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YHA Celebrating 150 years of the London Underground
    05/11/2013 01:34

Celebrating 150 years of the London Underground

For visitors to London, the Tube might be something of a novelty, but rarely is it seen as much more than just a way of getting around. However, this year is different, as 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the London Underground's first ever journey.

A range of events are taking place to celebrate the anniversary and the stations will be marking the occasion, making a visitor's Tube journey more than just a way from getting from A to C (changing at B).

It was January 9th 1863 when the first train pulled out of Paddington station to make its 3.5-mile subterranean journey to Farringdon. The service, which was the first underground railway train service anywhere in the world, was a huge hit with the general public from the first journey; an average of 26,000 passengers used the Underground each day in the first six months of operation.

In some of the major stations, toy manufacturer Lego has unveiled Tube maps made out of the popular building blocks, while the Art on the Underground Labyrinth programme is bringing unique art to all 270 stations on the network. There is also a schools programme showing off children's artistic impressions of the trains, while 15 special images by recognised artists have been produced to celebrate the anniversary; you'll see these dotted around the network, and prints are available to buy as a lasting memento.

As you would expect, there's plenty celebrating the Tube at the London Transport Museum - including the very steam engine that took that first trip from Paddington all those years ago. Alongside this are a number of displays detailing the story of the Underground, including Harry Beck's original artwork for his ground-breaking London Underground map, and the story of the how the famous roundel logo came into being. Many of the exhibits are interactive, and there are plenty of bits and pieces about trams and buses, too.

Posters played a big part of advertising the Tube, and some amazing images have been produced over the last 150 years to promote using the service. These are celebrated in a special exhibition at the London Transport Museum, and as well as being visually interesting, they provide an interesting insight into attitudes towards the London Underground over the years.

Lastly, the appeal of the Underground has been demonstrated in an interesting project by one New Zealand-born visitor. Tim McCready travelled the entire 250 miles of the Tube network to explore each and every station, having a photo taken at each one. 

By A Hosteller

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