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Tube marks 150th anniversary

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Tube, since the first journey took place on January 9, 1863.

London Underground was the world’s very first underground railway.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The arrival of the Tube was truly revolutionary and today it is still admired around the world. It annihilates distance, liquidates traffic and is the throbbing cardiovascular system of the greatest city on earth. It continues to play a hugely important role in the success of our capital – efficiently moving record numbers of people during the London 2012 Games.

“Our massive upgrade programme builds on the engineering ingenuity of our Victorian forefathers and through new signalling, trains and track, millions of Londoners and visitors will continue to benefit from what is arguably the best, and most iconic, underground transport system in the world.”

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: “As we mark the 150th anniversary of the world’s first underground railway we are also building for the future – transforming stations and replacing trains, signals and track. Our passengers are already seeing the benefits, with more frequent and reliable services on the Jubilee and Victoria lines among many other improvements. This year will see even more – with a greater frequency of services on the Central and Victoria lines and more of the new air-conditioned trains, which will soon serve 40% of the Tube network.

“It is this sustained investment that will enable us to create a network able to support London’s growing population and maintain our city’s vital role in the UK economy for the next 150 years.”

As part of the upgrade programme so far, new air-conditioned trains have been introduced on the Metropolitan line, and will be introduced to two-fifths of the network, and reliability is 40% improved on 2007/08 levels.

Improvements this year include: higher frequency services on the Victoria and Central lines; completion of the Northern line upgrade; rebuild of Victoria and Tottenham Court Road stations; expansion of the number of step-free stations and other accessibility improvements.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

(Image c. TfL)


J   11/01/2013 at 16:40

Why did you show a picture of the London Overground for a story about the London Underground?

RTM   11/01/2013 at 16:51

Good point J! We've amended.

Pedr Jarvis   10/01/2014 at 17:55

It may be worth a tiny note that the splendid restoration of the 1892 Metropolitan First Class four-wheel coach was carried out by an outfit even older that the Undergound. The restoration involved up to fourteen coats of varnish - you could use it as a shaving mirror - and seventy books of gold leaf. The Queen was taken to see it and was heard to remark 'Oh, very smart!' The work was done at Boston Lodge Works of the Ffestiniog Railway. The Works goes back to 1808 and the railway company to 23 May 1832. If anyone knows any older railway company in the world still working, or indeed of any older railway workshops still active, we would be interested to hear of it.

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