Boris Johnson paid a visit to Shoreditch High Street station this week to see the last phase of its development before the new East London Line opens later this year.
The construction and testing of the line at Shoreditch is set to finish by 23 May and 12 new air conditioned trains will run every hour, with the capacity to hold 494 passengers, from early June.
Standing on the airy, Jubilee line-style platform, the Mayor of London said: “Today is a cold day but this will warm the cockles of your heart.”
He continued: “People haven’t yet caught on to what a brilliant thing this is. It’s a vital part of an orbital railway connecting two sides of London.”
“The gleaming new edifice at Shoreditch High Street is just one example of what £1bn of good investment produces.”
Critics suggest that the 20% increase to Oyster bus fares has meant that the poorest Londoners are now footing the bill for the line.
In response, Mr Johnson said: “The money is going to make a big new difference to east London. It would be a false economy [to keep bus fares low]. It’s just one of the tough decisions we have to make to keep good infrastructure for the future. ”
Mr Johnson’s speech echoed the Conservative rhetoric, with investment and infrastructure as key motifs. “We need to make sure to invest. The people of London should be thinking about crime, tax and infrastructure,” he stated.
The East London Line will reach completion in 2012, it will employ 300 staff, and 50% of the train drivers will be from Lewisham, Southwark or Tower Hamlets. The depot in New Cross will operate 33 trains in total, connecting Croydon to Hackney in 30 minutes.