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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Been on the tube/metro/subway lately?

Then you have this chap to thank. James Henry Greathead (the original bighead!) was the chief engineeer of the City and South London Railway and inventor of the travelling shield. This was the device that permitted the deep underground tunnels to be dug. Here is a Wikipedia article on them - you will see that most tunnels built today are still loosely based on his design. When? Well, the first line opened in 1890. I'm not certain I'd enjoy a steam train running deep underground, but that's what they did.

He lives these days near Bank, at the top of Cornhill.

posted by Ham at 00:07 -- Comments here: 3

Comments on "Been on the tube/metro/subway lately?"


Blogger Peter said ... (22:21) : 

I think you'll find that by the time they were opening the "tube" tunnels the trains were electric and not steam. Steam was only used in the "Underground" (cut and cover lines). As I understand it, the steam trains were forbidden from emmiting smoke or steam in the tunnels and were fitted with condensers to turn the steam back to water. Open cuttings were provided where they could discharge smoke and steam (see Leinster Gardens for an intersting example).


Blogger Ham said ... (07:38) : 

Thanks, Pete. Now If only I'd had some kind of useful reference book... ;-)


Blogger Annie Mole said ... (06:12) : 

I never knew that about Greathead but fully agree with Leinster Gardens and also blogged that

Nice pictures though Ham!


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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile