How was the London Underground built?
How was the London Underground built?
The system's first tunnels were built just below the ground, using the cut-and-cover method; later, more minor, roughly circular tunnels—which gave rise to its nickname, the Tube—were dug through at a deeper level. The system has 270 stations and 250 miles (400 km) of the track.
Who built the London Underground system?
Marc Brunel and his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, built the Thames Tunnel as a foot tunnel in 1843, but by 1869 Thames Tunnel Company raised money from visiting tourists to develop it into a transport cargo right under the Thames river.
Why was London Underground built?
London Underground was first perceived and built by engineer Sir Marc Brunel and his son Isambard to transport cargo underneath the busy river Thames. The tunnel was opened on 9 January 1843.
How long did it take to build the original London Underground?
The Underground was funded entirely by private companies until the 1930s. It took 21 years (from 1863 to 1884) to complete the Inner Circle of tube lines in central London. London's current Crossrail development is Europe's biggest construction project, as well as it's most expensive.
With the advent of the Crossrail, development has taken 158 years and counting.
What did the London Underground Achieve?
- It Connected Communities by having all London areas with a Tube station linked
- The economy was boosted by having constant rapid movement of thousands of people around London.
- It solved the problem by providing an efficient way for workers, locals and visitors to move around the capital.
- It used Engineering skills by digging tunnels, laying track, operating train system – all below ground.
Early History 1830-1860
Fowler's Ghost was an experimental fireless steam locomotive designed by John Fowler to prevent smoke and steam underground. However, Fowler's Ghost was a failure, and Thames Tunnel Company favoured condensing steam locomotives.
In the first half of the 19th century, London had significantly grown. The development of a commuting population arriving by train each day led to traffic congestion with carts, cabs and omnibuses filling the roads.
By 1850 there were seven railway termini located around the urban centre of London, and the concept of an underground railway linking the City of London with these stations was first proposed in the 1830s. Charles Pearson, Solicitor to the City of London, was a leading promoter of several schemes. He contributed to the creation of the City Terminus Company to build such a railway from Farringdon to King's Cross in 1852.
Although the City of London supported the plan, the railway companies were not interested, and the company struggled to proceed.
In 1854 the Metropolitan Railway (also known as the Met) was granted permission to build an underground line at an estimated £1 million.
With the Crimean War underway, the Met found it hard to raise the capital, and construction did not start until March 1860.
Phased Development of the London Underground 1863 - 1907
The history of the London Underground began in the 19th century with the construction of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway. The Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863 using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives, worked with the District Railway to complete London's Circle line in 1884.
The railway was mainly built using the "cut-and-cover" method from Paddington to King's Cross; east of King's Cross was constructed by tunnelling and then followed the culverted River Fleet in an open cutting to the new meat market at Smithfield.
The 3.75-mile (6 km) railway opened to the public on 10 January 1863, using steam locomotives hauling wooden carriages.
It was hailed as a success, carrying 38,000 passengers on an opening day, borrowing trains from other railways to supplement the service. In the first twelve months, the underground railway transported 9.5 million passengers the second twelve months, this increased to 12 million.
By 1871, when the District Line began operating its trains, the railway had extended to West Brompton and a terminus at Mansion House.
Hammersmith was reached from Earl's Court, and services reached Richmond, Ealing, Hounslow and Wimbledon.
As part of the project that completed the Circle line in October 1884, the District began to serve Whitechapel.
In 1869, a passage was dug through the London Clay under the Thames from Great Tower Hill to Pickle Herring Stairs near Vine Street (now Vine Lane). A circular 7-foot-diameter (2.1 m) tunnel was dug at 1,340 feet (410 m), using a wrought iron shield, a method patented in 1864 by Peter William Barlow.
A railway was laid in the tunnel, and from August 1870, a wooden carriage conveyed passengers from one side to the other. However, this was uneconomic, and the company went bankrupt by the end of the year, and the tunnel was converted to pedestrian use, becoming known as the Tower Subway.
Construction of the City and South London Railway (C&SLR) was started in 1886 by James Henry Greathead using the development of Barlow's shield. In 1898, the Waterloo & City Railway was opened.
Contractors dug two 11 feet 8+1⁄4 inches (3.562 m) diameter tunnels beneath the roads between Shepherd's Bush and Bank for the Central London Railway (CLR).
In 1900 this opened, charging a flat fare of 2d (approximately 91p today), becoming known as the "Twopenny Tube" and by the end of the year carrying nearly 15 million passengers.
Initially, electric locomotives hauled carriages, but the heavy locomotives caused vibrations that could be felt on the surface.
In 1902–03 the carriages were reformed into multiple units using a control system developed by Frank Sprague in Chicago. The Central London Railway (CLR) was extended to Wood Lane (near White City) in 1908 and Liverpool Street in 1912.
The Great Northern & City Railway was built to take mainline trains from the Great Northern Railway (GNR) at Finsbury Park to the City at a terminus at Moorgate.
However, the GNR refused permission for trains to use its Finsbury Park station, so platforms were built beneath the station instead. Public service on the line, using electric multiple units, began in 1904.
Two 10-foot-2-inch (3.10 m) circular tunnels were dug between King William Street (close to today's Monument station) and Elephant and Castle. From Elephant and Castle, the tunnels were a slightly larger 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m) to Stockwell.
The tunnels were bored under the roads to avoid an agreement with property owners on the surface. The carriages were fitted with small windows and consequently nicknamed padded cells.
By 1907, the City and South London Railway had extended from both ends, south to Clapham Common and north to Euston.
As a result of the expansion, by 1898, 550 trains operated daily.
Services began running to Upminster in 1902 after a link to the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway had been built.
Expansion of the Metropolitan Line eventually extended as far as Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles (80 km) from Baker Street and the centre of London.
In 1902, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) was founded to fund
District Railway's electrification and complete and operate three tube lines, the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway, the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway, and the Great Northern Piccadilly and Brompton Railway, which opened in 1906–07.
The first deep-level tube line, the City and South London Railway, opened in 1890 with electric trains Waterloo & City Railway in 1898, the Central London Railway in 1900, and the Great Northern and City Railway in 1904.
The Central line opened as the "Twopenny Tube" in 1900. A Northern line train leaves a tunnel mouth just north of Hendon Central station.
Phased Development of the London Underground 1902 - 1939
The name board for the London Underground, known initially as the bar and circle, comprised a solid red disc with a horizontal blue bar.
It first appeared on Underground station platforms in 1908. The device was introduced as a station name board to help passengers distinguish the station name from commercial advertising.
By 1907 the District and Metropolitan Railways had electrified the underground sections of their lines.
In 1913 the Bakerloo line reached Paddington. The following year Metropolitan Railways extended the Hampstead line south of its Charing Cross terminus to an expanded interchange station (currently known as Embankment) with the Bakerloo and District lines.
The Bakerloo line was extended north to Queen's Park to link up with the London & North Western Railway's new electric line from Euston to Watford Junction.
The government halted construction in 1914 due to World War 1 with trains not reaching Queen's Park until 1915 and Watford Junction in 1917.
Metropolitan Railway's extension of the Central line to Ealing was started in 1913 and was delayed by the war in 1914.
The war saw growth in traffic and a shortage of men, so women were recruited as temporary replacements in traditional men's jobs such as guards, clerks, painters and cleaners.
London saw its first air raids in 1915, and people used the tube stations as bomb shelters.
UNDERGROUND signs appeared outside stations in central London. World War I delayed extensions of the Bakerloo and Central London Railways, and people used the tube stations as shelters during Zeppelin air raids by June 1915.
After the war, government-backed financial guarantees to expand the network.
Tunnels of the City and South London and Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railways joined at Euston and Kennington; The Piccadilly line was extended north to Cockfosters.
It took over District line branches to Harrow (later Uxbridge) and Hounslow. In 1933.
In 1933, Harry Beck's diagrammatic tube map appeared for the first time.
On 1 July 1933, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) became a public corporation. Thus, the London Passenger Transport Board Metropolitan, the UERL underground railways, tramway companies and bus operators became one organisation.
In 1935 a 'New Works Programme' was announced. The 'New Works Programme' included extending the Central line to Stratford and then onto Epping and Ongar. In addition, the Northern line was to be extended north to High Barnet, Alexandra Palace and Bushey Heath and link up with the isolated Great Northern & City Railway, renamed the Northern City Line, which was extended beyond Finsbury Park link up at Highgate.
By decree, underground railways, trams and bus operators were merged into the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB).
Phased Development of the London Underground 1939 - 1963
The outbreak of World War II in 1939 halted or interrupted the working of the Underground, and many tube stations became air-raid shelters.
The LPTB was nationalised in 1948, reconstruction of the mainline railways was given priority over the maintenance of the Underground.
In 1953 an unpainted aluminium train entered service on the District line, and this became the standard for new trains. Then, in the early 1960s, the Metropolitan line was electrified as far as Amersham, and steam locomotives no longer hauled passenger trains.
Phased Development of the London Underground 1963 - 1999
The Victoria line, a new tube line across central London, opened in 1968–71 with trains driven automatically.
Under the control of the Greater London Council, London Transport introduced in 1981 a system of fare zones for buses and underground trains that cut the average fare.
In 1976 the isolated Northern City Line was taken over by British Rail and linked up with the mainline railway at Finsbury Park.
In 1979 another new route, the Jubilee line, took over part of the Bakerloo line; it was extended through the Docklands to Stratford in 1999.
Phased Development of the London Underground 1999 - 2021
In the early years of the 21st century, London Underground was reorganised in a public-private partnership where private companies upgraded and maintained the infrastructure.
In 2003 control passed to Transport for London (TfL), and had taken full responsibility by 2010.
The contactless Oyster card first went on sale in 2003.
The East London line closed in 2007 and converted into a London Overground line. In December 2009, the Circle line changed from serving a closed loop around the centre of London to a spiral also serving Hammersmith.
Currently, there is an upgrade programme to increase capacity on several Underground lines. In addition, work is underway on a Northern line extension to Battersea, which is due to open in October 2021.
The word "UNDERGROUND" in white letters is superimposed on a blue rectangle, superimposed on the red circumference of a circle on a transparent background.
Also known as the roundel.
Credits attributed to Wikipedia, Transport for London (TfL), Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) BBC