Watch: Paddington station evacuated hours after official opening of Elizabeth Line
Paddington Station was evacuated just hours after the Elizabeth Line opened to the public for the first time.
The £19 billion railway began its first service just after 6.30am, but just three hours later Paddington - one of its busiest stops - was cleared over a fire alert, a spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said.
They added it was a "false alarm".
Video footage from the scene shows crowds leaving the station, as a tannoy announcement says: “Due to a reported emergency, will all passengers leave the station immediately”.
Pictures from the scene showed hundreds of people queuing outside the newly opened station.
The station was reopened around 30 minutes after the alarm.
Hundreds of people had gathered outside the stations Tuesday morning in an attempt to be among the first to travel on the new line.
Transport enthusiasts hailed the “momentous occasion”, having travelled from across the country for the ceremony and queued from the early hours of the morning.
Around 300 people queued outside Paddington Station ahead of the service’s opening, and the crowd cheered and rushed forwards when the doors opened at around 6.20am.
The first train departed on time at 6.33am carrying hundreds of excited passengers.
Marking the opening of the new service, Boris Johnson said it will have benefits beyond the capital.
The prime minister said the whole country will “reap the rewards” of a predicted multibillion-pound boost to the economy.
The delayed and overbudget line will boost capacity and cut journey times for east-west travel across the capital.
The line stretches from Reading in Berkshire and Heathrow Airport in west London to Abbey Wood in south-east London and Shenfield in Essex.
It will begin operating in three separate sections, which are expected to be integrated in the autumn.
Transport for London (TfL) estimates that annual passenger numbers will reach 170 million by 2026.
The new central section, built by the Crossrail project, runs through tunnels from Paddington in west London to Abbey Wood.
It will initially be closed on Sundays, apart from during the Platinum Jubilee weekend, to allow further testing and software updates to take place.
Crossrail suffered numerous issues including construction difficulties and complications installing signalling systems.
It was due to be completed in December 2018 and was set a budget of £14.8 billion in 2010.
The final total cost has been estimated at £18.9 billion, including £5.1 billion from the Government.