The first London Underground service began on 10th January 1863 when the Metropolitan line was opened.
Operated by the North Metropolitan Railway the world’s first underground line ran from Bishop’s Road, Paddington to Victoria Street (Farringdon). The majority of this first line is now part of the Hammersmith and City Line.
Construction of the new underground railway line had taken two years and eleven months, but had attracted great interest and on its first day of operation approximately 30,000 people travelled the line.
More lines were soon added and what is now known as the Circle Line was completed by 1884. The first trains were steam trains and ventilation shafts had to be placed at intervals for the trains to let off steam. The first electric line opened in 1890.
During the Blitz many people used the underground for shelter and the picture (right) shows people sleeping on the floor and escalators.
Today the London Underground is the longest underground railway in the world with some 400km of track running between 275 stations. On weekdays it is estimated that 3 million people use the service every day.