London spans over 1500 square kilometres, quite the area to travel around! This has meant that over the years, the city’s transport infrastructure has been embedded into the very fabric of the UK capital. Commuters, tourists and locals use the transport systems of London every day without thinking twice about their journey. But if you take a moment to really process it, the subterranean tunnels, the hundreds of miles of rail track and fluidity of the borough to borough transport really are an engineering feat to be marvelled at.
These systems take years, if not decades to perfect and are part of London’s long-cultivated personality. Whether you’re visiting Sussex Garden hotels for work or for holiday, the long history and architectural feats that make up the London transport network are worth getting to know, especially if you want to learn a little more about how the city was built. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the London transport system.
Deptford Train station
Deptford Train Station is thought to be the oldest of its kind in London. Dating back to 1836, it has become one of the most revered in the city, especially in the Greenwich area where it is based. The train station was the oldest passenger service in London and predates the London underground. With the popularity of Greenwich growing with suburban residence, the station endured and was the first part of the Greenwich Railway system, before being expanded into the larger network. Whilst the station might not be amazing to look at, the area of Greenwich is still very popular with tourists due to the amazing views from Greenwich Park, which also plays host to the Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum.
Euston Station was opened in 1837 as the historic terminus of the Birmingham to London Railway line. Originally designed by Philip Hardwick and famous builder William Cubitt, Euston Station’s original form is no longer present, it having been rebuilt in the mid-1960s’. The station itself has become one of the most used train stations in London, often being used as a gateway into the city for those on Central London hotel deals. Euston itself serves much of the North and the North West of England and is the proposed terminus for the new High speed 2 Project from London up through the midlands and into the North of the country.
Not only is London Bridge a historic train station, but a historic area of the city as well. With the bridge itself having had different incarnations back into the Roman era, London Bridge is home to the legendary Borough Market and Globe Theatre. It’s no surprise then, that the station serves many lines on the underground and many inner-city, suburban and national rail services.
The station itself has had a long history too, dating back to 1836. Originally designed with no roof, the station only had two platforms but has now expanded to 15.
Greenwich Railway station is one of the oldest in the city and the first suburban railway station. Serving three different transport lines, North Greenwich is on the Jubilee Line for the Underground and Greenwich station for the Dockland Light Railway service and National Rail. Dating back to 1838, Greenwich Station was originally based in Deptford but moved to Greenwich in a temporary station for two years. The station proper was opened in 1840 and designed by George Smith, still seen today as one of the best looking in London.
Though not as old as Greenwich, Deptford and Euston, Paddington Station still has a historic resonance for the city. Located in West London and just off of Hyde Park, the station is easy to reach for guests at Grand Royale London Hyde Park and serves Heathrow airport among much of the West of England.
Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1854, the station has become one of the most famous in London in part due to its affiliation with Paddington Bear int he 1950s’. With much redevelopment having occurred throughout the late 20th century in the broader Paddington area, it’s a testament to the sturdy design and striking arched hall that the station has retained much of its original shape and structure since the Victorian era.
Oldest tube lines in London
The London Underground opened in 1863 and is the oldest underground system in the world. With its first stretch having run between Paddington and Farringdon Street, the first line formed part of what is now the Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan underground lines. With such a long history, it’s no surprise that the London Underground network has grown to include just under 250 miles of track.
Oldest trains on the London Underground
The oldest trains that are still in service can be found on the Bakerloo Line, which runs between Harrow & Wealdstone in the North West and Elephant & Castle in the South. Dating back to 1972, the train carriages are known for their distinctive seating plans, which include designs much like those found in normal train services.
Museums and attractions
With such a history behind it, it’s no surprise to find that the London Underground and London rail service has been the subject of many museums across the city and in some cases the world. Below are just some of the railway focused museums.
London Transport Museum
Based in Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum is a museum that focuses on the history of transport in the city. From old tube carriages to Victorian horse-drawn carts, the museum was expanded in the year 2000 to not only cover the London Underground but to chart the many sides of public transport marvels in the UK capital.
Hidden London tours
Taking a focus on the many abandoned tube tunnels in the city, the Hidden London Tours takes visitors on a journey through the warrens of disused rail tunnels underneath the city. With abandoned stations and miles of tube lines, the tour takes visitors through areas that have since been used for filming movies such as James Bond and 28 Weeks Later.