The Elizabeth line opens on 24 May... or will it?
We asked, with a week to go, how people thought the opening day would go. Responses ranged from a huge thumbs up to speculation of further delays. Here's a sample...
Many of the responses were positive. Dave is one of many cheerleaders for the project:
"Can't wait. Bank Northern Line was just an hors d'oeuvre. Internet slows due to all the videos being posted? By the end of the day it will become a very much loved part of our superb transport system."
Matt is similarly enthused: "Can’t wait — an engineering marvel to be proud of! Congrats to the Elizabeth Line team."
John, meanwhile, summed up the current crop of transport developments with a meme:
But cynicism was also a common response — understandable given the huge cost and time overruns on the project. The words "cancellations", "signal failures" and "delays" crept into a lot of replies.
"Engineering works by 10am 😂," reckons Phil. He's not far wrong, by the way. Engineering works are already scheduled, just 18 days after the line opens.
Vince is even less optimistic: "It'll be delayed for a couple of years," he quips.
"Mayhem and carnage," expects Mark.
"Cats and Dogs living together, mass hysteria," quotes Ian.
Harder to file as good or bad is Jim, who gives a world-wary but probably accurate assessment: "95% of things will go to plan, but the 5% that don't will be focused on and used as fuel for people to chastise it, on top of the engorged cost and timescale."
Some people commented on the inevitable scrum of enthusiasts...
"A lot of shuffling, entitled, middle aged men with cameras getting in the way of passengers... 😄," reckons Don.
Paul: "I predict that on the first day, I will be avoiding the thing. The place will be rammed with train geeks trying to hide their semi-erections at being there, all desperately trying to out-fact each other. It’ll be worse than when Excel is full of Trekkies."
"It will go wrong," is the brief assessment of Rebecca.
The oddly specific and offbeat
Jason makes a bid as the Nostradamus of Crossrail: "First day triumph. 2-3 weeks in teething issues. 6 months outbreak of disease due to no toilet facilities and lack of ppl willing to clean trains for £9 per hour. Full-scale closure in winter which will be March 23 with wrong bog paper on tracks."
Bernard knows his onions: "Points failure trying to get trains out of depot so shortage of rolling stock. Never fails."
And not everyone is focusing on the trains themselves. Ted highlights one of the many accessibility improvements the system is designed to bring: "The Tannoy system on the platforms and the on-board train announcements will not be accessible to Hearing Loop users," he fears.
"Corgis on the line," posits Jackie.
"A Geoff Marshall video for sure," reckons Max, referring to train geek supreme @GeoffTech. "Only one video," replies Thomas, "I expect several, no, demand it to be so."
In the unpredictable world of transport openings, a video or two from Geoff is something you can rely on.
All images by the author, except the meme.