Where and when was the subway invented?

Posted on Jan 12, 2021      91

The subway is rail transport with tracks running away from the streets, most often underground.

The first subway line was built in London (Great Britain). It was only 3.6 km long and was launched January 10, 1863. It was built by “Metropolitan Railway” company, which means. From this name came the word “subway”, which is used to this day in many countries.

Who came up with the idea to run trains underground and why it was needed?

By the middle of XIX century traveler could get from London’s stations almost anywhere in England. But within the city itself people moved mainly by horse and carriage. Railway routes to London did not reach the principal business and shopping center of the city. There were no convenient ways to get from one station to another.

In 1843, under the direction of Isambard Brunel, a tunnel under the Thames was opened. This discovery proved the convenience and reliability of the underground railroad. And then London’s solicitor Charles Pearson in 1846 made a proposal to lay underground lines connecting the city’s major railway stations. In 1853, the North Metropolitan Railway Co. was created, and in January 1860 the first tunnel was dug in Easton Square.

The first subway line had 7 stations, and the trip lasted 33 minutes. The cars had gas lighting, which the Daily Telegraph reported was so bright you could easily read a newspaper. On the opening day 6 locomotives pulling 4 cars each left every 15 minutes and made 120 round trips and carried 30,000 passengers during that time. Convenience of transportation exceeded all expectations, and in the same 1863 was built in London, a ring line length of 30 km. It opened on 1 October 1868 and intersected with the first branch at South Kensington station. Thus for the first time it became possible to transfer from one underground line to another.

At first the trains were pulled by steam locomotives running on coke (coal). That is why the trains spit out puffs of sulfur smoke in the tunnel. On November 4, 1890, steam traction was replaced by electric traction.

At first, people used elevators to go down the subway, but with the invention of the escalator in 1911, the number of elevators decreased. One escalator could replace five elevators. Escalators put an end to the queues in London Underground stations.

A second subway was opened in New York City in 1868. It was an elevated line, but the first elevated sections didn’t survive and were replaced by underground ones.