London Underground History and Fun Facts

According to Peter Watts (April 17, 2007) in Timeout.com, the tube is a very important passage as it is what actually defines London. In as much as it could get crowded as it carries millions of people, It is still the best and yes, it belongs to the people.

The Underground still remains the biggest transport or infrastructure revolution the world has ever seen. Ever since the Metropolitan Railway began operations in the year 1863, very few inventions or shifts in infrastructural developments have shaken the world like it did. Nearly two centuries of technological advancement have still not stopped it from being one of the busiest and most effective metro systems in the globe. It still manages to serve over a billion passengers in a single calendar year.

Regardless, there are still millions of people from around the world who don’t know much or anything at all about this revolutionary railway system. Here are a few fun facts to get you up to speed:

The First Underground Railway

The Metropolitan Railway, which is part of the Underground, is the first underground railway to be established globally. It was officially opened in 1863 to connect Paddington and Farringdon.

World War Hideout

During the Second World War, the Underground has used a safe shelter for most of the civilians. This was after some of them used it during the First World War without the government’s consent. On seeing how effective it was in keeping the citizens’ alive, it was used as the official hideout when the war broke out again.

Lost Lives

Even though it saved lives during the world war, it has also seen its fair share of lost lives. In the year 1953, there was a nasty collision between a train and the rear end of another train leading to the death of 12 people with 46 others escaping with injuries. This disaster is commonly referred t as the Stratford Tube Crash.

Birth of Lives

On the bright side, the tube has also seen its fair share of births. Even though a lot of people claim to have been born in the tube, only three births have been officiated. The first one was in 1924, the second one in 2008 and the third one in 2009.

The Tube Challenge

The Tube Challenge is a phenomenon that has seen Andi James from Finland and Steve Wilson from the UK land in the Guinness World Record as the current champions. It is basically a competition to travel through all the stations in the shortest time possible. They clocked in at 15 hours, 45 minutes and 38 seconds.