Wednesday 9 January 2013

150th Anniversary of Tube

Today, 9th January 2013, London Underground celebrates 150 years since the first underground journey took place between Paddington and Farringdon on the Metropolitan Railway.

London's iconic Underground system celebrates its 150th birthday and here are some of the major changes and developments that have taken place since the first train left Bishop's Road on January 9 1863.


1863: London's underground Metropolitan or Met welcomes its first passengers. Within a month it would be welcoming 26,000 passengers a day.
1905: The District and Circle Lines become the first to become electrified
1908: The Underground name and the iconic round symbol with a flat horizontal bar through it appear for the first time.
1911: The first escalators are turned on at Earl's Court station.
1929: Manual doors are used on the Underground for the last time with air operated doors used for the first time.
1933: The first Underground map in its recognisable modern form is produced by Harry Beck.
1940: The Underground played a key role in the Second World War, stations being used for the first time as shelters during the Blitz and a stretch of the Picadilly Line used to store treasures from the British Museum
1952: The first aluminium trains are introduced.
1969: Queen Elizabeth II takes the controls of a train as she opens the Victoria Line
1971: The last steam shuntings and freight locomotives use the Underground.
1975: 43 people are killed in a train crash on the Northern Line at Moorgate.

1987: A fire at Kings Cross station kills 31 people.
1994: Penalty fares are introduced on the Underground for the first time.
2003: Oyster cards are introduced for passengers and busking at Underground stations is legalised.
2005: 52 people are killed in bomb attacks on three Underground trains and a London bus on July 7.
2007: The Underground carries one billion passengers in a year for the very first time.
 Queen Elizabeth II takes the controls of a train as she opens the Victoria Line in 1969
More pictures of the Tube during the years it has been in operation 

Special events to mark the 150th Anniversary

  • The first Tube passenger journey will be recreated on Sunday 13 January 2013, with a series of specially restored trains including the Metropolitan Steam Locomotive No. 1 and the Metropolitan Railway Jubilee Carriage No 353 - the oldest operational underground carriage in existence - which is being restored with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund;
  • A series of heritage rail trips, including the use of steam trains;
  • The publication of 12 short stories by well-known authors, published by Penguin Books. The stories, one about each Tube line, look at the meaning of the Underground and the place it holds in the imagination of all those who live and visit the city;
  • Two new two-pound coins issued by the Royal Mint which will go into circulation in 2013 to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground;
  • Poster Art 150: London’s greatest Designs – an exhibition at London Transport Museum focusing on the iconic poster art that has been a feature of London Underground for much of its history;
  • Train wraps of Metropolitan line trains for customers to enjoy;
  • A commemorative Oyster card which will serve as a sought-after memento for passengers;
  • A series of Poems on the Underground will celebrate 150 years of the Tube;
  • A series of theatrical events at the disused Aldwych station;
  • In 2013 Art on the Underground will present a programme that will include: a major commission by an acclaimed, high profile British artist bringing artworks into every station on the Tube network; a set of posters and limited edition prints by 15 leading contemporary artists; screenings of London Underground themed films at a Tube station from the BFI archive;
  • Behind the Scenes events and Open Weekends at the Museum’s store at Acton
London Underground has always played a hugely important role in the success of London - from the growth of the early network which led to the expansion of the suburbs in the last century, to the development of Canary Wharf’s financial powerhouse in the 80s, and on to today’s system which successfully moved record numbers of people during the Queen’s Jubilee and London 2012 Games.