The London Underground

The London Underground

Several of our recent posts make reference to the London Underground and personal security when utilising it. However, when advising on security and the tube it’s worth remembering how old the London underground system is.

It is the world’s first underground railway which opened in 1863, as a way of reducing street congestion. 1863 was before both Disraeli (1874) and Gladstone (1892), in the middle of the American Civil war (1861-65) and it predates the establishment of Germany (1871).

The journey of the first Tube train took place on 9 January 1863. It was designed by Marc Brunel (Isambard Kingdom’s father) and was the first tunnel ever to be built under a navigable river. The system’s first tunnels were built just below the ground, using the ‘cut-and-cover’ method; later, smaller, roughly circular tunnels—which gave rise to its nickname, ‘the Tube’ were dug through at a deeper level.

The system serves 272 stations and has 250 miles (402 km) of track. When it opened in 1863 it ran between Paddington and Farringdon serving six intermediate stations. The newest stations form part of Northern Line Extension – Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station which opened, 20 Sept 21 – it has been classed as the first major tube extension this century. The Elizabeth Line will open this month, May 24th, making it the newest Tube line – It will stretch more than 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west through central tunnels across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The new railway built by ‘Crossrail Ltd.’ will stop at 41 accessible stations (10 of them new) and is expected to serve around 200 million people each year. After 10 years and £19 billion, it’s set to change the city forever.

Today, during the morning and evening rush hours, there are more than 543 Tube trains zooming around the capital at any one time. Up to five million people use the Tube every day, with London Waterloo Station being the busiest, seeing in excesses of 100million passengers per year. The longest continuous tunnel measuring 17.27 miles (27.8km) runs from East Finchley to Morden on the Northern line via Bank

One of the most extraordinary features of the Underground’s history is the extent to which it has been populated by ‘crooks and charlatans’. The opening of the first line, the Metropolitan, was held up because money set aside for its construction was embezzled by one Leopold Redpath who was one of the last convicts to be transported to Australia. Today, Euston Underground Station has the highest crime rate with 350 crimes recorded at or near the hub, there were 246 crimes at or near Oxford Circus Underground Station and a further 245 crimes at or near Kings Cross/St Pancras Underground Station.

As we always say, here at VALKYRIE (GB) LIMITED – be vigilant and always consider your personal safety.

Valkyrie Updates


Stay informed with the latest insights, expertise and innovations in the world of security with Valkyrie’s news, reports and white papers