This is it! The big day! 7th March 1969 when the Victoria Line really came into the world. On this day fifty years ago the Queen rode the new automated trains and officially opened the new line in a ceremony at Victoria station. There are 150 images on view. That’s fifty times three… 50 images for each of the three stages of the Victoria Line. Nearly all the images in this special feature are embeds from Twitter, with a handful from Flickrs & others. There’s everything that could be thought of! This special feature is obviously one of the longest blog posts in the world – though no records are being sought to be broken!
What would we do without the Victoria Line? Source: Twitter
**Before we start, please note this blog is not responsible for any of the images. These are all embedded and none are hosted on the blog.
Despite my saying there were 150 images on this post the number’s crept up in the first few days of March 2019 with new tweets available. Currently its 164! Printing the entire page will entail 109 pages in total 🙂
First, the Royal Opening 7th March 1969:
The Queen seems in sombre mood as she descends the escalator at Green Park. Source: Twitter
A few seconds later she’s clearly very happy, perhaps the man besides her had made a joke to lighten the day’s proceedings somewhat. Source: Twitter
The Queen is about to start the official proceedings of V Day 7th March 1969 by pressing the buttons for the train to commence its journey. Source: Twitter
About to press the buttons and off she goes! Source: Twitter
The Queen smiles as the train is about to head towards Oxford Circus. Source: Twitter
The Queen rides the Victoria Line from Oxford Circus to Victoria. Is there a voyeur on board I wonder? Source: Twitter
Another view of the Queen – this time without that LT guy popping his head through the cab door lol! Source: Twitter
Things are certainly quite jovial as the Queen makes her way to Victoria to officially announce the new line open before going on to a special luncheon to celebrate the occasion. Source: Twitter
Another view of the tube carriage’s jovial proceedings. Source: Twitter
Today’s bonus video from the London Transport Museum!…
Todays bonus tweet from Michael Horne!
LT’s special notice for the ‘Royal Trains’ operation. Published 25th February 1969 – which shows how far ahead planning was! Source: Twitter
Cover of commemorative Victoria Line book showing us how the new tube carefully avoided the Queen’s own basement! Source: Twitter
The Queen mentioned at the official opening on 7th March the construction of the Victoria Line had been ‘almost a domestic undertaking.’ Great interest had been shown by the Royal family as the new tube’s construction took place so close to the palace itself.
There was a small access shaft opposite the palace thus the Royals could see work being undertaken on the new line.
The original article. Used on the ‘Royal’ tube train! Source: Twitter
A nice recreation of the original V Day sign at Walthamstow pumphouse. Source: Twitter
This official picture of TfL’s recent refurbishment/enlargement of the Victoria Line ticket hall shows the plaque unveiled by the Queen on 7th March 1969 is restored to public view. Source: Flickr
Back in time to the days before the Victoria Line was born….
The Victoria Line as it originally looked in 1904! This is the southbound platform at Finsbury Park which was reused for the Victoria Line. The tiled ceiling seen in this picture is still evident today. Source: Harringay Online
Exhibition on the proposed Victoria Line 1957. Source: Twitter
Reconstructed 1957 Beck tube map from the above exhibition showing how the line was first presented – in Deep Purple – its a case of Come Taste the Line! As I have extolled elsewhere the original route was Wood Street to Victoria. Source: Twitter
Report on the proposed Victoria Line by the London Travel Committee for Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation. This was published in the summer of 1959. Source: Twitter
By this time they had begun work on the Victoria Line. This was two years before any of the main work began and involved an experimental section of tunnel east of Finsbury Park – later used as a running tunnel for the new tube. The following view looks down the new yet unfinished Netherton Road shaft….
One of the line’s earliest construction shafts at Netherton Road – later to be used as a ventilation shaft. December 1960. Source: Twitter
One of Harry Beck’s last tube map drafts drawn in 1961 for LT. It shows the new Victoria Line very cleverly drawn in a completely straight line – with substantial other alterations undertaken to achieve this. LT rejected Beck’s design and wouldn’t hire him anymore. Other quirks in this design include the Northern Line branches south of Camden. Source: Tumblr
Some things never change. One reason for the Victoria Line was to relive congestion at Oxford Circus tube. This is a 1962 scene with crowds trying to enter the tube station. Despite the Victoria Line being built the huge crowds haven’t gone away! Source: Twitter
As soon as the Victoria Line was officially approved in August 1962, London Transport immediately went to work to produce new Underground maps for its stations (though not pocket maps) showing the proposed Victoria Line. It was probably an attempt to exorcise the name of Harry Beck for all we know… These new look maps were released towards the end of 1962.
The inclusion of the new tube as a dotted blue line without any explanation only served to confuse a lot of people who thought there was indeed a new tube line between Walthamstow and Victoria, and people were actually trying to use or find that route!
In early 1963 due to a lot of complaints that this new 1962 map was misleading London Transport was forced to make numerous small stickers with the legend ‘Victoria Line under construction’ making it absolutely clear the new line could not be used because it hadn’t even been built!
1963 Poster illustrating the new station to be built at Oxford Circus. (See the Euston example below for a later version of this style.) The text on the poster read: “An artist’s impression of the new station, showing how the Victoria Line will run in relation to the Bakerloo and Central Lines and how interchange will be made between the three lines….The work is expected to take about six years to complete.” The poster was republished in the Illustrated London News for 21 November 1964. Source: Twitter
Constructing the Oxford Circus umbrella. The first girder goes in 3rd August 1963. Source: Twitter
Constructing the Oxford Circus umbrella August 1963. Source: Brunel University
The famous Oxford Circus umbrella. Source: Twitter
Constructing the tunnels:
A Victoria Line station under construction. Source: Twitter
More construction work! Apparently this is Oxford Circus. Source: Twitter
In those days there was no safety equipment of any sort. Even the supervisors can be seen wearing bowler hats! (See the second image on this page for example.) Conditions were so hot in some places the workers had to toil shirtless. Source: Twitter
Another Victoria Line construction picture this time October 1964. Source: Twitter
Lots of workers using good old picks, shovels, and loads of manual labour October 1964 again. Source: Twitter
The bit where the southbound Victoria Line passes from the ‘Big Tube’ to its nominally sized tunnel after Finsbury Park. Source: Twitter
One of the 1904 tunnels at Highbury which was reused for the Victoria Line. Source: Twitter
Work underway to divert the Piccadilly Line in 1965. Its trains would be re-routed to the platforms alongside the southbound Victoria Line. The northbound Victoria Line would use the Piccadilly’s former southbound platform. This view shows the old line, now on a temporary trestle, south of Finsbury Park. The new line is on the extreme right. Source: Harringay Online
Progress on the new tube’s ticket hall takes place at Victoria bus station, prob 1965. Note the old Wilton Road entrance then under construction. This was replaced by a new one in 2018. Source: Ground Engineering
Working towards an operational line:
1967 tube stock mock up at Acton works. Source: Leon Daniels Blog
Mock up carriage for the proposed new line. This was shown at an exhibition in the Design centre, Haymarket, on the planning and construction of the Victoria Line, which ran from August to September 1968. Source: Twitter
Building the 1967 tube stock. Source: Twitter
Putting the finishing touches to the new 1967 tube stock. Source: Twitter
Official LT Victoria Line 1967 stock postcard. Note the pick up coil housing in front of the leading bogie. Taken at Ruislip LT depot. Source: HipPostcard
Another view in the series they took that day. The car number is 3001! Also
at Ruislip LT depot. Source: Twitter
Here’s that first picture again – for comparison! The pick up coil is how the automatic trains got their instructions. Source: Twitter
Victoria Line four car train on the ATO Hainault shuttle at Woodford siding. Source: Twitter
1967 stock on the Hainault shuttle. Source: Twitter
1967 stock on the Hainault shuttle – and its time for a cuppa! Source: Twitter
How they diverted the Northern in order to build the Victoria Line at Euston! Source: Wikipedia
In October 1967 the new Euston tube station opened complete with Victoria Line escalators and platforms. The Northern Line’s Bank platform was built in the Victoria Line style (see my post on this) thus people had more than a year’s preview of what the new tube would look like! Source: PicClick
Cut away drawing of the new Oxford Circus tube station. Source: Twitter
Preparing the new escalators. These were originally dual speed – it means they slowed to a crawl unless people were actually using them. Source: Twitter
March 1968 and it was being planned the Victoria Line should open 3rd September 1968. It was eventually switched to the 1st September AND the first train was at 07.32am. Source: Twitter
Leaflet on the new tube before it opened 1st September 1968. Source: Twitter
The new Victoria Line ticket hall became operational late summer 1968 in advance of the new line’s opening. (This wasn’t the earliest such example – the new Euston tube station opened in 1967.) Source: Twitter
Victoria Line beset by damp problems before opening. Note the announcement the first train would be at 07.32am. Source: Twitter
Another report re damp problems. (Was on Twitter – account deleted.)
Would it or will it not open? Things actually got worse as the deadline drew on. That night a big fire nearly engulfed Walthamstow Central station. The quick thinking of fire crews saved the night – and the Victoria Line was able to open as planned on the Sunday morning 1st September 1968.
After the first stage opened September 1st 1968:
The Victoria is now open. Everyone all aboard please! Source: Twitter
West Ham RML with replica 1968 Victoria Line Stage One opening poster. Source: Twitter
The original twelve station motifs. Yes the one at Victoria really had a pink background to start with! Today’s its cream coloured. Source: Twitter
The original Victoria Line look. Source: Twitter
Unfinished Seven Sisters station on the new Victoria Line September 1968. Source: Twitter
Report on the new Victoria Line opening. Railway Magazine October 1968. Source: Twitter
Blackhorse Road station the Victoria Line’s only fully rendered overground station building. Source: Twitter
Special booklet produced to commemorate the Victoria Line1968/69. There were several versions of this the earliest had a picture of Euston’s platform, the later ones the picture below. Source: Twitter
The booklet also came with a map of the Victoria Line, detail of the new extension to Brixton and a photograph of Prince Charles visiting the tunnel works at Stockwell. Inside the booklet was the following image.
Better picture of the new trains’ interior – note the illuminated adverts! This picture was featured in the Victoria Line booklet. Source: Twitter
Oxford Circus southbound platform in early days. This picture was on the rear of the leaflet shown above. Source: Twitter
Victoria Line cuts travelling time. Tom Eckersley 1969 poster. Source: Twitter
Different version of the Eckersley poster. 1969. Source: Twitter
More posters galore! Most examples on Social Media show a dog eared example of this particular poster however here’s one nice fresh image I found! Besides the warnings of sleeping too much on the Victoria Line its one of the few images left these days that shows the ‘London’s Pride’ badge which was used on a fair bit of publicity during 1969. Source: Twitter
Seven Sisters station in the early days with its experimental trial of ‘open gates.’ Source: Twitter
King’s Cross 1970. Source: PicClick
Onwards to Brixton – the Royal opening 1971:
Tube map with the planned Brixton extension shown. Source: Twitter
Princess Alexandra arriving at Brixton for the official opening of the new Victoria Line extension. 23 July 1971. Source: Twitter
Princess Alexandra on the inaugural Brixton – Walthamstow train in 1971. Source: Twitter
Princess Alexandra is seen later in one of the train’s carriages. Source: Twitter
The headboard for the Brixton extension. Source: Twitter
Victoria Line Brixton extension leaflet 1971. Source: Twitter
Publicity photo for the new Brixton extension 1971. Source: Twitter
Originally trains on the Brixton extension ran from Victoria to Vauxhall non stop. Pimlico opened more than a year after the official opening, on 14th September 1972. To commemorate this Hans Unger did a special poster for LT:
Hans Under’s poster to celebrate the opening of Pimlico station. Source: Pinterest
Out and about on the Victoria Line:
1969 postcard of Seven Sisters station. Source: Ebay
1969 postcard view of Oxford Circus station. Source: Omran Elmajdoub postcards
Experimental LT roundel at Oxford Circus with yellow section. The idea was soon dropped. Source: Twitter
Illuminated underground map – it lit up the route you needed from here to your destination. The first of these was introduced at Heathrow the same year. Source: Twitter
Blackhorse Road 1974. Source: Twitter
How to tell time on the Victoria Line at Stockwell. (Actually its the Northern Line platform but you’ll get the idea.) This is Bob Mazer’s famous photograph. Source: Hypebeast
Green Park in 1979 with the old ticket machines. Source: Twitter
Empty stock working to the depot. Finsbury Park 2008. Source: Twitter
One whose job it is to ensure the trains get away safely! Source: Twitter
The Out and About poster for the Victoria Line. Source: Twitter
Look who’s riding the tube at night:
Jeremy Corbyn with his wife. They got off at Finsbury Park. October 2015. Source: Twitter
London’s Mayor before he became mayor… Sadiq on the Victoria Line April 2016. Source: Twitter
Well well! Look who’s riding the tube! Bo-Jo on the Victoria October 2018. Source: Twitter
London Mayor Sadiq’s rapturous welcome from Brixton as he arrives to open the Victoria Line’s night tube. 19 August 2016. Source: Twitter
More rapturous welcome as the Mayor takes the escalator at Brixton to launch the new services. Source: Twitter
Jolly atmosphere as the first night tube takes off from Brixton! Source: Twitter
London’s Mayor meets the Victoria Line’s famous punk train dispatcher! Source: Twitter
A nice compendium of pictures featuring the Victoria Line’s night tube launch. Source: Twitter
Northumberland Park Depot:
These trains indicated at Seven Sister’s third platform go through some tunnels not intended for the public! What is shown are the times of the next empty or staff trains to Northumberland Park depot. Source: Twitter
Emerging from the tunnels into the depot. Source: Flickr
This is where one arrives on a staff train from Seven Sisters! The staff platform at the depot is the only outside platform on the entire Victoria Line! Source: Twitter
Welcome to the depot! Other signs on the outside of the depot describe the Victoria Line as the ‘Automatic choice.’ Source: Twitter
Northumberland Park depot 1981. Source: Flickr
3041 standing just outside the depot 1997. Source: Flickr
Driving a 1967 through the ‘car wash.’ Source: Flickr
The last public 1967 stock working 30 July 2011 arrives back at Northumberland Park. Source: Flickr
The ‘last 1967’ to work the Victoria Line was not on 30th June 2011 contrary to popular opinion! That was the last public service train. This unidentified unit was kept until 2012 as a depot shunter for the sorting of 2009 the stock as each new carriage arrived off its trailer and was loaded onto the depot tracks. Source: Flickr
2009 stock just outside the depot. Source: Flickr
Inspection of Victoria Line train at the depot before it goes into service. Source: Twitter
Northumberland Park depot. Source: Twitter
Photographic study inside the depot. Source: Twitter
A hair raisin’ experience for 2009 stock perhaps? Source: Twitter
Underneath one of the 2009 stock’s bogies. Source: Twitter
The bogie workshop. Source: Twitter
Unusual view of 2009 stock at the depot! Source: Flickr
Another unusual view of 2009 stock at the depot! Source: Flickr
Pictures showing the depot’s shower block after refurbishment. Source: Twitter
Another view of the shower block after refurbishment. Source: Twitter
One of the lighting towers with the signal cabin in the distance. A shot of the depot from this is shown next. Source: Twitter
The depot in the 1980s seen from the control cabin. Source: Twitter
View of the depot from the roof of the mess building at the centre of the rail yards. Possibly mid 1968. Source: Twitter
Controlling the Victoria Line:
Supervisor George Treverton at the controls of the depot’s tower box probably 1966 or 1967. Source: Twitter
The above photograph is of great interest. It is clearly taken in 1967 or 1968 as the depot is still without a doubt under construction. Besides being an excellent shot, it also shows the temporary connection to British Railways. This can be seen just above the grey phone on the left side of the windows.
This connection is one reason why the Victoria Line’s construction progressed as it did from north to south. This connection allowed London Transport to bring its battery-electric locomotives, rail carrying bolster wagons and other essential construction wagons from elsewhere to Northumberland Park depot to begin the long job of track laying, cabling and signalling the Victoria Line.
Cobourg Street Control Room was originally built for the Victoria Line. Here it is in its first year of operation. Source: Twitter
Another view of the control room in 1968. Source: Twitter (Account still exists – tweet has been deleted thus an archived picture has been used.)
The Cobourg St control room after the Northern Line had been added. Source: Twitter
Close up of the line panel for the Finsbury Park section. Source: Twitter
The next train duty numbers indicators for the King’s Cross – Highbury section. This panel is in preservation. Source: Twitter
The former Cobourg Street Victoria Line control room is now at the Colne Valley Railway in Castle Hedingham. This recent video shows testing on the completed panel there.
Cobourg Street Control’s last night of work. The Victoria Line control had already gone to Osborne House – the finale was for the Northern Line. Source: Twitter
Other views of the control panels at Cobourg Street can be seen at Anorak Heaven.
The new Victoria Line Control Centre at Osborne House is shown in the following images from Twitter…
David Waboso, Tube infrastructure director with Labour peer Andrew Adonis at Osborne House in 2013. The entire Victoria line can be seen behind on the screens. Source: Twitter
Note: Andrew Adonis deleted his tweet but here’s a screencap… as one can see it was taken in the early days of Osborne House.
General view of the Victoria Line’s new control room at Northumberland Park depot with better view of the whole line coverage. Note the individual screens covering particular sections of the route. Source: Twitter
The screen for the Seven Sisters area on the controller’s desk. Source: Twitter
The same Seven Sisters area on the main wall panel. This is just part of an overview of the entire line. The individual areas can be brought up in more detail on the controllers’ screens. Source: Twitter
Wall monitor showing train positions on the Victoria – Vauxhall section. Source: Twitter
How the Victoria line’s trains’ operation were automated until 2011! This was probably from Cobourg Street. Source: Twitter
Unusual red on white signal approaching Northumberland Park. Source: Flickr
Note regarding the concrete flooding of the signal room at Victoria. There was a lot of jokes about that and some pictures were fake so left these out.
The Victoria Line’s tunnels:
She’ll be coming thro the tunnel! 2009 stock at unknown location. Source: Twitter
Ready for the off? John Hardy, head of track programmes for LUL, poses at the Walthamstow crossover during renewal work in 2015. Source: East London & West Essex Guardian
Track welding on the Victoria Line at Walthamstow. This is the station end point work in the southbound tunnel Source: Twitter
Even more dramatic pic of track welding at the Walthamstow crossovers. Source: East London & West Essex Guardian
Work on replacing the Walthamstow crossovers. Source: Twitter
The start of the tunnel from Seven Sisters to Northumberland Park depot. Source: Flickr
Seven Sisters junction from a westbound train. Source: Flickr
Finsbury Park southbound crossover. Piccadilly left, Victoria right. Source: Flickr
The former step plate crossover tunnel at Highbury for the Northern City Line – now used as part of the Victoria Line. Source: Twitter
Tunnel near Highbury. The northbound line looking towards the crossover (just round the corner.) Source: Flickr
A tube worker cleaning the tracks at the Highbury crossover in 2012. Northbound on right, southbound on left. Source: The Atlantic
The far end of the reversing siding at King’s Cross. Source: Flickr
Walking into Euston station from the tunnel! Perhaps a night worker or evacuating from a broken down train. Source: Twitter
Work at the crossover just north of Victoria station. (Its a zoom looking from the northbound tunnel.) Source: Twitter
Same location after completion of the works shown above – and a track worker who is probably making final checks before the all clear. Source: Twitter (This was from Greatest Capital who have now deleted their timeline.)
There used to be a double crossover here which allowed trains to arrive and depart from either platform at Victoria. This was removed soon after the Brixton extension was opened.
Driver’s eye view from the south end of Victoria station. Straight on for the reverse sidings and left for Brixton. Source: Twitter
Emergency track repairs at Stockwell. Source: Twitter
Brixton crossover looking towards Victoria. Source: Twitter
Odd bits n’ bobs:
At the train controls! Green Park station. Source: Twitter
Driving the train at Northumberland Park. Source: Twitter
Hans Unger’s restored Victoria Line motif at Oxford Circus. Source: Twitter
The unused late 1990s ‘Space Train’ design for the Victoria Line. Source: Twitter
Never mind the Space Train here’s a picture of the spacious 2009 tube stock! Source: Twitter
Alpacas Fred and Barney help to launch a Victoria Line promotion at Vauxhall! Source: Twitter
Tottenham Hale’s 50th birthday cake for stage one of the Victoria Line. Source: Twitter
Victoria Line stage one opening 50th birthday cake for Seven Sisters. Source: Twitter
Blackhorse Road station on the day new facilities were opened. September 2018. Source: Twitter
A somewhat distracting pic of the new stairs at Blackhorse Road being opened – and no its not our Dave! Source: Twitter
Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s fantastic mural at Brixton. Source: Twitter
TfL guy who should apparently be looking after the Victoria Line caught napping in a booth right off track at King’s Cross! Source: Twitter
The Victoria Line was suspended recently (7 January 2018) whilst reports of a trespasser in the tunnels were investigated. Imagine the passengers’ shock when they find there’s a guy right outside their train deep inside the tunnels!
The Victoria Line’s managers
John Self General Line Manager gave a talk at the LT Museum 25th February 2019 for the Victoria’s 50th Anniversary. Source: Twitter
The above 50th Anniversary talk by John Self is also available on You Tube.
Who were/is/are the other Victoria Line General Managers? The following tweets might help!
Victoria Line says its Frank Ibe and Dale Smith – they are the managers of line operations/customer services. Source: Twitter
Is it Trish Ashton? It was for a couple of years however since April 2018 she’s been General Manager for Docklands Railway.
2014 – its Dave Proffitt.
In 2013 it was Rob Smith….
Whilst in 2012 according to this tweet and letter, the General Manager was Dean Horler (the one with a ‘cool or frightening’ signature according to the tweet…)
Again in 2012, its John Doyle. He was actually General Manager of the Victoria Line from 2003 to 2012.
Does TfL have General Managers for the tube these days? I’m not sure it may be they have split the roles up so these are now Customer services, Line operations, Station Performance Manager, Fleet Manager (who also covers the Bakerloo!) The list goes further with a Performance Manager Trains, Train Operations Manager and others higher up.
Apparently they do still have one… its a ghost for all anyone knows!