Suburban Electric Railway Association      
Located at the COVENTRY ELECTRIC RAILWAY CENTRE, Rowley Road, Baginton, Warwickshire           


The History Zone

Electrifying London

The development of the network of lines run around and under London and to-day managed by London Underground Limited, but popularly known as 'The Tube' is a story that dates back to the late 1880s.

Two inventions made the development of london's underground railways possible. The first was the Barlow/Greathead method of tunneling whereby a metal shield was driven into the earth and the earth removed from within it, as the shield was driven further forward the resulting hole was lined with cast iron segments to form a stable tunnel. this method of tunnel construction was the basis for all London's deep level railways and gives it it's nickname of 'The Tube'.

The second innovation was the development of the electric train. London had subsurface railways as early as 1863 which ran in 'cut and cover' tunnels just below street level. the trains were steam hauled and despite the use of condensing apparatus on the locomotives this form of traction gave rise to highly sulphurous conditions which were not well appreciated by Londoners.

With the arrival of electric trains which were pollution free and new deep level tunneling London was a prime candidate for a public transport revolution.

  1. The Early Years

  2. The Surface Lines
  3. The Yerkes Era
  4. UERL Extensions
  5. Early Tube Stock 1903-1933
  6. Early District Electric Stock
  7. MetroLand
  8. The Great Northern & City / East London Line
  9. New Works Extensions
  10. New Works Stock
  11. Post War Developments