Philobiblon: Tube history

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tube history

How to win the pub quiz, or set the unanswerable one. When did the last steam train run on the London Underground?

Astonishingly, the answer is June 1967 - they were used for transporting night-time maintenance crews. No wonder the native mice are soot-coloured.

And with the new Wembley Stadium apparently in trouble, it seems the site has a problematic history. Sir Edward Watkins, the chairman of the Metropolitan line, set out to build a tower higher than the Eiffel that was supposed to attract customers. It was not a success, and was never completed.

The Northern Line, as it is today, started out badly, as it was to continue. The carriages were called "padded cells", because there were no windows - the theory being there was nothing to look at.

From: Underground London: Travels Beneath the City Streets Stephen Smith, Little, Brown, 2004.


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