London Underground Geekness

london underground sign

Today the London Underground celebrates its 150th anniversary.  

The Tube combines all my geek thrills of tube journeys, maps and unusual facts and stats all rolled into one.  You can read how I fell in love with the London Underground over on my other blog but first I'd like to share some Tube Geekery with you to mark this auspicious occasion.

If you have a look at the tube map we are all use to looking at - originally styled by Harry Beck in 1931 - we can see how this layout has seen very little change.  Beck wanted to simplify and colour-code the original geographical maps because he believed that users of the service weren't interested in the geographical structure but wanted to know how to actually get from one part of the city to another by the quickest route.

Image Credit : TfL

If you compare this with a geographical map (which you can also see overlaid onto a satellite image here) you can see how Beck's idea made complete sense.  I wonder if Mark Mason (author of Walk The Lines) got the idea for his adventure from this map?

Image Credit : - "TfL silly maps"

Whichever way you look at the London Underground, it's an interesting subject - from the history to the now.  And it's one that I'm not alone in geeking out about.  Have a read of High Tea Cast Sam's recent tour of Aldwych Station and the really interesting website 150 Great Things About The Underground.  You can also browse the fantastically eerie London Underground Lover photoblog for unusual images of the modern network, corridors and platforms.  The two pictures here are ones that I have submitted - you can click on the images to get a closer look on their relevant page.

Westminster Tube StationCharing Cross Tube Station

To me the London Underground is art in motion.  The trains, the sounds, the people who jump on and off at each platform.  It is soaked in history and is also history in the making.  The LUL photoblog previously mentioned shows that you can find moments of calm within the madness, showing the Tube in its true glory.  The stories behind each station and platform, written about many times over, tell a tale that is as complex as the tunnels that connect the network.

What does the London Underground mean to you?

London Underground Google Doodle