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Fancy a ride?

The days of two buses coming along at once could be over, at least in London. By Vanessa Knivett.

London’s public transport system has, arguably, one of the longest and most illustrious of histories. Its origins lie with in the commencement of the first bus service in 1829 and the opening of the first stage of the Underground Railway running between Paddington and Farringdon in January 1863.
The embryonic Metropolitan line has developed into what is now the largest underground system in Europe at 259miles long. And, remarkably, the overground and underground rail infrastructure created mostly by our Victorian forebears is still providing the basis for the mass transport of city dwellers and commuters alike in a city which has grown dramatically since the turn of the last century.
Prior to the 1930s, different operators were responsible for different train, underground and bus routes. In 1933, the London Passenger Transport Board was created to bring the Underground Group, the Metropolitan Railway and all the municipal and independent bus and tram lines under one organisation, and provide the transport system as it is known today.
It was also the catalyst for an expansion of the network – the 1935 to 1940 New Works plan. The outbreak of World War II, however, put ‘the works’ on hold and it wasn’t until the Victoria Line and Piccadilly Line extensions in the 1970s that another major phase of construction of London’s transport system began.

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Vanessa Knivett

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