Technology has changed the way we travel in London today. There were once thousands of horses in the city, pulling omnibuses and trams. The wheels were made from wood, unlike modern rubber ones, and different paint colours were used for different routes.
As the population of London increased, so did the size of buses and trains to allow for more people to be transported around the city. Competition also increased, and in 1933 London Transport was formed. This meant that buses, trams and the Underground were all managed by the same company. Today, this company is called Transport for London.
Innovations in engineering paved the way for the Underground to be built. The first trains ran on the Metropolitan line, which opened in 1893. Although many of the newer Tube lines are now deep underground, the first tunnels were built using a method called ‘cut and cover’. This is a type of construction where a trench is dug and then covered over, creating a tunnel below it.
Engineering also led to lifts and escalators being added to station. The first escalator opened in Earl’s Court in 1911. Today the longest escalator on theUnderground is at Angel station.
Over the history of London Transport, there have also been a number of major disasters. A fire at Kings Cross station in 1987 resulted in the death of 31 people. Although smoking had been banned a couple of years earlier, many people ignored the new rules. An inquiry found that the Kings Cross fire was most probably caused by a traveller discarding a burning match that fell down the side of an escalator.
The river has always been an important way for people to travel and for goods to be moved from one bank to the other. Tragedy struck in 1878 when a boat called the Princess Alice sank in the Thames. Around 600-700 people died. The accident led to more efforts being made to clean the river of sewage and pollution. Today, bridges and tunnels are used to transport goods instead.
By Kieran, Stuart, Dee and Yusaku