TOP TEN FACTS
1. The Metropolitan Railway is the world’s oldest underground railway. It opened between Paddington and Smithfield in 1863. It now forms the basis of the Hammersmith & City Line.
2. The ‘Met’ tunnels were built using ‘cut and cover’ trenches. The ‘Deep Tube’ lines were dug with tunnelling shields and lined with iron rings.
3. The Northern Line features the oldest ‘Deep Tube’ line – between Stockwell and Borough, opened in 1890 – and will soon feature the newest – the Kennington-battersea extension, due to open in 2020.
4. The London Underground system comprises 249 miles of railway.
5. Some 1.37 billion people use the Underground every year and Waterloo is the busiest station, handling over 100,000,000 passengers each year.
6. The oldest Underground passenger stock in everyday service is the 1938 Stock that’s still being used on the Isle of Wight.
7. Greenwich Power Station provides emergency back-up power for the Underground; its four gas turbine generators are based on the Rolls-royce Avon jet engine.
8. Steam was used on London Transport metals until 1971, when the last of its EX-GWR ‘57XXS’ were withdrawn.
9. Harry Beck’s famous map was initially rejected because it didn’t show geographical distances. A limited trial run of 500 copies was published in 1932… followed by 700,000 in 1933!
10. Locomotive-hauled passenger trains lasted until 1962, when the ex-metropolitan Railway electrics were withdrawn and replaced by ‘A’ Stock EMUS.