Elizabeth Line evacuated at Paddington within hours of officially opening

May 24, 2022

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London’s long-awaited Elizabeth Line opened at Paddington Station today with great fanfare… only to be evacuated hours later when a fire alarm went off by mistake.

At rush hour this morning, crowds of excited commuters arrived at the west London hub to take their first journeys to work on the capital’s newest train line.

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But then, hours after the grand opening, hundreds were seen streaming out of the station due to a “fire alert”.

A Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson said a fire alert had closed the station before the British Transport Police said the evacuation was a precautionary measure.

“British Transport Police were called this morning to the Elizabeth Line at Paddington station following a report of a fire alarm,” the spokesperson said. “The station was evacuated as a precaution. London Fire Brigade attended, and it was deemed the alarm was triggered by accident. The station has since reopened.”

(Photo courtesy of TfL)

“First evacuation on the #ElizabethLine, Paddington station is shut and evacuated,” tweeted one commuter alongside a video. “Fire brigade turned up.”

Related: London’s Heathrow connecting Elizabeth Line is now open — everything travellers need to know

According to witnesses, the evacuation lasted about half an hour before commuters were allowed back in. It only caused minor disruptions to the new service, TfL said.

 

One user said it only added 15 minutes to their journey. They wrote on Twitter: “Tried to cut my commute by going to Paddington instead of Marylebone and getting the Elizabeth line. Elizabeth line at Paddington gets evacuated and I end up on the same bus I always get, with an extra 15 minutes added to my journey. Fair enough.”

Another wrote: “At least the process of evacuation works! Good practice and thankfully it was a false alarm!”

In the end, most of the line’s first-time users appeared satisfied with the service, not least London Mayor Sadiq Kahn, who hailed it as “a huge moment for our city and country”.

John Bull wrote on Twitter: “The staff are utterly proud of the Elizabeth line. It shows. Combined with the open, warmly lit stations and the minimal automated announcements on trains, it’s just a HUGELY positive experience. It’s not just railfans smiling. It’s regular passengers.”

Another commuter, Laura Dickens, tweeted: “First train out of Canary Wharf! It’s so pretty and shiny and so awesome to come in the station and have lovely @TfL staff say “morning and welcome to the Elizabeth Line!” – feel so fancy right now.”

Featured image courtesy of TfL.

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