Accessibility links

150 Years Of The London 'Tube'

On January 9, 1863, the world's first underground rail journey took place between London's Paddington and Farringdon stations on the Metropolitan Railway. Within its first few months, the pioneering subway system was carrying 26,000 passengers a day. Today, that number tops 3.5 million. The London Underground, known as "The Tube," now serves 270 stations and covers 402 kilometers of track, 45 percent of which is below ground. Here is a short photographic history of the London Underground. (23 PHOTOS)

The London Underground's iconic sign appears in front of the Big Ben clock tower in central London.
1

The London Underground's iconic sign appears in front of the Big Ben clock tower in central London.

A young visitor to the London Transport Museum runs in front of an old Underground map.
2

A young visitor to the London Transport Museum runs in front of an old Underground map.

In this undated photo, workers extend the rail line using "cut and cover" construction, digging deep below the surface of London's Praed Street.
3

In this undated photo, workers extend the rail line using "cut and cover" construction, digging deep below the surface of London's Praed Street.

Workers on London’s Central Line during the construction of the British Museum Station in 1898. The station is no longer in use.
4

Workers on London’s Central Line during the construction of the British Museum Station in 1898. The station is no longer in use.

An illustration of the wooden "island" between the tracks at Stockwell Station
5

An illustration of the wooden "island" between the tracks at Stockwell Station

An undated lithograph of Baker Street Station...
6

An undated lithograph of Baker Street Station...

...and a restored steam engine arriving at the same station in 2012 on a practice run ahead of the 150th anniversary celebrations.
7

...and a restored steam engine arriving at the same station in 2012 on a practice run ahead of the 150th anniversary celebrations.

An old-fashioned carriage pauses between test runs at Quorn Station.
8

An old-fashioned carriage pauses between test runs at Quorn Station.

A Metropolitan Railway guard, Eva Carver, poses in her guard's uniform (left and right).
9

A Metropolitan Railway guard, Eva Carver, poses in her guard's uniform (left and right).

A 1906 postcard of a train at Piccadilly Circus Station
10

A 1906 postcard of a train at Piccadilly Circus Station

A pocket-sized Underground map from 1933
11

A pocket-sized Underground map from 1933

An undated shot of Edgware Station on the Northern Line
12

An undated shot of Edgware Station on the Northern Line

The Acton Town Station in 1938
13

The Acton Town Station in 1938

The restored interior of a 1938 carriage
14

The restored interior of a 1938 carriage

Thousands of Londoners took shelter in the Underground during the Blitz, the German aerial campaign against Britain during World War II. Here people take cover in Aldwych Station, which was also used as a storehouse for artistic and historical treasures. 
15

Thousands of Londoners took shelter in the Underground during the Blitz, the German aerial campaign against Britain during World War II. Here people take cover in Aldwych Station, which was also used as a storehouse for artistic and historical treasures. 

A crowded platform at Piccadilly Circus Station, undated
16

A crowded platform at Piccadilly Circus Station, undated

Passengers wait at Baker Street Station.
17

Passengers wait at Baker Street Station.

Passengers go through an automatic ticket gate at the Seven Sisters Station in 1969.
18

Passengers go through an automatic ticket gate at the Seven Sisters Station in 1969.

Britain's Prince Charles (left) rides in the front of a carriage at the official opening of the Jubilee Line in 1979.
19

Britain's Prince Charles (left) rides in the front of a carriage at the official opening of the Jubilee Line in 1979.

Piccadilly Line trains parked outside the Northfields depot in 2001.
20

Piccadilly Line trains parked outside the Northfields depot in 2001.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who is now prime minister, travels on the Tube after a news conference in 2008.
21

Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who is now prime minister, travels on the Tube after a news conference in 2008.

A crowd of rush-hour commuters, 2008
22

A crowd of rush-hour commuters, 2008

The modern interior of Canary Wharf Station, 2009
23

The modern interior of Canary Wharf Station, 2009

XS
SM
MD
LG