Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Tube is 150 years old today

January 1852 saw the first journey between Paddington and Faringdon on the Metropolitan Railway. At the time newspapers were against the idea - not least because the Metropolitan Railway was steam operated, but 30,000 people tried it day one and it remains the oldest tube in the world. Indeed the tube worldwide is called the "Metro" after that first Metroploitan Line.
Within years the village of Hammersmith, full as it was of vegetable gardens, was becoming a suburban commuter home because it was connected to the tube. Bear in mind that for the next 50 years the Victorians endured constant digging, blockages and delays as the tubes were built all across London, coinciding with everyhting from the famous sewer rebuild and the creation of so many infrastructure projects. Northerners sometimes complain that the transport spend is too much upon London but take out Crossrail and there is almost no internal London transport infrastructure project.
I took the tube to work this morning [rain meant no biking] but we should be grateful that our forebears had the strength to push through such huge projects.