Crossrail is ambitious. Ambitious but necessary. As lung like London expands it leaves little room to breathe on a subway near you. Hence: Crossrail. We all know this, but let’s take a step back and appreciate just how far we have come.
Many eons ago (like 150 years) some legendary engineer started going underground with our transport needs. Very clever man (I forget his name) and viola! We now have a tube system. All great cities worldwide have them now. And they shuttle us across the suburbs, and we pop up at random (unless you are one of those who plans things and aims for something – I personally can’t quite work it out without visually seeing it before, as on a bus) and it always seems like magic when you appear someplace wholly different to that suburbs or borough before and you wonder: “How did I get here!?”. You got here via magic thing called the London Underground!
The time that passes underground seems bizarre and surreal and otherworldly. Like a minor miracle, you don’t quite cognitively acknowledge it – you believe it is real, but your science half of your brain (is it left or right) subtly disputes it’s authenticity. Your other half is rejoicing and jumping around and saying “Life is so cool!” and when they merge, they battle and draw a truce and you walk glumly off the platform and focus your attention on where you can get the flat white closest to you… oh how quickly our mind moves off the magnificent down into the mundane…
Crossrail has been brilliant in that it has forced us to recognise that what we have in London is incredible and how far we have come is, again, incredible. Now, like a crown on the top, it is becoming even more … super-fantastic (I couldn’t write incredible for the third time, that word would have been too watered down). The new stations, the new lines, the brilliance of linked lines, the decrease in time to Heathrow, how it has affected Heathrow airport because it’s now even more popular to catch a train there and fly out from Heathrow than pre-Crossrail, and just the general greatness of such a feat of engineering – and mostly locally done, I might add.
So, next time you step out, and step in to a tubular train take stock of how marvellous this city of London is, and how fortunate we are in this year of 2019.