In 2013 London Underground celebrated its 150th anniversary, the world’s first metro system, with the first trains running on the Metropolitan Railway in January 1863. Intended to relieve congestion in a rapidly growing London, the ‘Met’ was carrying 12 million passengers per annum within two years.
This image from the Builder (1861) shows the Met in the final stages of construction looking east towards King’s Cross. Engineered by Sir John Fowler, who was also one of the designers of the Forth Railway Bridge, this section of the line was built by the cut-and-cover method. Branching off to the left is the very short-lived ‘Maiden Lane Curve’ running to the east side of King’s Cross mainline station allowing the Great Northern Railway to run directly through to Paddington.
Article by Jonathan Makepeace, Imaging Services Manager, British Architectural Library, RIBA
Image: Junction at King's Cross of the Metropolitan and Great Northern Railways, London. © RIBA Library Photographs Collection