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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Travelling by Tube: Sepia Saturday

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt photograph showing a man 's profile  superimposed on  a street view, had me thinking of:  photo effects (nothing);   men’s hats (already done that);  architectural domes (didn’t inspire me);  so that left the subway.

I decided to take  a brief look at the history of underground transport in cities that I have visited.  What would your ancestors have thought in experiencing the early days of subwz travel? 

London - Tube or Underground
Paris - Metro 
Munich - U-Bahn or Untergrundbahn
Boston and New York - Subway, 
Washington DC - Metro
Glasgow - Subway

All names for the same mode of fast city transport in cities around the world. I have been on them all, but at the time I never thought to take photographs of them, apart from a few station signs. So many of the images here are from the free site - https://.pixabay.com. 

LONDON built the world’s first underground railway which opened in 1863 with gaslit wooden carriages, pulled by a steam locomotive.  Access to the deep platforms was originally by lifts, with the first escalator installed in 1911.  During the Second World War, the underground system was used extensively as air raid shelters. The newest, and the 11th line , the Jubilee opened in 1979,  named in honourof  the Queen’s Silver Jubilee,two years earlier.  The iconic Underground diagrammatic map,  was designed by Harry Beck in 1931. 

Metro Sign London Station Westminster Tran

Underground London Transport Subway Statio 

People sheltering in the tube  stations
during the air raids of the London blitz in World War Two. 

 PARIS - the Metro s first line opened  during the World Fair, held in the city in  1900.    Its distinctive station entrances were built in the Art Noveau style.

Casal Bike Metro Paris Metropolitan Paris 

I am sitting here against the mural at Bastille Metro Station
 resting my weary legs after sightseeing. 

The Bastille Metro  Station pays homage to French history, notably events of 1789. In the centre of this picture is patriot Marianne, wearing the Revolutionary tricolour cockade in her cap. The origins of Marianne  are obscure, but she became a prominent national symbol in France, a personification of the new Republic, with its principles of Liberty and  Reason.  Statues of Marianne appear across France at civic buildings  and law courts and her image features on French euro notes and postage stamps.

U-Bahn.svgMUNICH -  The U-Bahn in the ciy opened in 1971, ahead of   the Olympic Games being  held in the city.  The network has expanded rapidly since then, with currently eight lines. 

Within, Company, Horizontal, Modern

Enjoying a drink in a Munich beer garden 

BOSTON  - The Subway, known locally as “The T”, short for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. began operating in 1897,making it the oldest system in the USA - and users would say you can tell, as many regard it as  noisy, shabby and rickety. It has five lines - Red, Green,  Blue, Orange and Silver - unimaginative names, perhaps, but easily  identifiable.

Massachusetts State House in Boston. 

 Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. 
with the subway station in the centre of the photograph  -1965.

NEW YORK  Subway opened in 1904 and soon became America's largest system. 

Subway Subway Station New York Manhattan M

 Broadway, 1965, with the photogperah showing signs of its age.

WASHINGTON D.C. - The Subway, know as the Metro is  the newest of the systems featured here, opening  in 1976.  The award winning designs reflect the style of late 20th  century architecture.   The network has grown to include six lines, 91 stations, and 118 miles (190 km) of route. 

Perhaps the station name attracting the most attention of tourists (like myself) was the quaintly named Foggy Bottom.  It took me a long time to discover what the initials GWU stood for on its full name   - obvious when you do find out - it is the station for the nearby George Washington University in the Georgetown area of Washington. 

Looking towards the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Monument

Glasgow Subway.svgGLASGOW  - The Subway opened in 1896 making it one of the oldest  systems in the world. .  Other claims to fame - it is the only system that runs fully underground, and the only such one  in the UK  outside London.  It runs on a circular route with an outer and an inner circle.  Colloquially, it is sometimes referred to as the Clockwork Orange.  

 Glasgow City Chambers, Glasgow, City
 George Square, Glasgow with the imposing City Chambers in the background.


Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity 
to share their family history through photographs.
Travel to HERE to see what has inspired other Sepia Saturday bloggers.


  1. I've only been on Boston and New York trains...how really interesting that you knew about (or researched) all these other cities. Thanks!

  2. Nice world tour of subways. I could write a book about the NYC Subway System and the massive delay problems we are having these days...but when it works properly, it's still a great way to get around and an impressive system. Love the photo of the Bastille subway station mural!

  3. At the end of June I was briefly in London for a few days with my family. We only went on the underground twice but I noticed some changes from when I lived there in the 80s. No more cardboard tickets; no smoking anywhere; no windows - closed or open - in the carriage but instead real air conditioning; no books, newspapers, or even conversation - just mobiles and ear buds. But happily the tradition of "Mind the Gap" still continues.


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