Final preparations are under way for the delayed opening of the Elizabeth line station in Bond Street, central London.
Trial evacuations, testing of fire control systems and extensive security checks are taking place ahead of the station opening next Monday.
Under initial plans for the east-west railway, Bond Street was due to open with all the other stations in December 2018.
Problems with the project – named Crossrail – led to the line only opening in May this year.
Construction issues meant it was announced in 2018 that Bond Street would open after the other stations.
The new station has two main entrances, one near Oxford Street and another close to Regent Street.
This will boost access to the West End shopping and entertainment district ahead of Black Friday and the festive period.
Elizabeth line passengers will be able to travel to and from Liverpool Street in eight minutes and Canary Wharf in 15 minutes.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was given a tour of the new station on Tuesday.
During the visit, he told the PA news agency it is “arguably the most beautiful, stylish, spacious station in Europe” and a “really good example of British engineering”.
He said the station is opening “just as the golden quarter begins for the shops, hotels and leisure around the West End”.
He added: “It’s a really important boost this part of London needs.”
Andy Byford, Transport for London’s outgoing commissioner, described the opening as “massively important” and the “missing piece in the heart of the West End”.
He continued: “This station is critical to the success, rejuvenation and recovery of the West End, which obviously is hugely important to London and ultimately the UK.”
Crossrail delivery director Kim Kapur said: “Bond Street Elizabeth line station is a truly spectacular result of a commendable collaborative effort by everyone involved.
“The station staff are currently working on the important final steps ahead of opening, and are excited to see customers take advantage of this new link to the area just in time for the busy peak shopping months at the end of the year.”
Dee Corsi, interim chief executive of business group New West End Company, said the opening of the Bond Street station is “a welcome boost to the West End’s economic recovery and is a key driver in returning us to our historic £10 billion annual turnover”.
Paul Marsden, branch manager of the John Lewis store in Oxford Street, said “the timing couldn’t be better”.
The Queen visited the construction site at Bond Street in 2016 to mark the naming of the railway in her honour.
The route stretches from Reading in Berkshire and Heathrow Airport in west London to Abbey Wood in south-east London and Shenfield in Essex.
It runs through new tunnels between Paddington in west London and Abbey Wood.
The railway is initially operating in three separate sections, and is closed on Sundays.
From Sunday November 6 it will be open seven days a week.
Passengers will be able to travel from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood without changing at Paddington, and from Shenfield to Paddington without changing at Liverpool Street.
The final timetable, bringing full end-to-end journeys and up to 24 trains per hour, is expected to be introduced by May.
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