Though subway train systems are now commonplace in many of the world’s large cities, the first one opened in London in Victorian times (January 10th, 1863). The Metropolitan Line ran for almost four miles between Bishop’s Street (Paddington) and Farringdon Street. Thirty thousand people rode it the very first day, and by the end of its first year, it had transported over eleven million passengers. Its success resulted in the construction of several other lines. Today, the London Underground has twelve lines running along almost two hundred and fifty miles of track.
The first time I was on London Underground, the escalators leading down to the trains really unsettled one of my brothers (then aged nine), as did the fact the trains moved along outside in some areas before plunging down into tunnels. Though only four at the time, I was made of sterner stuff. It didn’t bother me at all. But to pacify my brother, Mum wound up taking buses and taxis everywhere. (Travelling with me was no joy either, though, as when it came to regular trains, I couldn’t sit “back-to the-engine” without getting sick.)