How It Works
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When did the London Underground open and what was the first line?

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By the mid-19th century, London’s roads had become choked with traffic. Charles Pearson, the solicitor to the City of London, promoted a solution, which was to run a railway under the streets. The Metropolitan Railway opened on 10 January 1863 and became the world’s first underground railway. It used steam locomotives with special condensing engines designed to limit smoke in the tunnels.

Five years after the Metropolitan Line opened, the District Line joined up with it, creating the Circle Line. Next to arrive was the Northern Line in 1880, followed by the Waterloo & City Line.

The Central Line began operating in 1900 before the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Lines started taking passengers in 1906. Over half a century passed before the Victoria Line was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 1969, with the Jubilee becoming the latest addition in 1977.