If you been following us for a while, you should know that I’m a subway geek/nerd. Being in London, do you really think I wouldn’t want to see where subways originally started. Of course, I’m going to geek out while taking the London tube. I probably looked very off to locals. Imagine seeing an overly excited person trying so hard to not look like a tourist but clearly is super excited like one.
Entering into the subway, you notice the difference. The subway carts were a lot smaller compared to the USA. I truly felt like a sardine in a can. It was small but somehow there was enough space to fit a lot of people. I understand why my British and European friends always say that everything is a lot bigger in the USA. I felt claustrophobic. That saying something because I live in NYC and enjoy taking subway rides. I can see where the stereotype of Americans being fat comes from. We like fast food and space. Truthfully, London’s tube is actually the smallest I have seen on my trips. Not sure if it is because countries now started to model their subway systems like the ones in New York and Washington D.C or the world likes their space as well.
One thing that really stood out to me was not seeing panhandlers and street performers on the tube/ underground. I tend to take that for granted while in New York and San Francisco. I mention SF and NYC because those are probably the two weirdest cities with the most activity on the subways in the USA. London’s underground almost felt like it lacked character. I know that probably sounded like something a hipster would say but it is true. Most places around the world don’t have handlers and street performers on the train carts. However, I was somewhat expecting this in London. Regardless, it was still a very surreal moment to be in London’s underground. I have seen it in movies and video games. However, seeing it in person is another experience.
The history of the underground is very interesting to fellow subway geeks like me. It started in 1863, the trains were run by steam. It reminded me of one of those old Disney cartoons where mickey mouse was on a steam train. The trains moved to electrified railways in 1890. New York City’s subway was modeled after London’s. It’s awesome to be able to see where the underground subways started. I can see why a lot of people really enjoy London.
Stay safe everyone and remember to wash your hands!
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When I went to London, I got on the Tube at the airport and instantly thought, “ok I see why they call it the tube, it’s small and I literally feel like I’m in a claustrophobic tube!”
lmao yes! i felt the same way. it was akward sitting down with my suitcase.
Thanks for this. I love traveling to London. The subway system is great. Stairs with the suitcase not withstanding.
Five days in London on a tour. Not nearly enough time. We opted to see the city without the help of Trafalgar Tours. The Underground was our mode of transportation. The journeys on the trains and buses was part experiencing London. Money better spent than an over priced car.
yes, exactly! i always think about that when traveling
Public transportation is always the best way to move around in other countries if you really want to live a couple of day like the locals…once in Rome do what the Romans do…isn’t it? An then, is there a better subway network than London?
Very interesting and informative post.
Interesting read, did you manage to go to the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden? has some great historical examples and vehicles from the early days of London Transport. You do get licensed musicians at busier times and intersections though at the moment they aren’t really operating there as footfall is reduced. Probably the nearest I’ve seen to NYC styles of hustlers was in Paris as you get a lot of wandering accordion players on the metro system there. Fun read though, always love seeing London from a visitors perspective.