Thursday, 10 January 2013

London's Underground is 150 today

Apologies for low blogging action this week - all will be revealed next Monday!

In the meanwhile, I should like to commemorate an important anniversary in the world of public transport - London's Underground is 150 years old today. It was on 10 January 1863 that the first train ran underground from Paddington Station, to the west of London's city centre, to Farringdon, just to the east. Just six kilometres long, the Metropolitan railway was to be extended in both directions, and would form the beginnings of the mighty Underground network that today encompasses 400 kilometres of track and 270 stations on 11 lines (Warsaw's Metro was opened in 1995, currently still has one line with 21 stations).

Above: Baker Street station on the Circle Line, one of the original stations along the Metropolitan railway. This photo was taken by me in 2007; then as now it still maintains much of the architectural atmosphere of the station when it was opened 150 years ago. Of course, in those days, trains were steam-hauled.

The next 150 years will see more and more of mankind clustering into big cities and agglomerations. Public transport - in particular that on rails - has a big future in getting people around the metropolises of tomorrow. Short-distance one-per-car commuting in large vehicles powered by fossil fuels (which has been common in the Western world since the end of WW2) will not last another 150 years.

This time last year:
My enemy's enemy is my...?

This time two years ago:
Some thoughts upon the Nature of Warfare

This time three years ago:
Snow so deep it needs a plough

This time four years ago:
A fieldfare in midwinter

This time five years ago:
Kraków, a bit of winter sunshine


Andrzej K said...

From memory the original rollin g stock was broad guage hence much wider distance between platforms! The tunnels were dug by the cut and cover method which was also used for line 1 of the Warsaw metro on the stretch of line under al Niepodleglosci

Roman Z said...

In pictures: Steam train runs on London Tube