The London Underground

London Underground Covent Garden A historic part of London, the Underground forms one of the most important means of transportation in London, and in its neighbouring counties.

Having started operations in 1863, the Underground has undergone a number of transformations. Deep-level tunnels were dug to cater for underground travel, hence the name the Tube.  There are also over ground and sub-surface lines. Another transformation is the extension of the lines to 11 lines and also became wholly electrified.

Serving 270 stations, the first underground railway opened in London and the rest of the world and its carriages used gas lighting and the locomotives ran on steam. Soon afterwards, in 1890, the first deep-level tube line was opened. Its locomotives ran on electricity and the carriages had small opaque windows. Electrification of the underground lines took place over the next few years. Plans to expand the underground were curtailed twice by the first and second world wars. During these years the tube was used as a shelter from air raids.

Notable lines include the Victoria Line which was opened between 1968 and 1971. This line brought another step towards the mechanization of the London railway system. The trains were driven automatically and tickets were collected by automatic gates. Another notable line is the Jubilee line which was constructed in commemoration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

Travel and paying of fares was made easier with the introduction of the Travel-card and the Capital-card. Later the Oyster card was introduced to cater for contact-less electronic ticketing.

Although the underground is extensive, it does not serve 6 of the 32 London Boroughs. The newer trains are designed for the maximum number of standing passengers. You can also easily access the different cars easily and find out where you are with the help of the Public Address System. The trains also cater for passengers on wheelchairs.

The stations are also furnished with lifts and escalators for ease of movement. Signs help commuters determine where they are and what they should do. Stations now have Wi-Fi, which means that commuters can access the internet free or at a fee depending on the provider they have subscribed to. Mobile and internet service is however not available underground. A readily available map or the use of Google Maps will provide you with information on all available railway lines.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 18th, 2014 at 1:22 pm