This Day in History – January 10th, 1863

The idea of an underground railway linking the City of London with some of the railway termini in its urban centre was proposed in the 1830s, and the Metropolitan Railway was granted permission to build such a line in 1854. The world’s first underground railway, it opened in January 10th, 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives. It was hailed as a success, carrying 38,000 passengers on the opening day, and borrowing trains from other railways to supplement the service. 

London UndergroundThe Metropolitan District Railway (commonly known as the District Railway) opened in December 1868 from South Kensington to Westminster as part of a plan for an underground ‘inner circle’ connecting London’s main-line termini. The Metropolitan and District railways completed the Circle line in 1884, built using the cut and cover method. Both railways expanded, the District building five branches to the west reaching Ealing, Hounslow, Uxbridge, Richmond and Wimbledon and the Metropolitan eventually extended as far as Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles (80 km) from Baker Street and the centre of London.

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