Queen at Crossrail station

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced that the new £14.8bn Crossrail railway in the UK will be named the Elizabeth Line in honour of the Queen.

The Elizabeth line will transform travel across the city, as well as support thousands of new jobs and homes.

The Queen officially unveiled the purple line logo named after her and visited the Bond Street station underground site.

When the central section of the Transport for London (TfL) run railway opens in 2018, the Bond Street station site will see 24 trains an hour in each direction.

"The Elizabeth line will provide a lasting tribute to our longest serving monarch."

The Queen became the first reigning monarch to travel on the London Underground in 1969, when she opened the Victoria line service.

Officially opened by Prince Charles in 1979, the Jubilee Line was given its name to mark 25 years since the Queen's accession to the throne.

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Johnson said: "Crossrail is already proving a huge success for the UK economy, and as we move closer to bringing this transformative new railway into service, I think it's truly wonderful that such a significant line for our capital, will carry such a significant name from our country.

"As well as radically improving travel right across our city, the Elizabeth line will provide a lasting tribute to our longest serving monarch."

The Elizabeth Line will deliver a direct link between all of London's main employment centres, connecting Heathrow with Paddington, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.

Trains will start operating in five phases: Liverpool Street to Shenfield next May; Heathrow to Paddington in May 2018; Paddington to Abbey Wood, through the new central tunnels in December 2018; Paddington to Shenfield in May 2019; and full through service including services to Reading in December 2019.

Last June, tunneling works have concluded for the new east-west Crossrail rail link, for which eight 1,000t tunnelling machines were used to bore 42km of new 6.2m diameter rail tunnels under London.

The new interchange is set to provide more capacity and direct connections to three of London's five airports, as well as international rail services at St Pancras.

Adding 10% capacity to London's rail network, the Elizabeth line will serve 40 stations, and connect Reading and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said: "Construction for the new railway is now over 70% complete and is being delivered on time and within budget.

"The Crossrail project is one of the most ambitious and complex infrastructure programmes ever undertaken in the UK, the scale of engineering being delivered under the capital is quite incredible. The opening of the Elizabeth line in 2018 will be a significant moment for London."

Image: Her Majesty the Queen visits the under-construction Crossrail station at Bond Street. Photo: © Crossrail.