Saturday, 14 January 2012

The story of the Victoria Line

Before I discovered canals I was interested in the London Underground. I always found it very exciting to travel on it, and once went all the way round the Circle Line just for fun! When I was in my early teens my grandparents lived in sheltered housing near New Cross Gate. On one visit to them I had a great time exploring the East London Line, travelling through the Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel under any navigable river (Wikipedia). I vowed one day to buy a Red Rover ticket and do as much of the system as possible. Somehow that never happened.

Now to the title of this post. I bought a couple of books from an Oxfam charity shop the other day, one of which was "The Story of the Victoria Line" by John R. Day, published by London Transport in 1969 (my copy reprinted 1971). The slim paperback is full of fascinating details of planning, problems and solutions - if only similar contemporaneous accounts existed of canal construction projects!

In some ways the London Underground seems similar to the canal network, in that the system grew from individual lines - each built to serve a particular need, and in competition with the others - rather than being planned as a whole.

The Victoria Line opened in 1969, the first Underground line to be built for 62 years. I'd love to be able to do a review as good as one of Captain Ahab's, but I can't. I have only just started reading the book, anyway!


Sarah said...

Have you come across this guy's blog(s) Halfie? Or indeed the concept of visiting every station on the tube network in the shortest possible time? Fascinating stuff.

Sarah said...

D'oh. It would help if I pasted in the link wouldn't it.

Halfie said...

Thanks Sarah, no, I hadn't seen that before. It seems to be somewhat easier - and quicker - to cover the whole Tube network compared with the inland waterways network. Perhaps I'll do the underground when I've done the waterways!

VallyP said...

Nice find! charity I miss them!