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LU celebrates 150th anniversary

London Underground's test steam run. Photo: Andy Barr/London Underground

London Underground has unveiled plans for a year of celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary.

LU working in partnership with London Transport Museum - will be organising a huge range of events and activities during the rest of this year and throughout 2013.

Events across London will honour the history of the Tube and look to the exciting changes to come in the future.

They will explore the Tube’s fascinating history and also look at the vital role it will continue to play in the future – both in the lives of Londoners and to the economic life of London and the UK.

Next year London Underground, the world’s first underground railway, will celebrate the 150 years since the very first Tube journey took place between Paddington and Farringdon on the Metropolitan Railway.

London Underground has announced it will be running one of its original steam trains.

The oldest carriage in existence, built in 1892, is one of a series of specially restored trains that will re-enact the first underground journey from Paddington to Farringdon in January.

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London Underground's test steam run. Credit: Andy Barr/London Underground

Before that setting the scene for the year to come is the publication of a new illustrated book, published by Penguin Books, about the history of the Tube.

The book Underground – How the Tube shaped London 1863 to 2013 will be launched by broadcaster Robert Elms and the authors at London Transport Museum on the evening of 29th October 2012.

Transport for London will also launch an imaginative campaign to bring together 150 people, whose personal stories help to demonstrate the rich and vibrant history of the Tube.

A range of other events and activities will follow, including:

  • The first Tube passenger journey will be recreated on Sunday 13 January 2013, with a series of specially restored trains including the Metropolitan Steam Locomotive No. 1 and the Metropolitan Railway Jubilee Carriage No 353 - the oldest operational underground carriage in existence - which is being restored with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund;
  • A series of heritage rail trips, including the use of steam trains;
  • The publication of 12 short stories by well-known authors, published by Penguin Books. The stories, one about each Tube line, look at the meaning of the Underground and the place it holds in the imagination of all those who live and visit the city;
  • Two new two-pound coins issued by the Royal Mint which will go into circulation in 2013 to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground;
  • Poster Art 150: London’s greatest Designs – an exhibition at London Transport Museum focusing on the iconic poster art that has been a feature of London Underground for much of its history;
  • Train wraps of Metropolitan line trains for customers to enjoy;
  • A commemorative Oyster card which will serve as a sought-after memento for passengers;
  • A series of Poems on the Underground will celebrate 150 years of the Tube;
  • A series of theatrical events at the disused Aldwych station;
  • In 2013 Art on the Underground will present a programme that will include: a major commission by an acclaimed, high profile British artist bringing artworks into every station on the Tube network; a set of posters and limited edition prints by 15 leading contemporary artists; screenings of London Underground themed films at a Tube station from the BFI archive;
  • Behind the Scenes events and Open Weekends at the Museum’s store at Acton

London Underground has always played a hugely important role in the success of our city - from the growth of the early network which led to the expansion of the suburbs in the last century, to the development of Canary Wharf’s financial powerhouse in the 80s, and on to today’s system which successfully moved record numbers of people during the Queen’s Jubilee and London 2012 Games.

As we mark the 150th anniversary of the world’s first underground railway with a range of wonderful events, we are also building for the future – transforming stations and replacing trains, signals and track to create a truly 21st century network able to maintain London’s vital role in the UK economy.

– Managing Director of London Underground Mike Brown