One Hundred and Forty Five Years Ago Today

The world’s first underground tube railway opens in London, England. IN 1869, a 1,340 foot circular tunnel was dug under the River Thames, running from Tower Hill on the north side to Vine Lane (off Tooley Street) on the south. Then a 2 ft 6 in narrow gauge railway was laid in the tunnel and one hundred and forty five years ago today on August 2, 1870, Tower Subway was opened and a cable-hauled wooden carriage conveyed passengers from one end to the other.

And even though the company that was operating the underground carriage went bankrupt the following year (as it was uneconomical), which opened up the tunnel to pedestrian traffic, and even though the tunnel was closed to pedestrian traffic in 1898 (when it was bought by the London Hydraulic Power Company which used it for water mains), as the Tower Bridge (which was built in 1894) negated the need for traffic, it was still the first underground tube railway and laid the foundations for the City and South London Railway , which were built using the same method of construction.

And one hundred and forty five years later the fog still rolls off the River Thames, obscuring the fascinating history beneath.