London Underground History
Page last modified 13/7/2020
London Underground (& tramways etc.) For other London railways, main line and suburban. see GB railways.
Railway opening, closing, dates have been moved to the maps being published on Bookshop, UK changes.
For general underground (man made or man used sites) matters check out Subterranea Britannica, https://www.subbrit.org.uk/
See also underground-themed images here.
1) Click Here for more events relating to London
2) Click here for How Deep is Your Tube Station. Map of depth/elevation of London tube stations, both absolute (to sea level) and relative (to ground level. Also which stations are vulnerable to a 10 metre tidal surge.
3) Proposed Northern Line Extension from Edgware.
4) Proposed Northern Line Extension, Edgware, general map
5) Image of Chiswick Park station, 1880s and now.
2009, Work on Londonís Crossrail began.
2001, Lots Road power station, which had generated electricity for the London Underground, became redundant.
17/12/1981, The Law Lords ruled the Greater London Councilís cheap fares policy, effectively subsidised from rates, was illegal.
31/10/1981, Blake Hall station on the Central Line, London Underground, closed. It had been the least-used station on the network, with an average 6 passengers a day.
4/10/1964, Services on the Moorgate to Finsbury Park line, north London, were cut back to Drayton Park to allow for Victoria Line trains at Finsbury Park, see 1/9/1968.
9/4/1964. The first driverless trains ran on the London Underground. They were first trialled on the Central Line between Woodford and Hainault.
5/1/1964, The first automatic ticket barrier on the London Underground was installed, at Stamford Brook station.
1963, Construction of Londonís Victoria Line began.
9/9/1961, London Metropolitan line services north of Amersham were withdrawn. The last steam passenger services ran on the London Underground; however some freight and works trains on L U continued to be steam hauled until 1971.
1960, Londonís Metropolitan line was electrified from Rickmansworth to Amersham and Chesham.
27/9/1960. Bank Underground Station, London, opened the first travelator, or moving pavement, in Europe.
30/11/1947. In London, steam trains from Liverpool Street ceased to run on the Chigwell to Newbury Park loop.
5/5/1947, In London, Central Line trains began running to Leytonstone.
4/12/1946, In London, Central Line trains began running to Stratford.
1/7/1946. Londonís Aldwych to Holborn spur line re-opened.† It had been closed during the War and used as an air raid shelter
3/3/1943, 173 people were crushed to death whilst descending the stairs into Bethnal Green Underground station to shelter during an air raid. A woman at the top of the stairs, carrying a child, slipped and fell on those immediately in front of her, causing those below to lose their balance too.
11/1/1941, Bank Underground station, London, received a direct bomb hit during the Blitz. 51 died.
12/11/1940, Sloane Square London Underground station received a direct bomb hit just as a train was leaving in the evening. 35 people were known killed and 2 hospitalised (some estimate a death toll of 79) with three missing. Train services were running again 2 weeks after the event.
14/10/1940, At 8.02pm, a German World War Two bomb made a direct hit on Balham Underground station, where hundreds of people were sheltering from the air raid. Water rushed in as water mains and sewage pipes burst. 68 people were killed.
13/10/1940, Bounds Green Underground station was hit by a German bomb; 17 died and 20 were injured.
17/9/1940. Marble Arch became the first tube station to be hit by German bombs. 20 died and over 40 were injured.
1/2/1940. First class travel was abolished on Londonís Metropolitan and District Railway. From then on, all travel on London transport was single-class.
20/11/1939, Bakerloo Line trains began through running to Stanmore from Baker Street.
8/3/1939, London Transport collected four million used tickets, which were then analysed manually to see which were the most and least used routes, in order to plan for future development.
1937, Rayners Lane station now handled 4 million passengers a year, compared to 22,000 a year in 1930, as ĎMetrolandí housing spread out across Middlesex.
4/5/1935, Londonís Leicester Square tube station opened.
1934, At Holborn, the Picadilly and Central lines were connected by a subway and escalators. Previously, passengers had to exit British Museum Station and cross High Holborn to change.
1/7/1933, The new London passenger Transport Board came into existence, coordinating all bus, tram and tube services within a radius of 20-30 miles of Charing Cross. Only main line rail services were excluded. The tube map was also reorganised according to a new design by Harry Beck. B3eck was paid 5 Guineas for his map, the style of ehicvh has been widely copied around the world, and not just for subway maps.
5/11/1932, London Transport changed the name of Gillespie Road station to Arsenal after the local football club.
10/12/1928, In London, the new Underground Station at Piccadilly Circus opened.
20/4/1924, The interchange at Camden Town between the City and South London Lines and the Northern Line to Golders Green, Highgate, came into use.
1915, Londonís last horse tram route (Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe) was electrified.
4/10/1911. Britainís first escalators were introduced, connecting the District and Piccadilly lines at Earlís Court station in London.
1906, Lots Road power station opened, for generationg power fot the London Underground.
1904, The street tramway from London was extended from Southall to Uxbridge through Hayes. Perivale station.
13/12/1904. Londonís Metropolitan Railway went electric.
1903, The† electric tram was extended from Isleworth to Kingston and Hampton Court. The Clapham to Tooting electric tramway opened.
6/2/1903, In the UK, a Royal Commission was set up to find a solution to Londonís traffic jams. Options included new electric tramways, but these would take up valuable road space, or new tube lines, following the success of the Ďtwopenny tubeí opened in 1900 from Shepherds Bush to Bank (now the Central Line).
9/4/1902† In London, the Underground Electric Railways Company was formed.
1901, Trams began running from Purley via Croydon to London; the service was withdrawn in 1951.
4/1901, Londonís first electric tramway began operations, from Shepherds Bush along the Uxbridge Road to SActon and Kew, operated by London United Tramways Ltd.
1876, The horse tramway from Shepherdís Bush to Acton opened.
21/10/1896, James Greathead, engineer whose invention, known as the Greathead Shield, was crucial for the construction of the first London tube lines, died in Streatham, south London (born 6/8/1844 in South Africa).
7/12/1869, The East London Railway opened from New Cross Gate to Wapping. It used a former pedestrian tunnel under the Thames that had opened in 1843. In 1876 a link with the Great Eastern Railway at Bishopsgate was opened. In 1880 a branch from Surrey Docks began operations. Until 1941 District Line trains from central London ran direct to New Cross via the St Marys Curve, just west of Whitechapel, but after that date the East London Line ran as a separate route, from Shoreditch.
1/3/1869, Londonís Metropolitan railway, opened 10/1/1863 and operating on both broad and standard gauge, changed to standard gauge only.