Tag Archives: the Tube

Steam Train Along The Original Underground Route – Tube 150

Steam Train at Baker StreetSteam Train at Baker Street Station from reddit user garethashenden

See what the tube would have looked like 150 years by watching a steam train (Met Locomotive No 1) pass through each of the Underground's original stations.

If you read this blog, you are no doubt aware that on January 13, 2013 steam returned to the Underground for the first time in almost 50 years as part of London Underground's 150th Anniversary.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a ticket for the ride itself and didn't really feel like making the trek down to one of the stations.

However, London being London and the Tube being the Tube, it seems there was little need for me to go. Below I've collected some Youtube videos of the steam train passing through the Underground's original stations.

The journeys last weekend actually started at Kensington Olympia and ended at Moorgate, but since this is the 150th anniversary of the opening of the original section of the Underground I thought I'd focus on that. Enjoy:


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150 Posts About The Tube At 150 – The London Underground Anniversary

Google Doodle of the Tube's 150 anniversary

Even Google's getting in on the 150th anniversary.

While the official grand opening of The Metropolitan Railway (the first bit of what would become the London Underground) occurred on January 9th, 1863 - it did not accept it's first fare paying customers until the 10th. Given that it's a means of mass transportation for the masses and the fact that our political elite wouldn't be caught dead using it on a regular basis – many (myself included) think the official 150th anniversary of the Tube should be today, not yesterday.

In any case if you celebrated it yesterday, today or more likely don't really care one way or the other you will no doubt have seen a huge amount written about it. Now given that I'm walking the tube network in support of Bowel Cancer UK, you might reasonably assume I'd have some sort of post ready for the momentous occasion. Alas, a move to a new flat and sporadic internet have meant that writing anything interesting has been difficult.

More importantly there is nothing really left to say. Below I've collected 150 websites/articles/books/etc. about the 150th anniversary of the Tube. They should provide you all the information you could possibly want about the London Underground.


1. London Underground's 150th anniversary (TFL)
2. Transformation of the Tube network continues apace during historic 150th year (official press release)
3. TFL Facebook Timeline
4. 150th Anniversary of the London Underground (London Transport Museum)

From London Bloggers

5. Happy Birthday, London Underground (A View From The Mirror)
6. Happy 150th Birthday to The Tube (Shit London)
7. Mind the Maps: Celebrating 150 Years of the Tube (Mapping London)
8. Rather English - Celebrate 150 years of the Tube (Tired of London, Tired of Life)
9. Underground sesquicentennial! (Caroline's Miscellany)
10. Underground on film (Caroline's Miscellany)
11. TimeOut Tube Infographic (Annie Mole)
12. LU150: London Underground Past, Present & Future (Annie Mole)
13. 150 years of the London Underground (The Great Wen)
14. London Underground at 150: its past and future (Dave Hill)
15. Photos and Videos: Eye Candy Celebrating the London's Underground’s 150 Anniversary
16. See how the Tube was built 150 years ago
17. LU150: A Birthday Steam Test (London Reconnections)
18. LU150: Steam On the Underground Timetable and Prices
19. Google celebrates the London Underground with a Doodle (IanVisits)
20. Best places to photograph London Underground’s heritage steam train trips (IanVisits)
21. Diverting the Fleet River for the London Underground (IanVisits)
22. 150 - 150th anniversary celebrations (Diamond Geezer)
23. Happy 150th Birthday London Underground: 30 reasons we love the tube (TimeOut)
24. @tube_boob’s ode to the Underground (TimeOut)
25. And don’t forget the humble tube map’s 80th birthday... (TimeOut)

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Bakerloo Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Closed Assistance and tickets booth at South Kenton
Closed Assistance and ticket office at South Kenton. Miles away from Oxford Circus.

The Bakerloo line is the third London Underground line I'm tackling as part of my Randomly London V. The Tube Challenge. Heading from south of the Thames at Elephant & Castle to the suburban edges of north-west London up at Harrow & Wealdstone, the line - like almost all Underground lines - connects some very diverse parts of London together.

However, the line feels like the forgotten middle child of the London Underground. It doesn't go the furthest north or south and it isn't the newest or oldest, longest or shortest. In fact, it's the third least used line it terms of total passenger volume, although if you look at passengers per mile of track, it's actually the fourth most used.

The line even went into massive retreat between 1979 and 1982 when it lost the Stanmore branch to the Jubilee line and had services withdrawn so Stonebridge Park became the line's northern terminus. Nevertheless, the forgotten middle child of lines has come back a bit since then and has some interesting stations.

Here's a brief summary of my impressions of each of the 25 stations that currently make up the Bakerloo Line.

Elephant & Castle

Elephant & Castle Bakerloo Exit a classic Leslie Green station
Elephant & Castle Bakerloo line exit - classic Leslie Green.

Impressions: Elephant & Castle is one of those parts of London that will never look good, no matter what scheme the council, developers or mayor's office devise. The roundabout is designed only for cars and pedestrians are left as an afterthought.

Once you accept these facts, then the area isn't so bad. Murals in the subways brighten up what would otherwise be very drab concrete walls. The Strata building is interesting and impressive.

And, the Bakerloo platforms are best accessed through a classic Leslie Green red brick entrance. Thus, if you're a glass half-full kind of person there are some good points to the area that go at least partly mitigate the glaring negatives.

Random Fact: In 1924, the first recorded birth on the London Underground occurred at Elephant & Castle. There has been only 1 other since then. Tweet This

Tube Nerd Fact: The furthest south of Leslie Green's Tube stations. Tweet This

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Wondering If Visiting Aldwych Station Is Worth £20? Watch This Video

One of the must see stops for London Underground buffs is the disused Aldwych Tube Station. All services to the station ceased in 1994, but TFL through the London Transport Museum still run periodic tours. However, they aren't cheap. Full price tickets are £20 with concessions getting a massive £2 discount.

So is the tour worth £20? Well that depends on how much you like the tube. The video above comes from reddit user zzpza who visited on December 1, 2012. It gives you a good idea of what you can expert to see. zzpza adds that:

I took photos on the way down and video on the way up, so the video is only the way out from the second platform. The other platform had test tiling (test design) in a small part of it, some old advertising, an old tube map and a train from around the 90's. I also didn't record much from the entrance or ticket office. So there was more to look at. You were pretty free to wander as long as you stayed near the tour guides. We didn't get to see any of the 'non public' parts of the station, but I have seen photos from other tours that have.

If Aldwych Tube Station is something you'd like to visit, make sure you head over to the London Transport Museum website to find out when the next set of tours are taking place.

Victoria Line Walk – From Walthamstow Central to Brixton

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Buckingham Palace With FlowersBuckingham Palace, just one of the sights you can see along the Victoria line.

Amazingly enough the day of my Victoria line walk happens to be another sunny Saturday in September. I've decided walk the line in the reverse order from the station visitsWalthamstow Central to Brixton this time. Walking north to south is a deliberate decision; psychologically, it feels like you're going downhill.

I set off out of the station at full speed along Selborne Road, passing an Asda and a passed out drunk, then walk parallel to Walthamstow High Street, where you can find Walthamstow Market – Europe's longest daily outdoor market.

Walthastow Central Station
Walthamstow Central Station, the start of my walk

I decide against my normal better judgement to cut over to the High Street. Normally I avoid crowds whenever I can. I love living in big cities, except for having to deal with all the other people.

Global Markets & Reservoirs

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Victoria Line Underground Stations – Facts, Trivia And Impressions

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Retro Map at Pimlico Station

Retro Victoria Line Tube Map Found At Pimlico, the only station still using this type of map.

Given that London has few sunny and warm weekends, especially in September, most Londoners make the most of them when they do happen. I, on the other hand, chose to ride the tube from Brixton to Walthamstow Central along the Victoria line.

The Victoria line is an interesting one for a few reasons: it was the first deep level underground line to be built across central London since 1907, it is the longest line entirely underground (at least for the travelling public), and almost every station has tiled artwork relating to the station itself, or the surrounding area.

I visited each of the 16 stations on the line over the course of approximately 3 hours on the very sunny 8th of September. Here are my impressions and a random fact about each station:


Entrance to Brixton Station Brixton Station Art
Huge London Underground roundel at Brixton station and tiled artwork at platform level playing on the "brick" part of the name.

Impressions: Brixton is among the more interesting areas of London. It has reputation for being somewhat dodgy and dangerous, but in my opinion this view is increasingly outdated. While Brixton remains at present a mixed area, all signs point to rapid gentrification. The most noticeable feature about Brixton station, to my mind, is the huge London Underground roundel over the entrance. It was also extremely busy on the day I visited.

Random Fact: Brixton station opened in 1971, 3 years after the first section of the Victoria line. Tweet This


Stockwell Station Exterior Stockwell Station tiled Art
The entrance to Stockwell Station and the bizarre dazzle inspired tiled artwork at platform level.

Impressions: If Brixton is one of the most interesting areas of London, Stockwell feels like one of the most bland. Stockwell station is one of the ugliest stations on the whole network. The view is not much improved once you leave, as you're immediately thrust onto busy Clapham Road. The one interesting thing I did notice about the station is that there is no up escalator from the northbound Victoria line platform. I guess not many people go from Brixton to Stockwell by tube. It was also far less busy than Brixton.

Random Fact: Stockwell is the southernmost London underground station that serves more than one line. Tweet This
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Waterloo & City Line – Walk And Tube Station Visits

This post is part of my Randomly London v. The Tube Challenge. Get the latest about challenge updates here. Donate to Bowel Cancer UK here.

Waterloo Station

The Waterloo & City line is the amuse bouche of my 11 course tube challenge. The line itself is both the youngest* and shortest on the network. At only 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long and consisting of just two stations (Waterloo and Bank), I was able to walk the whole thing in about a half hour. A nice easy start.

However, everything did not quite go according to plan. The original idea was to both ride and walk the line on the same day. I set off on a beautiful sunny Sunday (Aug. 19th, 2012) walking to Waterloo from South Ken. Normally the Waterloo & City Line is closed on Sundays. However, Transport for London (TFL) moved to a 7 day a week schedule for the line during Olympics.

I naively assumed that this applied to the whole period from the opening ceremonies of the Olympics to the closing ceremonies of the Paralympics. Even TFL's website seemed to indicate the line was going to be open. So I was somewhat surprised to find the whole thing shut down. Really not a big deal, but it meant I had to make a separate trip a few days later to ride the train.

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Oyster Gives Up Pearls – Mapping Tube Journeys

An interesting short video about how UCL Engineering School is using the data from the Oyster Card system to map out how Londoners use the network. The obvious benefit is that TFL could better invest in problem locations to relieve congestion. The main takeaway is that London is a network of polycentres - meaning there is no one central hub - but a collection of them.

To be honest I'm not sure why the data hasn't been looked at before. About 3 months ago, I got letter from TFL asking me to record my complete journey history using a pen and paper form. It seemed insanely inefficient and I didn't bother to complete it. At the time I thought why don't they just use the information from Oyster Card system, glad to see they now are.

You can learn more about the project from Oyster Give Up It's Pearls page from the UCL Engineering School.

100 Years Underground (1963) – London Underground Documentary

This is a great 40 minute film about the Tube at 100. Made in 1963 it provides a brief history of the Underground network up to that point. It's interesting to see that while many things have changed in the last 50 years, many haven't. For example, the Tube in 1963 looks about as crowded as it is today. Moreover, they were still trying to explain to people to stand right and not crowd the doors. If people haven't learned these lessons in the past 50, I don't think there's a lot of hope in the next.

Some highlights include footage of the yet to be opened Victoria line (next up in my Tube Challenge) being built and the building of what become known as Millbank Tower (originally named Vickers Tower), the Shard of it's day. There is even mention of driverless trains, something that's still being talked about 50 years on.

If you have 40 minutes I highly recommend giving it a watch, a great slice of history.

Randomly London v. The Tube – My Personal London Underground Challenge

Bank Station

That's right, I'm taking on the Tube! Specifically, my goal over the next 12 months is to visit every London Underground station and to walk all the Tube lines above ground. Given that there are 11 underground lines, my aim is to complete about one a month.

This also leaves me with a bit of extra time in case I need it. I've walked several of the Tube lines before, but since turning 30 last month, I've decided to walk them all systemically. Walking the Tube is a great way to see London and to discover how each community fits together. Coincidentally, the timing of this challenge will overlap with the 150th anniversary of the Tube on 10 January, 2013.

The idea was conceived of as a personal challenge, but I thought it would be a wasted opportunity not to raise money for charity. So, I've set a goal of raising £16,013 for Bowel Cancer UK. The number represents £1 for each person who died from bowel cancers in the UK in 2010.

I chose this charity because of a family history with the disease; my Scottish paternal grandmother died of colorectal cancer in her 40s, long before I ever had a chance to meet her. Walking and exercise in general are good ways to prevent bowel and other types of cancers. You can learn more about bowel cancer – including who is at risk, symptoms, where to get screenings, and more – from the Bowel Cancer UK website here.

My plan for the challenge is as follows:
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