”.
He added that the trains are “fit for a Queen” after her Majesty visited Paddington last week to mark the completion of the Crossrail project.
TfL commissioner Andy Byford said the Elizabeth line service was “so far so good” and “on time”.
He went on: “The customer reaction has been amazing, just as predicted. The universal reaction is ‘wow’.”
Colin Kelso, 18, travelled down from Glasgow for the event and wore a hoody emblazoned with “Purple train” on the front, in a nod to the line’s colour scheme.
He told the PA news agency: “I want to get on the first train.
“I’ve always liked trains and have been keeping up to date with the project.”
Danny McLaren, 21, from Edinburgh, arrived at Paddington at 1.30am, and described the event as “an epic day”.
“We’ve known it will open for a while,” he told PA.
“It’s a brand new railway. New technology. New trains.
“It’s an epic day to experience it when it’s brand new.”
Another passenger, Hakim Colclough, 24, from Chessington, Surrey, said: “This is a momentous occasion.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Colin Farmer, 84, from Croydon, south-east London, arrived at 4.30am.
He said: “It’s history. It’s about time there were trains right through London without changing to the Underground.
“I’m very excited. We’ve been waiting long enough for it.
“It’s a great achievement.”
Only part of the Elizabeth line opened today – the section from Paddington to Abbey Wood in southeast London.
Passengers will have to change at Paddington and Liverpool street for trains to Reading and Shenfield in Essex. The full service is scheduled to begin in May 2023.
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