London Underground is more than a century and a half old

London Underground is more than a century and a half old
Fecha de publicación: 
25 July 2022
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London, Jul 24 (Prensa Latina) The London Underground is more than a century and a half old and treasures many curiosities, adding to them recent news about the opening of the Elizabeth line, named after Queen Elizabeth II, and its employees’ strikes.

It began operating on January 10, 1863, when the Industrial Revolution was in full swing, turning it into the oldest subway in the world.

According to historians, the project’s first route, which The Times called “utopian” at the time, was the Metropolitan Railway, which covered the route from Farringdon to King’s Cross, in the city’s northern section.

As there were not tunneling machines like today, large trenches were dug to lay the rails on which the trains would run, just below ground level and covered by an arch-shaped structure.

The introduction of electric engines replacing steam locomotives in 1905 gave a definitive boost to a transportation system that currently covers a rail network stretching some 408 kilometers, 181 of which are underground.

An average three million people use its 275 stations every day, although it is not the most extensive in the world, nor the most used, since the ones in Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow and Paris respectively take the honors.

“The Tube” -as the English call it- has, however, its own charms, such as the 20 seconds it takes for people to travel the 260 meters between Leicester Square and Covent Garden, on the Piccadilly line, a route that has become a tourist attraction due to its speed.

Statistics lovers will be pleased to know that Waterloo station, on the Thames’ south bank, has 23 escalators and is the busiest in the morning’s rush hour, due to the arrival of thousands of people who move every day from the suburbs in the so-called commuter trains.

There are some 40 abandoned or ghost stations, some of which are used as film sets, and one of them, Aldwich, is used as the setting for level two of the video game Tomb Raider III.

The Metro map, distributed free throughout the London transport service, also echoes alleged paranormal events in various parts of the subway, fueled by the large number of mass graves found during excavations, dating back to the bubonic plague era.

The large number of suicides and fatalities, both by accidents and murders, occurred throughout its existence, fuel the many reports of ghosts.

Once on the surface, tourists can buy, as a reminder of their time travel, a T-shirt saying “Mind the Gap”, words constantly heard on the London Underground to warn travelers to watch the gap between the deck and the train.

(Taken from Orbe weekly)

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