Saturday, January 15, 2005


Down the Tubes

The Guardian reviews Christian Wolmar's The Subterranean Railway, pronouncing it a splendid introduction to the mysteries of the Tube. It also reveals why it is that the damn Tube always closes down at night:

It becomes clear from reading it that the faults of the system were built into it from the moment the first sod was turned.... lack of capital meant that the lines were not built large enough (this is why the underground shuts down at night; if London's system had allowed for four tracks instead of two, like in New York, the trains could run at night on some tracks while engineers worked on others).

It'll make a nice companion to Richard Trench's old standby guide London Under London, which includes odd bits on the sewer systems and bank vaults -- including what they found in some Victorian safe deposit boxes (women's knickers, rather curiously) when one old vault got flooded.

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