Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The history of the London Underground

London Underground was formed in 1985, but its history dates back to 1863 when the world's first underground railway opened.

It is one of the busiest underground railway networks in the world and the Underground system is also colloquially called the Tube.
Today, London Underground carries more than three million passenger every day in its 11 lines, serves 275 stations and has over 408 kilometres (250 mi) of track, 45 per cent of which is underground.
The tube is an international icon for London, with the tube map, considered a design classic, having influenced many other transport maps worldwide. 

The Metropolitan line opened on 9 January 1863. The first stretch measured six kilometres (nearly four miles) and ran between Paddington (Bishop's Road) and Farringdon Street.
The early tunnels were mainly using the cut-and-cover method. This caused widespread disruption, and required the demolition of many properties on the surface. The first trains were steam-hauled, requiring effective ventilation to the surface. Ventilation shafts at various points on the route allowed the engines to expel steam and bring fresh air into the tunnels.

On 7 December 1869 the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway started operating between Wapping and New Cross Gate on the East London Railway (ELR) using the Thames Tunnel built by Marc Brunel, enabled by the revolutionary tunnelling shield method.

Following advances in the use of this method, electric traction and deep-level tunnel designs, later railways were built deeper underground. This caused much less disruption at ground level, and it was therefore cheaper than and preferable to the cut-and-cover construction method.

There are about 40 abandoned or relocated stations on the Underground network along its entire 408Km of trackway, some subsurface and some above ground. Some have vanished without trace whereas others are almost intact.

This winter you will have the possibility to explore Aldwych, one of London’s closed underground stations. London Transport Museum is opening the station up to the public for a rare chance to glimpse what happens to a station after the public leave.

And don't forget that next year it will be the 150th anniversary of the London Underground!

Boutique London Lets will be here to keep you up to date.

Check out our Facebook and Twitter page for further information about events and activities.

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