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THE UK: Destination Guides

Student Blog: London Underground marks its 150th anniversary

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'On 9 January 2013, London Underground celebrated 150 years since the first underground journey took place between Paddington and Farringdon on the Metropolitan Railway. Since that moment, the London Underground or the ‘tube’ as it is commonly known, has become part of the day-to-day life of all Londoners and visitors.


Today UK's capital city is connected and functions in an amazingly orderly manner thanks to the underground. The network covers 408 kilometres, with 11 lines running through 270 stations across London. To commemorate this long-standing legacy, we have put together a list of historical facts for you:



The first day the London Underground opens: 50,000 people queue for tickets but just over half that number are able to travel.


London underground early days



District and Circle Railways and part of the Metropolitan Railway electrified.


Disctrict Line is electrified



Frank Pick develops the Underground's corporate identity through coordinated marketing including distinctive posters and the first version of the bar and circle logo.


See Marketing courses abroad.


Later on in 1916, Frank Pick commissions Edward Johnston to design a unique typeface for the Underground as part of these branding efforts. A newer version is still in use by London Underground.


London tube roundel sign



Harry Beck designed and produced the well known Tube map diagram while working as an engineering draughtsman at the London Underground Signals Office. Beck’s map was considered too big a departure from the norm, but the public liked it and it became official in 1933.


First underground map



Wartime London: Holborn and Aldwych stations served as shelter for many Londoners during the Blitz in the Second World War as well as storing precious artworks and other items from the neighbouring British Museum.


Aldwych station during Blitz



Victoria Line, the newest of all London Underground network, is inaugurated by the Queen Elizabeth II.



The first woman driver, Hannah Dadds, starts working as a train driver on the District line.


First woman driver



Oyster electronic card is introduced, following past efforts started with the paper-based travelcard. The whole transport system is divided into zones to allow for a smaller range of fares.


oyster card



The tube carries 1 billion people in a year for the first time. A new one-day record of over 4 million passengers occurs on 7 December.



During the Olympic Games, the London Underground had its most hectic day ever on August 3, carrying 4.4 million passengers.



As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, a restored locomotive steam train (last used in the late 1800s) runs from Kensington Olympia to Moorgate on the Metropolitan line, on January 13.'


Images: Courtesy of Transport for London

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