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The London Tube - Worlds First Underground Railway

By Edited May 8, 2016 1 1

The London Underground System known locally as 'The Tube' carries over one billion passengers every year, The Tube has in the region of 250 miles (400 kilometres) of track connecting 270 Tube stations.Although the official name is the Underground over half of the track is actually above ground.When opened in January 1863 the Tube was the worlds first underground rail system.The Tube Map using color coded lines has been copied by other underground systems around the world.



Big Ben


In 1854 the Go-Ahead was given to build the first Underground line between Paddington Station and Farringdon Street via King's Cross.When the work ran over budget construction on London's first underground line came to a standstill.It would be 1859 before Charles Pearson a solicitor to the London Corporation persuaded the Corporation to take on the Bill.The following year in February 1860 work re-commenced on the Paddington to Farringdon Underground line.

As the Underground grew, more operators appeared, having separate operators for different lines caused difficulty's for passengers.Passengers were constantly having to not only switch train but also switch between operators.The original Underground trains were steam operated but by the start of the 20th century electric powered lines were being used on new projects and the steam operators were struggling to raise the cash to make the change to electric.In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Board (Later Known As London Transport)an unsubsidised public corporation began the job of integrating all the underground lines.It would be 1948 before London Transport was nationalised, London Transport was replaced by the London Transport Executive (LTE).The Underground was controlled by Government for the first time in it's history.

Underground Screenshot

World War II had seen many of the Underground lines used as shelters during air raids.Deep-level shelters were constructed able to hold over 8,000 people, Government offices were also constructed Underground.

The Underground is now a private public partnership.The infrastructure and stock is maintained by two private companies Metronet and Tube Lines under 30-year contracts, London Underground Limited remains publicly owned and operated by Transport for London.The Underground now has eleven lines, namely Bakerloo line, Central line, Circle line, District line, Hammersmith and City line, Jubilee line, Metropolitan line, Northern line, Piccadilly line, Victoria line, and Waterloo and City line.

The last new station added to the line was at Heathrow Terminal 5 in 2008.The next line in planning is the Chelsea-Hackney line, although it's planned to be in operation by 2025 it was originally proposed in 1901.



Jul 18, 2010 2:58am
Hi Paul,
I never knew any of the history behind the Underground. I don't live in London but went on some training courses there a few years back and to be honest I found it a bit scary at first! Glad I was with my some colleagues because I would have been well and truly phased by it all.

I did begin to get use to it by my third training session. London is a fabulous place.

Thanks for the history lesson.

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