~ Design & Technology ~ 

Constructing the Underground

Extract from an interesting essay .. To read in full  click here.

….The first passenger-carrying railway (above the ground) in London was the London and Greenwich Line, which opened on February 8, 1836, and continued expansion for the next four years. By 1840, the line carried nearly six million passengers and had enlarged its main service lines to the outskirts of London's central business district. Because of the high cost of constructing through built up areas and the extensive property damage, all of the termini were located outside the city. Therefore, in order to get to and from places inside of London, one had to take the omnibus, a cab, or simply walk.

…...In 1855, one witness giving evidence to the Select Committee on Metropolitan Communication claimed that it took longer to get across town than it did to travel from London to Brighton! <3> There was a lack of direct rail services (railroad lines which connected with each other to give a passenger direct access to his destination); the solution to this problem was the idea for a succession of main line stations linked by an underground railway…..

……..The art of architecture and the science of engineering were advanced remarkably in the construction of the Underground. Innovations in tunnelling and excavation were pioneered with heroic determination. The cut and cover method of tunnelling in which a trench of about fifteen feet would be dug out of the ground, the sides supported by the construction of walls, roofing would be built overhead, and then covered with dirt, reinstating the road, had become too expensive and too slow. Following the Victorian compulsion of efficiency, tube construction was invented …………..

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