Crossrail to become the Elizabeth line in honour of Her Majesty the Queen
23 February 2016
Her Majesty the Queen today visited the unfinished Crossrail station at Bond Street to boost the credentials of the Lord of Brexit, Boris Johnson MP.
She wore a special matching hat and coat in Crossrail purple, and he announced that the new railway will be described as the Elizabeth line in all of its brand collateral.
The Mayor was joined by a selection of hangers-on, keen to be pictured in a confined space with an 89-year old woman from Windsor. Fawning courtiers included the Secretary of State for Transport, the London Transport Commissioner and several important men in positions of corporate responsibility. They took it in turns to lead Her Majesty through some subways, pointing out where there will one day be lots of trains she will never ride.
In order to create a Facebook-friendly video opportunity, the Queen unveiled a plaque and was presented with a commemorative purple roundel. Imprinted across its centre were the words ELIZABETH LINE, even though no other Underground line is ever named on a roundel in the same style, because this was the optimal means to drive today's brand message home. Her Majesty also met a wide range of people involved in the construction of Crossrail, including apprentices, engineers and drivers-in-training, but mostly she spent her time with the suits.
The Queen loves trains, and has been on at least one this year. She has also ridden on an Underground train on precisely three occasions, which we will now list below to make it look like naming a tube line after a reigning monarch is the most natural thing in the world.
• In 1939 she rode incognito with her sister from St James's Park to Tottenham Court Road and back. [Londonist]
• In 1969 she rode from Green Park to Oxford Circus and back to open the Victoria line. [Pathé News]
• In 1977 she rode from Hatton Cross to Heathrow Central to open the Piccadilly line extension. [Movietonews]
The Elizabeth line will transform travel across the city, so long as you don't live to the north or south of the Capital, in which case your new line might be coming later, probably after you're dead. The Elizabeth line has cost billions of pounds, but will also boost the economy by billions of pounds, as well as supporting property developers in their quest to charge more for poky flats in West Drayton and Chadwell Heath.
The outgoing Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: `Crossrail is my greatest transport legacy to the capital, even though all I did was not mess up plans that were substantially in place when I took office. I think it's truly wonderful that Her Maj has found time in her busy unveiling schedule to appear beside me a few weeks before City Hall business ceases in the run-up to the Mayoral Election. I look forward to Elizabeth's tube opening up for all Londoners beneath our city, and may God bless all who ride in her.'
The Rt Hon Transport Minister MP said: 'Given Her Majesty the Queen's long association with UK transport, mostly at the champagne bottle stage, it is very fitting that this vital link across our capital will be named the Elizabeth Line in her honour. My spinmonkeys then wrote this second sentence for me, shoehorning in a wide variety of relevant buzz phrases about investment, transformation, growth, jobs, dynamism and success, in the hope that journalists will cut and paste the text directly into news stories and share our key messages with their customer base.'
The Queen said nothing, because it's her job to be told where to go and what to unveil, although she was secretly chuffed at yet another piece of national infrastructure being named after her, which let's be honest is more than her son's going to get.
Notes to Editors
• You will eventually get used to calling Crossrail the Elizabeth line, honest. We know it sounds stupid now, but come 2019 you'll be taking the Elizabeth line to the airport or boarding the Liz line rail replacement bus without a second thought, just like you ride the Victoria line today.
• We couldn't go on calling Crossrail Crossrail, because one day there's going to be a Crossrail 2 and then navigation would have got ambiguous.
• And yes, this means one day Crossrail 2 is going to need a new name, but by then we reckon the current TfL Chairman will have become the most successful Prime Minister of the 21st century, so obviously we'll name it after him.
• Think yourself lucky, if the Queen had turned us down we were going to go with the Santander line, or the McDonald's line, or the Whichever Mobile Network Paid Us The Most Money For The Naming Rights line.
• And it's still going to be Crossrail really, in the same way that the Piccadilly line is still part of the Underground, so stop fretting.
• TfL has a long history of renaming lines after the reigning monarch at the last minute on the whim of a Tory politician, for example when a pledge in the Conservatives' 1977 GLC election manifesto caused the Fleet line to be renamed the Jubilee line.
• By contrast the Victoria line wasn't named after Queen Victoria but after Victoria station, which it serves, and which wasn't named after Queen Victoria but after Victoria Street, which runs nearby, and which was named after Queen Victoria in 1851.
• You may have noticed that the Evening Standard claimed an exclusive on the renaming, despite the fact that by the time the newspaper hit the streets every electronic medium in London had already announced the news, shared the photos and repurposed a selection of amusing tweets reacting to the launch.
• You may also have noticed that the Evening Standard's exclusive ignored the fact that they published a story revealing that Boris Johnson wanted Crossrail to be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Line three years ago.
• The Elizabeth Line will deliver a direct connection between all of London's main employment centres, linking Heathrow with Paddington, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf, it says here, despite the fact these four locations clearly aren't all of London's main employment centres.
• We can't decide whether to call it the Elizabeth line or the Elizabeth Line, so have used the two styles interchangeably within this press release. We have also misspelt Crossail at one point, if you look more carefully than we did.
• We are quite excited about the merchandising opportunities that will be possible in the London Transport Museum shop once the Elizabeth line opens, particularly the possibility of circumventing the usual royal protocols and flogging mugs and tea towels with the Queen's name on.
• But most of all we're excited by the fact this brings our knighthoods closer. Mwah, your Majesty, and we hope you're still around to come back and open your line properly when it's finally complete.