Monday, January 10, 2011

Pop History Moment: The London Underground Opens


It was on this day in 1863 when, thanks to the efforts of Charles Pearson, Londoners first began minding the gap...

The original portion of the Underground (popularly known as the Tube), ran between Paddington and Farringdon; it's still in service today as part of the Hammersmith and City line, and is coloured salmon on current maps.

30-40,000 passengers were carried that first day, on steam-powered trains which ran every ten minutes; electric trains were first introduced in 1890. From those humble beginnings, the London Underground has grown into the longest in the world, with 400 km (250 miles) of track serving a similarly record-setting 270 stations, which between them see 1 billion passengers every year*. Understandably, with that many users, the tube map itself has become as iconic as the symbol you see above.

*Only the systems in Paris and Moscow see more.
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