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The Tube: An Underground History

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In 2013, London Underground is 150 years old. The world’s first underground railway is spending its anniversary year celebrating its own history. They’re sending a steam train back underground, and there’s a Royal visit to prepare for. On The Tube, history is everywhere – it’s down every tunnel, in every sign and design, and in the lives of the unsung people who built it, and run it today.

This programme tells the story of the underground through the eyes of the people who work for it. Farringdon station supervisor Iain MacPherson reveals why his station – the original terminus – was constructed in the 1860s, and recalls the dark days of Kings Cross in the 1980s. Piccadilly line driver Dylan Glenister explains why every Edwardian station on his line has its own unique tiling pattern, and how, in the 1930s, the construction of new stations expanded the borders of London. And there’s Head of Design and Heritage, Mike Ashworth, whose predecessor pioneered the art of branding in the 1920s, and Customer Service Assistant Steve Parkinson, who was part of a wave of new recruits from the Caribbean in the 50s.

With privileged access to disused stations and rare archive footage, this is The Tube’s hidden history, revealing why it was first built and how it has shaped London ever since.