London Underground

Conducting Business

Does Classical Music at Train Stations Really Deter Crime?

Monday, April 08, 2013

From Atlanta and Minneapolis to Toronto and London, great composers are used to turn away vagrants and troublemakers drawn to bus stations, malls and parking lots.

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Transportation Nation

Photos and Videos: Eye Candy Celebrating the London's Underground's 150 Anniversary

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

On January 9, 2013, the world's first underground journey took place in London.

A lithograph of Baker Street Station on Metropolitan Railway (Image courtesy of London Transport Museum)

According to the London Transport Museum:

The original Underground line was built and financed by the Metropolitan Railway, a private company which had been formed in 1854 to undertake the project to link the mainline stations at Paddington, Euston and King’s Cross with the City centre business district to the east.

Travelling on the new railway was a novelty that thousands of Londoners were eager to experience and on the first day of public service – long queues formed at every station. The line was a huge success with 26,000 passengers using the railway each day in the first six months.

A view of the platform at the Victoria station (Image courtesy of London Transport Museum)


In 1969, Queen Elizabeth opened a section of the Victoria Line and actually took the controls. According to press reports, it was her second time riding the Tube.

(Image courtesy of London Transport Museum)


But she didn't just ride. The queen apparently also took the controls.


Carriage 353 was a  four-wheeled first class carriage built in 1892.  Amazingly, it had been "relegated to use as a garden shed." Check out a video of its history -- and restoration process -- below.

Metropolitan Carriage 353, pausing between test runs at Quorn Station (image courtesy of London Transport Museum)


Here's what the interior of a 1938 car looked like:

 (Image courtesy of London's Transport Museum)



To celebrate the 150th anniversary, Google UK blessed its site with an Underground-themed Doodle.

Google Doodle


Today, Transport for London estimates around 3.5 million journeys are made on the network each day, across 11 lines serving 270 stations.


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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Transpo Bill, Tappan Zee, and Cracked Metro Rails

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Top stories on TN:
US Chamber of Commerce: House transit cuts could pass (link)
Crossing Delancey Street will soon get safer (link)
LaHood says high-speed rail in California is all about jobs (link)
FTA head Peter Rogoff joins list of officials who hate the transportation bill (link)
Photo: the ugliest rat (link)

DC Metro Station (photo by Jill Robidoux)

TN's Andrea Bernstein talks about the House's transit cuts on this morning's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)

A New York Times editorial provides a "brief and by no means exhaustive list of the (transportation) bill's many defects"; calls it "uniquely terrible." (New York Times)

And: NYT critic: move Madison Square Garden to far west side to fix Penn Station. (New York Times)

A TSA program that pre-clears passengers --and lets them keep their shoes on while being screened by airport security -- is being expanded to more airports. (Star-Ledger, The Hill)

California labor groups are running ads that hammer home U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood's message that high-speed rail=jobs. (Sacramento Bee)

Pennsylvania's governor didn't budget for transportation because its problems are too overwhelming. "This is not a budget item. It is too large for that. Transportation must be confronted as its own distinct and separate topic." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

A German carpooling website plans to enter the U.S. market. “We think all trips by car could be shared,” says the founder. “Whenever you want to go with your car, you could take people with you, and therefore reduce carbon emissions and your costs.” Everybody say Mitfahrgelegenheit! (The World)

The four consortiums picked to bid on New York's Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild include some of the world's most successful construction companies -- and some with histories of delays and millions of dollars in cost overruns. (Journal News)

Why is there an uptick of cracked rails on the DC Metro? (Washington Post)

A pair of lawmakers from New York and New Jersey are pushing legislation to roll back last summer's Port Authority toll and fare hikes. (Star-Ledger)

Manhattan's Hudson Square neighborhood sees bike boom, installs more racks. (DNA Info)

Megabus is moving its Manhattan pickup site -- and doesn't have to pay rent. (DNA Info)

A map that replaces London Underground station names with anagrams is getting second life. You can get from Arcadian Noodle to Satan Dew, and you don't even have to transfer at Mind Eel!

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Problems Delay Debut of LA's Expo Line, Boca Raton Rolls Out Bike Paramedics, North Dakota Oil Boom Strains Housing

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top stories on TN:
New York’s Taxi Bill’s Long and Bumpy Ride (Link)
Maryland Moves Closer to Joining D.C. and Virginia in Capital Bikeshare Program (Link)
Hispanics Overrepresented in D.C. Area Pedestrian Deaths (Link)
DC Dangles Cash to Fight Congestion (Link)

Expo Station in Los Angeles (photo courtesy of

The opening date for Los Angeles's long-awaited Expo Line has been postponed several times, and technical problems continue to delay the light rail system's operation. (Los Angeles Times)

The New York Times test-drives possible reasons for the FAA's ban on electronic devices during takeoff and landing. Verdict: "The only reason these rules exist from the F.A.A. is because of agency inertia and paranoia.” (Link)

What started out as commuter rail will end up as bus service on highway shoulders in the Kansas City area. (Kansas City Star)

Oil towns in North Dakota have spawned a robust job market, but there aren't enough homes for all the workers. (Marketplace)

More on the intercity bus boom. (Slate)

In Madrid -- and maybe one day in the Bronx -- parks bloom where freeways once ruled. (New York Times)

Boca Raton (FL) started a bicycle paramedic program. (AP via New York Daily News)

London's subway drivers walked out over a pay dispute Monday, causing trouble for thousands of shoppers heading out for the start of Christmas sales. (BBC)

Fare hikes and service cuts are looming in 2012 as Massachusetts' transit system tries to erase a deficit. (AP via WBUR)

A Boston T employee is in hot water after programming the LED display signs in one station with the lyrics to "Deck the Halls." (Boston Globe)

The head of the New York City Council's Transportation Committee is considering a range of legislation aimed at regulating bicyclists. (New York Posts)

TN's Todd Zwillich is hosting The Takeaway this morning.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: NJ Transit Wants To Make Railroad Crossings -- And Bus Drivers -- Safer; Baltimore Revives Bike Share Plans

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The NY State Comptroller says railroad workers cheat Metro-North out of millions of dollars. (Link)

A Senate committee passed a two-year highway bill -- and now the political wrangling really begins. (Link)

An anti-tolling measure in Washington State narrowly failed. (Link)

Take a photo tour of 70 years worth of speedometers. (Link)

Railroad crossing in Elizabeth, NJ (photo by William Hartz via Flickr)

Toyota is recalling half a million cars for possible steering problems. (Detroit Free Press)

NJ Transit is trying to reduce fatalities at railroad crossings. (The Star-Ledger)

And: the agency is testing "security shields" to protect drivers from attack. (The Star-Ledger)

$1 billion doesn't buy you a lot of transit construction these days. (Atlantic Cities)

NY's MTA has given up asking passengers to be patient when there are subway delays. (NY1)

A ten-year renovation of Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza is now complete. (WNYC)

Baltimore is reviving plans for a bike share program. (Baltimore Brew)

The mayor of Los Angeles has been quietly assembling a plan to borrow 27 years worth of tax revenue and spend it repairing nearly one-fourth of the city's streets. (Los Angeles Times)

Strict fuel standards for cars could bring jobs to California. (KQED Climate Watch)

Duluth wants to become a bike trail mecca, and voters improved a tax increase to help fund that plan. (Duluth News Tribune)

Texas is debating whether to accept or reject a confederate flag license plate. (The Takeaway)

One entrepreneur has big plans for London's abandoned Tube stations. (BBC)

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Transportation Nation

Smile For London Uses Underground Art to Cheer Up Rush Hour

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Image: Westminster Tube Sign, (c) Transport for London 2005

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Video artists in London are making videos to cheer up commuters. The public art project Smile For London is collecting short films to play on Underground train platforms next month:

"From 17th January 2011, just at a time when Londoners are feeling the January blues and in need of a lift, we’ll be taking over the platform screens for two weeks on weekday mornings with a creative intermission; a programme of film, art and animation, exhibiting the best of London’s emerging and established artistic talent."

They specifically want videos that will make commuters smile, and the collection of entrants posted so far are a delightful diversion.

Video underground is novel, but not entirely new. New York City experimented with video inside subway cars earlier this year, but they did it for special sports advertising, not art. Several cities use projectors to play commercials, usually without sound. That's the technology in London, which inadvertently enabled this art project.

This open call for art comes in a medium mostly new to transit spaces. In fact Smile For London's call for submissions explicitly encourages innovation in video, asking artists "to create a twenty second silent piece of moving image with a view to pushing the boundaries of the medium," according to the website. This video seems meet that request based on the unusual lighting methods, though without the written technical explanation on the website, I wonder if commuters will appreciate the feat.

If you're feeling inspired, local London artists can submit films until December 15th. The rest of us can watch them here. My favorite, of about six randomly sampled, is this:

How snow is made from Amael Isnard on Vimeo.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: London's Underground Grinds to a Halt, PATH Trains A Bargain Alternative, and The Boss of HopStop

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Transport Politic does election analysis, says that "for advocates of alternative transportation, (it was) a difficult election day."

London subway workers go on strike for the third time in as many months. (AP)

New York City's transit court will soon provide translation services via telephone. This is a change from their current policy, in which "people who do not speak English are asked to bring a friend or family member who can translate." (New York Times)

The PATH train, at $1.75 a ride, is a bargain for New Yorkers who use it to avoid the MTA's higher fares. (New York Times)

The Guangzhou subway system is struggling to cope with an explosion in riders, as the system is free in advance of the Asian Games. (Global Times)

The Infrastructurist asks: where should ARC money go?  They have a couple of ideas.

Fast Company profiles the Springsteen-loving founder of HopStop.

San Francisco's population of computer workers has boomed in recent years--in part because employers like Google, eBay, Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook provide private shuttle buses to their suburban campuses.  "Like Google's buses, the Yahoo buses run on biodiesel, giving environmentally conscious employees another reason to feel good about their commute, besides comfortable seats, the cup holders and the Wi-Fi." (Silicon Valley Mercury-News)

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Studio 360

Design for the Real World: London Underground Map

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Chris Spurgeon explains the strange inaccuracies of an iconic map.