Tube 150: London Underground marks 150th birthday

00:05 09 January 2013

Engraving from the Illustrated London News showing the Metropolitan Railway stations, 27 December 1862. Picture: London Transport Museum

Engraving from the Illustrated London News showing the Metropolitan Railway stations, 27 December 1862. Picture: London Transport Museum

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Today marks 150 years since the first stretch of line on the London Underground opened.

A Google Doodle is marking 150 years since the first Tube line opened on January 9, 1863.A Google Doodle is marking 150 years since the first Tube line opened on January 9, 1863.

Then known as the Metropolitan Railway, the first section of the Tube to open on January 9 1863 was between Paddington and Farringdon.

The first passenger journeys took place the following day, making it the world’s first underground railway, and since then hundreds of millions of people have used London’s Tube network to travel around the capital.

Among the activities taking place throughout the year to mark the anniversary will be a recreation of the first Tube passenger journey.

This will be done on Sunday with a series of specially restored trains including the Metropolitan Steam Locomotive No.1 and the Metropolitan Railway Jubilee Carriage No 353. The latter is the oldest operational underground carriage in existence and is being restored with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund;

Visitors to the homepage of the search engine Google today will be greeted with a Google Doodle commemorating the origins of the London Underground.

The Royal Mint is to issue two new £2 coins to mark the anniversary, while the Royal Mail will be issuing a set of 10 special stamps.

Twelve short stories, one about each Tube line, will look at the meaning of the Underground, while 2013 Art on the Underground will see artworks brought into every station on the Tube network.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “The arrival of the Tube was truly revolutionary and today it is still admired around the world. It annihilates distance, liquidates traffic and is the throbbing cardiovascular system of the greatest city on earth.”

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