The magic behind the London Underground

Diving into history for a little bit, today is all about the London Underground: history, development, secret locations. As an Ambassador in London Universities International Partnership, I was given the brilliant opportunity to visit one of the closed – and secret to the public – tube stations, and, truth be told, the experience was breathtaking!

Going back at least a century and a half, the idea of creating underground transport in London was more than simply a dream, it was meant to tackle the problem of congestion in the main areas of the capital. Therefore, in the early 1830s a few plans of linking London to the railways came to life, but it was only in 1843 when the first underwater tunnel opened.  The first plans of creating bigger connections and better undeground transport took life in the early 1860s and towards the end of the 1800s, London’s facade was entirely revolutionised.

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1863: A contemporary lithograph of a steam locomotive on the Metropolitan line near Paddington StationPicture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The desire for extension was bigger and bigger every year and London had become in the late 1800s a city that took proud in its transportation system, mainly because of the low fares and due to the speed to which citizens could commute. For example a journey on the City and South London Railway (now part of the Northern Line), from Stockwell to the City, took just 18 minutes.

Tube Firsts

  • The journey of the first Tube train took place on 9 January 1863.
  • The first Tube line was built and financed by a private company, the Metropolitan Railway.
  • The Tube’s first escalator was installed at Earl’s Court in 1911, featuring a diagonal finish to the stairway, meaning the right  foot reached the top moments before the left.
  • In 1907 a spiral escalator opened at Holloway Road.

( The Independent)

"Underground"-branded Tube map from 1908 showing the newly opened tube lines in central London

“Underground”-branded Tube map from 1908 showing the newly opened tube lines in central London

The way the underground system in London has developped is impressive and it is one of the most effective in the entire world. Here’s a documentary about the history of the Tube and how it has become the greatest tool of London:

Now, as a LUIP Ambassador, I have to say that I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to visit one of the secret, closed off stations and have a short sight into history. Our guide, David Leboff, Principal Sponsor-Line Extensions has given us a beautiful tour of both the TFL House and the closed station. There are many rumors and books written about it, but none of them actually understand how mysterious it actually is. Filled with evidences of history, traces of events and bits and pieces of action, the station resembles of an old house with removed furniture. As you are walking in the tunnels, you can see how much it was put to use, to both transport and other secret missions and why it is vital that the general public doesn’t have acces to it.

I’d like to carry on the discussion about the station, but if I would disclose more graphic and geographical details about the it  how secret would it be?

2

LUIP Ambassadors and Mentors at 55 Broadway, enjoying the view and the weather.

However, here’s some pictures I took, as a small taste of our experience! 20150124_145940

Fellow Ambassadors as we were explained further details on the line expansions

Fellow Ambassadors as we were explained further details on the line expansions

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Train Intervals at the Tfl House, as they were in the 1980s, and David Leboff explaining the signifiance of the panel

A little sneak-peak from the secret location: To the Train

A little sneak-peak from the secret location: To the Train

And right before I finish and say goodbye, another one to cover your curiosity, a classical:

Classic: WAY OUT

Classic: WAY OUT

Thanks for reading! Remember: click, subscribe and share!

Always follow your dreams.

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