The Queen marked the completion of construction in London Crossroads project by attending the opening ceremony of the Elizabeth Line.
Accompanied by the Earl of Wessex, she was greeted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and London Transport Commissioner Andy Byford at Paddington Station.
She met with staff who were key in the project and who will operate the railway, including drivers, station staff and students.
It was about a rare public appearance for the 96-year-old monarchwho missed the state opening of parliament last week.
Announcing the Queen’s intention to be at the ceremony, Buckingham Palace said: “In a happy state Her Majesty the Queen is attending today’s event to mark the completion of the Elizabeth Line. Her Majesty was aware of the engagement, and the organizers were informed of the possibility of her participation.
The engagement is the first for the Queen outside of Windsor District after she visited the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey seven weeks ago.
Using a cane, she smiled warmly when she met the Crossrail and Elizabeth line workers. She was given an Oyster card and shown how to use it at the ticket machine. She walked slowly, making her way through the station hall.
Elizabeth Line, named after queen, will open to passengers May 24. It was hoped that the head of state would attend the opening ceremony, but her participation was not guaranteed as she missed a number of major events this year due to ongoing mobility issues.
But she had made the trip to the Royal Windsor Equestrian Show on Friday, and on Sunday was the guest of honor at the gallop extravaganza “Gallop through History” near Windsor, the first major event of the anniversary celebrations.
Crossrail, the name of the project to build a new east-west railway, has been delayed and exceeded the budget due to many problems, including difficulties in building and complications in installing alarm systems.
It was due to be completed in December 2018, and was set at a budget of £ 14.8 billion in 2010. The total cost was estimated at £ 18.9 billion, including £ 5.1 billion from the government.
The Elizabeth Line will increase capacity and reduce travel time in the capital. It will run from Reading in Berkshire and Heathrow Airport in west London to Shanfield in Essex and Abby Wood in south-east London.
Initially, the trains will run on three sections, which are planned to merge in the fall.