The familiar London Underground "Roundel" (N.B. very copyright)



This reminds me of Red Stripe - something else I like very much.



Signalling Page 1 - Multi Aspect Signalling Signalling Page 1 - Multi Aspect Colour Light Signalling
Signalling Page 2 - Under Construction Signalling Page 2 -
Signalling Page 3 - Under Construction Signalling Page 3 -


A very short history of The London Underground:
(or The Tube as it is sometimes known as)

Once upon a time there were many separate independent railway companies in Great Britain.
London being the capital gave way to much trade and commerce and this necessitated a need to transport at first goods
but as time went on people also needed to travel around, into and out of London.

London has always been congested. Even as the city grew, so did the traffic.
To enable quick and safe transport across the capital, railways went underground.
On January 10th 1863 the world's first public passenger-carrying underground railway was opened.

The company was the "Metropolitan Railway Company"
and the line ran from Bishop's Road station (now Paddington) to Farringdon Street (now just Farringdon).
The length of the line was just 3� miles long but 26,500 passengers a day used this service in the first six months.
This line was constructed by the "cut-and-cover" method where first the road surface was removed.
Then "navvies" dug a trench ( or "Covered Way" to be correct ) 28 feet 6 inches wide
to a depth of between 29 feet and 59 feet from the surface to the rail level.
Into this they laid the track ( or "Permanent Way" to be correct ).
Click on the button below to see a diagram I drew that shows the stations then and now.

First underground passenger railway

The first "TUBE" or deep level railway was built under the River Thames by the "Tower Subway Company".
This was a single line which ran between Great Tower Hill and Vine Street - a length of 1,350 feet.
Cable haulage powered by two 4 h.p. engines was used to operate a single car 10 feet long.
This line was formally opened on August 2nd 1870 and closed a few months later due to
mechanical problems when it was then converted into a toll subway for pedestrians.

The first electric tube railway was built by the "City of London & Southwark Subway Company".
This ran from Stockwell in South London to King William Street just north of the River Thames.
The motive power was 500V d.c. collected through cast-iron shoes from the third rail.
This line opened to the public on December 12th 1890 under a new title, the
"City and South London Railway".
King William Street station closed February 2nd 1900 when the line was extended from Borough to Moorgate.
Click on the button below to see a diagram I drew that shows the stations then and now.

First passenger electric tube railway

Eventually there were many railway companies small and large operating train services underground and overground.
It became very difficult to calculate costs with so many companies involved. There was no standardisation of fares.
So in 1933 parliament decided to form a governing body for passenger carrying transportation in London.
This body was formed on July 1st 1933 and called the
"London Passenger Transport Board".
Soon the initials
L.P.T.B. were to be seen everywhere.

On January 1st 1948 the railways of Great Britain were nationalised and control passed to the
newly formed
"British Transport Commission" with the "London Transport Executive"
being the new body accountable for all the original
L.P.T.B. railways in London:
The Waterloo & City line remaining under British Railways.
The Familiar
L.P.T.B. initials gave way to the new L.T.E.

In 1963 the then Minister of Transport called for the co-ordination of London Transport and British Railways
activities in the London area by means of a "Passenger Committee for London".
British Railways was renamed the
"British Railway Board" and the
"London Transport Executive" was renamed the "London Transport Board".
However it reverted back to the
"London Transport Executive" in 1970
when political control passed to the Greater London Council.

In June 1984 control reverted to the government and "London Regional Transport" was set up.
"London Underground Limited" was formed as a subsidiary of L.R.T. on April 1st 1985.
"London Regional Transport" is also responsible for the provision of bus services in the
Greater London area and for the "Docklands Light Railway".
Click on the button below to see a flow chart I drew.

London Regional Transport

L.U.L. or London Underground is how the underground is known today but
what happens after privatisation of the underground is anyone's guess.
The Millennium beckons us towards it.

It is 2001 and already we have had a name change.
I now work for "The New London Underground Company BCV".
(BCV = Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines)
A subsidiary of the
"London Transport Authority".
Many departments of
London Underground are already privatised.
We, the Control Grades, are poised ready for the downhill slide.
Now though we wait in anticipation; hopeful that the new Mayor of London will come to our aid.
With a bit of luck and hindsight someone may remember that Nationalisation cured most of the early problems.
Do Londoners really want to return to the 1940s way of running railways?
Just look what has happened to the bus service in and around London since deregulation.
Wait and see. That is all we can do.

Well, it is now Christmas 2002 and I now work for TfL (Transport for London).
Privatisation now looks set for next year (2003) with all the problems that it will bring.
I genuinely feel sorry for the travelling public for what they are about to receive from the tube of the future.
I honestly think that we have now gone from the most extensive and advanced underground railway in the world to the "pits".
I apologise if I sound like I am preaching "doom and gloom" but I see the inside picture as well as the public one!
Let us all hope that I am wrong in my assumptions as I am only one man with one vision.

On Tuesday 31st December 2002 (New Years Eve) the first half of PPP (Tube Privatisation) was signed.
Tube Lines" consortium are now responsible for the maintenance and upgrade of the JNP for the next 30 years.
Tube Lines" consortium consists of AMEY PLC, JARVIS PLC & BECHTEL.
JNP = Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines)
Apparently £1.6 million a day is to be invested in the three lines.
Metronet" consortium is expected to takeover the rest of the Tube system within weeks.

metronet.gif (2474 bytes)

Well well, April 2003 and "Metronet" has now taken over the BCV and SSL sections of LUL.
BCV = Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines)
(SSL = District, Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City and East London lines)
I now work for Thames Water? Well I suppose it helps if your company is going down the drain.
No no, only joking (need my job). Let us all give them a chance. You never know!

The last few years have seen some bad times for the "Underground" and this is not the place to talk about them.
The media has said all that there is to say regarding those events so I will not.

August 2005 was a milestone for Signal Operators and Controllers.
There used to be 2 sections in the Operating Department - Trains and Stations.
If your work was in no way connected to stations then you were in the Trains section.
That included Train Operators, Signal Operators, Duty Managers and all Control Room staff.
In August 2005 however the "Service Control" section was born which includes Signal Operators,
Duty Line Managers, Signal Control Centre Assistants, Service Controllers and Service Managers.
Now those that actually control the operation of the daily timetable are all under one banner.

 January 1st 2006 was a great day for me personally - I was promoted to Service Manager.
We still work for LUL, which is part of TfL but still ever so slightly independent - not bad considering the earlier rumours.
Things have settled down now with the "infracos" running almost all supporting departments.
Strangely, there are no "Train Operating Companies" within LUL yet unlike National Rail.
Nor are any stations owned by rich people as was suggested after the millennium.
So train crews and station staff all still under the LUL banner ( thank goodness ).
All in all the "tube" appears to be doing pretty well at the moment.
No, that is not the company man speaking, or is it ???

2007 is here and I still have a job as a Service Manager - will wonders never cease.
"Wood Lane" new station opened on the Hammersmith & City line
and "Shepherd's Bush" was renamed to "Shepherd's Bush Market".
This was apparently to save confusion between it and the Central line station.

London Underground took control of the following stations from National Rail:
Queen's Park to Harrow & Wealdstone (Bakerloo line) inclusive,
Kew Gardens & Gunnersbury (District line),
The North London Railway platforms at Blackhorse Road, Highbury & Islington and West Brompton.

Now that WAS something unexpected.

2009 and still hanging on as a Service Manager on the Central line.

Where did 2008 go - time just flies by when you're having fun.

So much for PPP, "
Metronet" as fallen foul to it.
TfL have re-absorbed "Metronet" into it's bosom and they are no more.
Tube Lines" seem to be doing alright at the moment - time will tell however.
Oh yes and the new "
S" stock has made is first outing.
Looking GOOD !!!

June 2010 and we have just heard the Emergency Budget by the CON / LIB coalition.
Allegedly Tube Lines are on the brink of collapse and may soon be reabsorbed by TfL (LUL).
It does not sound too good for the rest of us either with fares going up and pay frozen for 2 years.
On a high note the Olympics are just 2 years away and there is much to be done if we are to become
A World Class Underground Railway for the World Class Olympic Games (sorry for the alteration).
Seriously, it can and will be done - believe me "You ain't seen nothing yet"!
When the Underground pulls out all the stops it does it in style.

Well well, 2011 and Tube Lines have been bought out by Transport for London.
Metronet appear to be doing well but how long will they stay independent?
Could this be the start of the end for PPP?

It is June 2012 and I have finally decided to call it a day and retire from The Underground.
The Olympics are coming in a few months and I want to be a long way from the front by then.
I will have worked 44 years for London Underground ( London Transport as it was when I joined ).
I have had a grand time and I owe the company everything for allowing me to live the lifestyle I have.
I have made many friends, and I expect a few enemies too, since joining The Underground way back in 1968.
I have seen many changes in my time - especially the many new Rolling Stocks that have appeared.
Also the closing of many Signal Cabins and Boxes together with the opening of new Control Centres.
There is much more to come on The Underground - driverless trains for a start.
Not like the Victoria and Central lines where trains drive themselves but
more like the D.L.R. where there is no driver and maybe even no cab.
Computers have taken over the Signalling for over 25 years now.
The next step is for computers to take over the controlling.
Now that will be an interesting feat of programming.
I look forward to the future with excitement.

2013 and the London Olympics have been and gone.
I understand from old colleagues that they went off without a hitch - I knew they would.
London Underground is celebrating 150 years of operation - part of me wishes that I had been there for that.
I had to buy the celebration 150 badge and the Olympics badge - what a cheek. Bought the two special £2 coins as well.
Still I did have a trip on the Emirates Air Line this month. That is the Cable Car over the River Thames.
It is a fantastic ride with a wonderful view of London from a very long way up in the air.
Crossrail is the next big thing for London but that is quite a few years away.
I also hear that the
Northern line may be extended south at last.
I cannot wait to see these achievements.

Hello to 2014 with the Olympics now behind us and the Northern line extension being planned for real.
( Kennington to either Battersea or Clapham depending on the opposition and the cost )
Crossrail is going ahead full speed but it looks like HS2 ( High Speed line 2 ) is in trouble.
Already the all important link just outside Camden between HS1 and HS2 has been abandoned.
This means there will be no through trains from the North of England and Scotland to the Continent - a real let down.
On the Underground it looks definate that all Ticket Offices will now close for sure.
Okay if you have an Oyster Card but hard luck for cash payers and tourists.
It will not be long before cash is gone and we all live electronically.
Maybe I will live to see that futuristic day and maybe I will not.

2015 will be remembered as the year that All Night Running nearly came into being.
Some of the problems were (and still are at present) the proposed lack of Engineering Time.
Staff need to have access to the track to perform maintenance to the track and the signalling system.
If trains are to run all night then when will these staff be able to carry out their essential work.
Of course the age old monster also raises it's head again - everyone needs money.
If there is to be a change in conditions then more money will need to flow.
Oh well I suppose we will just have to wait and see.

2016 is now here and still the tube does not run through the night.
Also nearly all the Booking Offices have now been closed.
Remember someone saying this would not happen?
Only time will tell whether this action was a good idea or not.
Yet another move towards the 'Electronic Age' where cash will be outdated.
Well there you go I spoke too soon - August 19th and the Night Tube has commenced.
0030 to 0500 every Saturday and Sunday morning (that is Friday and Saturday nights to most people).

10 minute service between White City and Leytonstone.
20 minute service between Ealing Broadway and White City.
20 minute service between Leytonstone and Loughton or Hainault.
NOTE: No Night Service between West Ruislip and North Acton nor Loughton and Epping nor Woodford and Hainault.

10 minute service across the entire line.

10 minute service across the entire line.

8 minute service between Morden and Camden Town via the Charing Cross branch.
15 minute service between Camden Town and High Barnet or Edgware.
NOTE: No Night Service on either the Bank branch or the Mill Hill East branch.

10 minute service between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 4.
NOTE: No Night Service between Uxbridge and Acton Town nor on the Terminal 4 Loop.


Rainbowtastic man

Links to two other Railway Organisations you may be interested in below:

Cravens Heritage Trains run preserved 1960 Tube Stock (known as Cravens units)
on special trips on the London Underground ( The Tube ) while

Epping Ongar Railway have taken over the line between Epping and Ongar running
both Steam and Diesel trains on special days between North Weald and Ongar
plus a shuttle service into the forest between North Weald and Coopersale.

C.H.T. the 1960 Tube Stock preservation society


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