[As statistics prove that the whole population of England travels over the Metropolitan Railway about once a week, and everybody may therefore be assumed to know all about it, FUN considerately publishes this guide for the information of the public, because he is aware that what people like is to be told something they know already.]
Ir is hardly necessary to enter minutely into the early history of a line which, to judge from its traffic returns, is, literally, one of the greatest under-takings in London. As soon as the scheme of an underground railway was started it was taken up. But ere the roads beneath which it was to run could be taken up too, the members of the company had to “stand" for the burrow as much as if it had been Yarmouth or Totnes. Having overcome the formidable opposition of Interest allied to Folly, the promoters of the line had to overcome the engineering difficulties of the scheme. To say nothing of an amount of tunnelling-—a bore to which the Thames tunnel was a more fleabite —there were water-pipes and gas-pipes to be avoided as carefully as their respective rates are by the wary householder; and there were huge sewers to be diverted — and such diversion is not child's play. However, even these odorous currents were got over by the engineer-in-chisf, being made to run in FOWLER (but inﬁnitely sweeter) receptacles. The working-men, who had been, as some politicians fancy they always are, undermining the metropolis, achieved their task at last. In a word, one day — to the terror of the oldest inhabitant of the neighbouring drains — the trains began to run, and have been running ever since. Despite the prognostications of the croakers, the public have taken to the mode of travelling, and even timid and elderly females feel quite at home in its tunnels, while children of the most timorous dispositions are not alarmed at its engines which are all “bogueys.” The traffic on the line may be divided into two sections — Business and Pleasure. Business, as a rule, goes Eastward, with the sun, to its office in the City. Pleasure, as it ﬂows, runs Westward, like civilization, to the various sights of London in the immediate neighbourhood of the line-to the delirious dissipation of the British Museum, the statuesque repose of Madam Tussaud’s, or the instructive walks of botany and zoology in the Regent's Park.
Fun 4 (15 September 1866): 15. Click on image to enlarge it. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Hathi Digital Library Trust and the University of Minnesota library and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow]
Last modified 30 January 2016