Living in London you will travel through the London UndergrounD (trust me, that isn’t a typo) either several times a day or a few times a week. Most times the tube journey will be splendidly smooth and at other times you may feel like pulling your hair out.
When traveling on the tube I never really thought about how the London UndergrounD was built or how it has evolved. However, after a tour of a disused hidden underground station and a presentation by David Leboff (our expert on Transport of London) we found out that there is a lot more to the UndergrounD that meets the eye. Since then I have noticed the hidden beauty that lies beneath the omnipotent structure of what we now call the London UndergrounD.
10 new things I discovered:
- Have you ever wandered why the oyster card (which can be used to go on all of Transport of London) is called an “oyster” card? Apparently it could have been inspired by the phrase “The world is your oyster” or it could have just been because one of the marketing guys at TFL had a fetish for seafood.
- The first underground tube was the Metropolitan Railway (aka Metropolitan line), which back in 1863 only traveled from Farringdon to Paddington.
- Baker Street Station looks pretty much like it did in the 1980s, except the fact that you won’t see Sherlock Holmes there anymore.
- The Bakerloo line was previously called Baker Street and Waterloo Railway and was later combined and named as it is today.
- Due to corporate branding all the London Railways became the “UndergrounD” with the big “D” at the end. However, now the logo has changed to the “UNDERGROUND”.
- The colorful lines were introduced in 1908 as a feature of the rebranding. After living in London for over a year I still like to use the colors to refer to certain lines rather than the actual names of the lines. I guess the marketing technique does work.
- The first escalator at a tube stations was introduced in 1915 at Kilburn Park. It must have been fun climbing all those stairs after a night out pre-1915.
- At one point the metropolitan railway went all the way to Buckinghamshire and almost as far as Oxfordshire. Trust me, Oxfordshire is very far.
- At some point in history one of the tunnels along the central line was used as an aircraft factory.
- White City station was named after the 1909 Imperial exhibition where there were white buildings around that area. I wouldn’t have guessed.