London's Complicated Transportation Situation (1924)

From nycsubway.org

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 64, No. 12 · September 20, 1924 · pp. 425-447.

The new Edgware extension of the London Underground. Part of this is in tubes and part on the surface or in open cut or fill. Note typical construction, rock ballast, wood ties, rails supported in chairs held by screw spikes, third and fourth power rails, cable bracket racks supported on concrete posts or side wall, the cast iron tube, with inside diameter of 11 ft. 8-1/2 in., and the low design of cars to conform to the tube clearance.

London's Complicated Transportation Situation. Buses, Trams and Underground All Bid for Patronage -- Competition Keen Between the Systems Under Same Management, Between Municipal and Private Management and Between Bus Company and "Pirate" Buses -- For the Moment Londoners Have an Abundance of Service of All Types.

London, with its extensive systems of tube and tunnel railways, trams and omnibuses and suburban steam lines, all working in a maze of competition, has a transportation situation for which there is probably no parallel in the United States. It is so complicated that no one seems to have a clear conception of the future course of development. But this much is evident: If there is any merit in competition, London is the place where we shall see the result worked out. Meantime, the people of London are getting the benefit (at least temporarily) of an enormous duplication and excess of service. The competitive aspect here, with bus, tram and tube often on the same street, is the more unusual because the competition is in part between systems under the same management, as well as between separate managements, and also between private and municipal enterprise, and between organized companies and irresponsible, individual bus operators.

First, there is the London Underground Group of transportation systems, under one management, which comprises most of the underground tube and tunnel railways; 114 route-miles, mostly double track, of tramway lines, and a system of buses having a network of 753 route-miles completely covering the city. Then there is the Metropolitan underground railway, a private company, and the London County Council Tramway System, a municipal undertaking. The latter is the major surface rail system and comprises 164 route-miles, practically all double track. The London County Council operates 2,032 cars, the Underground group tramways 553 tramcars a total of 2,585 cars. There are also a number of minor municipal systems in outlying sections of the city. The London General Omnibus Company operates 4,500 buses, being a subsidiary of the Underground. Then there are some 300 individually owned buses, usually spoken of as the "private" buses. The steam road suburban traffic is also of considerable moment, as each railroad comes into its own station, these stations being rather widely separated and located in various parts of the city, and each having a suburban traffic. An estimate of the passenger traffic handled by each of these several systems, as furnished by Frank Pick, assistant managing director of the Underground Group, is given here:

 Annual Passengers
London Underground Group, Tubes and
tunnels, including Metropolitan Ry.
London Underground Group, Tramways 190,000,000
London Underground Group, Motor buses 1,214,000,000
London County Council Tramways 719,000,000
Suburban tram systems 126,000,000
Suburban steam traffic 343,000,000

Looking at the map of the London Underground, reproduced herewith, it is difficult to imagine what could have determined so intricate and haphazard a mesh of tube and tunnel railways. Obviously, there was no plan behind it. The lack of a plan is explained at once by the knowledge that the present underground system is the unification under one management, except for the Metropolitan Railway, of numerous independent undertakings, each built by its special promoters without any reference to the other railways, and only governed by what seemed to offer a profitable route. Some of the lines were built so that they competed with existing tube or tunnel railways, for in those days Parliament definitely encouraged competitive transportation. Similarly, each company had its own ideas about the kind of rolling stock it should use and the dimensions of its tube or tunnel. Consequently, London now has an underground system that can never truly be consolidated.

The Underground management is therefore confronted with the task of joining the various lines as far as possible by numerous interchange or transfer points, using elevators and more recently escalators to shorten the time between lines, and to encourage passengers to make the long descent to ride the deep level tubes. The layout of lines, difference in clearances and varying equipment virtually preclude any extensive through routing of service between parts of the system, and the very deep level of much of the system is an almost insurmountable obstacle to traffic building. This is better appreciated when it is known that one can make as quick time on bus or tram, up to 4 miles, as he can on the tube, taking into account the time consumed in booking (buying a ticket) going down to the train platform and then getting up out of the tube again. The underground lines are thus quite susceptible to the competition of the surface systems. Accordingly they are being developed now largely with the idea of serving the long-haul riders. This is clearly more feasible than in America, because of the distance fare.

Together, the tramway lines operated by the Underground and those operated by the London County Council cover the entire city, with the exception of the central district included in the old City of London and a part of Westminster, an area about 2 miles by 6 miles in extent. The Underground tramways are mainly in the northwest quadrant of the city, while those of the London County Council are spread out through the other three quadrants, serving particularly the portion of the city south of the Thames. These two tramway systems in general are not competitive.

The outstanding difference between the London tramways and American street railways lies in their exclusion from this central area. This district comprises the main business, shopping, theater, church, and the sightseeing and governmental activities. Obviously, this exclusion, which dates back to horse-car days, is a tremendous handicap to the trams, especially now that bus operation is permitted in this inner area and covers it completely. The buses not only operate inside this territory but out into the other sections of the city in every direction, competing with both the company owned and corporation* [* Municipal.] owned tramways, and with the underground and steam railroads. People naturally prefer to board the vehicle which will take them to their destination without change, rather than ride the tram or tube part way and then change to the bus, even though this no-change ride may require a slightly longer time.

Nevertheless, London is so spread out and is so uniformly built up to four or five stories that there is a tremendous source of traffic outside the central area from which the tramways can draw traffic.

Lord Ashfield On The Future Of Tram And Bus

A recognized authority on transportation in London is, of course, Lord Ashfield, managing director of the Underground Group of trams, buses and railways (subways). The committee naturally sought from him the policies being followed in the development of the several services and his views with respect to the future place of each system in London's general transportation scheme.

Lord Ashfield does not feel that buses could carry all of the people now handled by tramways, as there is insufficient street space available. He thinks, however, that the ultimate plan will be to have only buses and rapid transit lines. Of course, he is speaking for London only. Meantime, the tramways should be used for the peak-load service primarily. And inasmuch as they are essential now in the rush hours, they can be operated in the off-peak hours too with comparatively small additional expense. He said that it would be very undesirable to supplant the tramways with buses now, as this would precipitate the immediate necessity to build extensive additions to the rapid transit system long before it would be possible to finance them and long before they are required.

Asked if all the passengers now handled by the tram, which number one billion a year, could be handled by buses, Lord Ashfield said that they could, in the event that sufficient street space, which is not now available, were provided. But the cost of widening streets would be prohibitive, he continued, so that the trams are necessary until such time as they can be replaced by underground railways.

YearTubes and TunnelsTrunk Lines (Est.)Total RailwaysOmnibusesTramwaysGrand total
Population Greater London7,251,3587,840,201
Population London County4,521,6854,484,523

With the growing use of the bus, this means that in some instances the tramways will have to be operated at a loss, and the only way that this can be done in the interest of the public service is that the several forms of transportation shall be under a single management with a pooling of results, so that, taken as a whole, the transportation service may be conducted as a successful business. The London General Omnibus Company and four of the companies comprised in the Underground railways are now operating under a common fund arrangement of this kind. There is also a working agreement between these companies and the tramway lines operated by the Underground people, although the tram-line earnings are not actually included in the common fund plan.

With these views about London transportation in mind, Lord Ashfield expressed himself to the effect that American operators are missing a great opportunity by not quickly making greater use of the bus in co-ordination with the railways, in order to place themselves in position to control the whole situation.

Lord Ashfield is of the opinion, as are all of his assistants, that the people of London prefer the bus to the tramway. None of them could explain why this is, but it is a fact that was perfectly evident to us from our observation in riding about the city on the various forms of transit. Some of the reasons advanced for this popularity of the bus were as follows:

1. The exclusion of trams from the central business district gives the bus what the tram officials call the "bus paradise." People must take the bus or the underground to get into or out of this central district, and as both buses and tubes continue on out into the suburbs in practically all directions, they naturally continue to ride on the vehicle first boarded. This in part explains why there are, in light traffic hours, more passengers on the buses than on the trams out where the two parallel each other on the same street.

2. The bus is a new form of transportation, while the tram is old and there haVe been almost no changes in its design in 30 years.

3. Buses come up to the curb, making boarding and alighting easier, especially in the congested areas.

4. The tramcar is primarily the workman's vehicle. Up to 8 a.m. he rides it at half fare by statutory provision included in the act of Parliament of 1870, under which all of the tramways of Great Britain still operate. Class distinction runs rather high in England, and many people will ride the bus who would not be seen on the tram.

5. For some reason the tram has always been unpopular. One reason assigned for this by Lord Ashfield was that in the early development stage tram lines were built in sections where they were unnecessary on narrow streets, and were thereafter somewhat of an obstruction to traffic and were disliked because of that.

6. There is a popular impression that the bus is faster because it weaves in and out of traffic and passes other buses and sometimes trams. However, actually, there is little difference in its schedule speed.

7. A ride on the tram is rather prosaic, while the ride on a bus, dodging in and but of traffic, has in it some of the elements of adventure.

8. The open top on the bus has undoubtedly contributed to its popularity on fair weather days. However, considerable study is being given in London to closing in the upper deck so as to make the entire bus capacity available in bad weather. The principal difficulty in this connection is the rigid restriction on bus dimensions and weight imposed by Scotland Yards.

Asked what he thought about the desirability of using double-deck buses in America, Lord Ashfield said that he would not use anything else where the camber (crown) of the road and road conditions would permit, taking into account the high center of gravity of this type of bus.

We asked his Lordship whether he thought the zone-fare system should be applied in America. His answer was "no." He reasoned that transportation benefits everyone living or doing business in a community. It is impossible to say that it benefits the man who lives far out more than the one who lives close in, and there is no reason why he should be penalized for the longer ride he must take. In fact, he ought to be encouraged because of the longer time he is forced to spend in getting back and forth.

This naturally raises the question of why the zone system prevails in London, then. The immediate answer is, as his Lordship said, that the English people have been brought up on a very low fare for a short distance ride and it would never be possible to establish a flat rate high enough to average out a sufficient total revenue. He made the reflection that it is possible to do almost anything on the start-off, but it is extremely difficult to change a practice once it becomes established. In this connection, he thought it might be desirable in America to establish the zone system on buses when beginning their operation. This would attract the short-haul rider.

The committee's opinion is that the fearful complications of the London zone ticket system would certainly be a deterring factor to an American operator. In fact, it was found that railway men in Great Britain generally would welcome a way to be released from the heavy expense and difficulty of handling and collecting fares which the zone system entails. For example, it makes one-man operation, which has been the salvation of many American street railways and which makes much of the prospective bus operation attractive, virtually impossible.

London's Municipal Tram System Operates No Buses

The London County Council Tramways does not operate any buses, as it is not empowered to do so a matter of politics. Aubrey Llewellyn Coventry Fell, general manager, said in discussing the London bus situation, that there necessarily must be some overlapping of buses with the trams on account of the trams being excluded from the central area. However, in addition to the reasonable overlapping of service, there is considerable duplication. This is resulting in a substantial reduction this year in the amount of traffic handled by the London County Council trams. Mr. Fell feels that traffic conditions in London would be intolerable if it was undertaken to handle all of the passengers in buses. Considering the relative merits of the bus and tram, he said that the main consideration must always be the financial one. As long as the tramcar has such a big advantage in seating accommodations, the cost per seat-mile for operation must always be considerably less for the tram than for that of the smaller vehicle.

In considering London traffic, it must not be forgotten that the tramcars are excluded from the profitable central London area, in which the proportion of short journey riders is very high, so that figures of earnings per car-mile for tramcars and those for omnibuses in London are not strictly relative. Expressing it another way, he said that if the tramway system operated in the central London area, the revenue per car-mile would be increased, whereas there is no reason to think that the expenses per car-mile would be increased. Mr. Fell also made the general observation that in addition to the traffic taken from the tramways, the buses undoubtedly do create some traffic of their own.

Characteristics Of British Operation

At the present time it can be said that London streets are virtually flooded with bus service. This has been brought about by the fact that the only means available to the London Underground Group to keep control of the transportation situation was to meet bus competition by putting so many buses on a route that the traffic available per bus would be diluted to the point that the individual bus operators would be discouraged. Carrying out this program, the London General Omnibus Company has added about 1,000 new buses to its services during the past year. Even with this determined effort of the L. G. O. to meet competition, there are still some 300 independently owned buses in operation. Any one can go into the bus business in London who provides himself with a bus whose design meets the rather rigid requirements of Scotland Yard. This is the only requirement.

This heavy increase in bus service has brought an enormous increase in the number of passengers carried by the buses. Part of this increase has been in the nature of a newly created traffic, but a good deal of it has been taken from the tramways and the underground lines. Thus, the London Underground management is in the position of expanding its bus services at the expense of its own tram and tube lines, and at the expense of the municipal tram lines. It is even working against itself on its bus operations, for the excess of service in fighting competition has reduced the average earnings per bus-mile. The bus mileage operated by the London General Omnibus Company in 1922 was 94,124,000, and that in 1923 was 118,494,000, an increase of practically 26 per cent. For the corresponding calendar years, the number of passengers carried was 846,682,000 and 1,039,935,000, respectively, an increase of 23 per cent. The result has been a decrease of 3.62d. (7.2 cents) in gross revenue per bus-mile, while expenses were reduced 3.27d. (6.5 cents). Thus the margin of profit, after deducting all charges except those for capital, showed a decrease of 0.35d. (0.7 cent) per bus-mile. The actual revenue and expense figures a*e confidential and not available for publication.

The bus undertaking in London to date is understood to be a substantially profitable one. One thing that should be appreciated in this connection is that no attempt is made to provide bus equipment for handling the peak loads. Bus operation does not begin until about 8 o'clock in the morning, as the half-fare workman's rate, a statutory provision for the tramways, naturally brings them all of this early morning riding. The bus service continues for about 12 hours while the daytime riding is good, and then is very greatly curtailed about 8 o'clock in the evening. After that hour, virtually only those routes which serve the main traffic arteries are continued through the evening. These two things relieve the bus operation from the heavy capital carrying charges which accompany the handling of the peak loads, and from the loss from operation over routes and at hours which cannot be operated at a profit. With respect to other obligations, the tram and bus compare as follows:

The tramway regulations are statutory. They must run a reasonable service at a maximum fare of 1-1/2d. per mile. They must pay taxes on the tram lines in the streets as well as on all buildings. They are under the Ministry of Transport with respect to all kinds of regulations and by-laws and also are under the police with respect to licenses, quietness of operation, general condition of maintenance, and must be repainted each year. They must build and maintain the tramway paving for 16 ft. in the center of the road. Each private company is subject to purchase by the municipality 21 years after its beginning, not as a going concern, but for its then physical value. Thereafter it is subject to purchase at 7-year intervals, introducing an uncertainty which makes it impossible to finance any improvements, and impracticable to keep up repairs.

The Ministry of Transport determines the speed and size of cars (maximum speed allowed in London is 16 m.p.h. if cars are fitted with magnetic brakes). They are required to stop if hailed, and if off schedule they cannot pass up a passenger without being liable to a fine. In most cases the tramway must pay a franchise tax.

Omnibuses, on the other hand, have no statutory obligation to the public. They can charge any fare and run any service they may choose. They pay no rates (real property taxes) except on buildings. They maintain no roads directly except by the tax which is based on seating capacity (what we usually call the license tax). They are under the police in the same way as tramcars with regard to licenses and speed of operation, and weight and size are similarly limited.

The buses also escape the burdens which fall upon the tramway with the numerous road-widening projects which are under way throughout Great Britain. The London Underground Group tramways, for example, carry now a cost in capital of about GBP 20,000 ($97,400) per mile of track which has no asset value, and which represents what they have had to contribute to civic improvements that have added nothing to the physical value of the tramways.

Those closely allied with the operation of the tramways in London now feel that either the tramways must be given some measure of relief from their obligations or that the omnibuses must be made to carry more nearly commensurate obligations. Recently a bill has been passed by Parliament which is a step in the latter direction, and which will tend to do away with the flooding of streets with bus traffic to fight competion. The measure will probably be of little help to the tramways, except indirectly as they may benefit from a more normal bus service. About all that this bill does is to provide the Ministry of Transport with authority to regulate the amount of omnibus traffic on any street.

Paris Transportation Facilities

Paris, like London, also has extensive tram, underground and bus services. There is a greater degree of co-ordination there, as all of the surface transportation facilities are under one management. There is necessarily some paralleling of bus and tram lines on the same streets, but taking the whole route of each into account, the two lines serve different localities and a different traffic.

The Paris situation is similar to the one in London in another respect, namely, that there are no tramway lines in a considerable area of the central business district. Buses serve this territory thoroughly and derive a heavy short-haul traffic, for which the tramway does not have the same opportunity.

The extent of the tramway system is measured by the fact that there are 1,875 motor cars and 750 trailers, total 2,625, operating approximately 60,000,000 car-miles per year and carrying 700,000,000 passengers per year. The bus system comprises 1,250 four-wheel buses and 50 six-wheel buses, total 1,300, which operate 29,000,000 bus-miles per year and carry annually 336,000,000 passengers. In contrast with London, all of the buses are single deck, and the great majority of tramcars also.

The Paris underground system, which is under separate management, comprises approximately 100 km. (62 miles) of double-track route. Like the surface transportation systems, the underground system is municipally owned, but privately operated. Some 1,700 cars are operated on the underground lines with 57,377,654 car-miles and 500,000,000 passengers annually. The accompanying Paris maps show the relation of the bus, tram and underground systems.

Unfortunately, the committee was unable to learn the views of the railway officials as to the relative place of bus and tramway in the future Paris transportation needs, as nearly all of the principal officials were away on holiday. It would seem to be the case, however, that the development of the tramway is being carried forward as well as that of the bus, inasmuch as a considerable number of new tramcars of a new design are being built, as noted in another section of this report.

American Bus Policy Confirmed

To sum up the European policy with respect to the bus, the committee has found that the views and practices prevalent there as to the place of the bus are in direct confirmation of the leading thought of the industry in the United States. That is to say, there is a large field for the bus and it should be used as one of the modern tools of transportion. It should be coordinated with existing rail lines rather than operated competitively. The best results from operation of buses will be derived if they are under the same management as the railway. The local railway company is the one properly organized and equipped to operate buses in conjunction with the other services.

The consensus of opinion of the European tramway managers is that the bus has not the capacity to replace the tramway in providing the main transportation service in any sizable city.

European Street Congestion Notably Lighter

Generally speaking, there is no street congestion in Europe that is comparable with the conditions prevailing in the United States. The major reason for this is that the number of private automobiles in use here is five or six times as many as in Great Britain, and the ratio would be even larger in comparison with the Continental cities. For example, the total number of motor vehicles of all classes registered in Great Britain on Feb. 29, 1924, was 936,662, which compares roughly with the total motor vehicle registration in the United States for 1923 of 15,092,177. The corresponding number of inhabitants per motor vehicle is 7.3 in the United States and 43 in Great Britain.

There is rather heavy street congestion at some points in the central business district in London, but this is caused almost entirely by the motor buses and taxicabs, and these two classes of traffic comprise as a rough estimate probably 90 per cent of the total vehicles on the street. The heaviest points of congestion are at such centers as Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, the Bank, Elephant and Castle, etc., where a number of streets converge into a circular traffic center. London's street layout is a maze of crooked routes with numerous centers from which streets radiate in all directions and with these radiating arteries crossing each other at all sorts of angles and without system. The only American city which compares with this at all is the older part of Boston.

Obviously, under this scheme, there is almost a total absence of parallel routes in any one general direction, this tending to bring about congestion where the travel in one direction is heavy. With the future expansion in the use of private automobiles, now showing an increasing rate of growth in Great Britain, the operation of buses, which now have nearly the whole street, will become more and more difficult. Even now, the average speed made, for example, on Oxford Street, Fleet Street and the Strand, and through the centers named above, is only 3 to 4 m.p.h. Some of the pictures taken by the committee on week~day afternoons show how completely the buses occupy the streets. (See pages 416, 436). It should be noted also that no parking is permitted, except that taxicabs may stand in a single line in the centers of some streets at certain points.

Another important factor which, in comparison with American cities, tends to make for less severe street congestion in London is that the building heights are limited by public authority and are uniformly from six to eight stories in height. There is consequently no such concentration of people during business hours as we have in our principal American cities, and the problem of all of the transportation systems is correspondingly less severe at any one point. In other words, the loading and discharging of passengers is spread out over a considerable area. This distribution of business is also an important contributing factor in the high proportion of short-haul riding which the transportation companies enjoy, especially in the off-peak hours. It tends, too, to give a better all-day load factor. The buses, of course, benefit primarily from this short business riding, as they are exclusively in the business area. But this situation in the business area, as well as the solidly built-up nature of all London, and short-haul fares are responsible for the high number of passengers per car-mile carried by both buses and trains. The average number of passengers per car-mile on the tramways in London is 10.5 and on the buses 8.75. These compare with about 7 passengers per car-mile average in the United States.

Regulation of the flow of traffic in London streets is of the simplest kind and yet seems to be very effective. No mechanical signals of any kind are used and the number of traffic officers seems to be remarkably small. The governing principle is to allow traffic to weave in % and out and take care of itself to a large extent and to permit traffic officers to handle the movement as the conditions of the moment dictate. The result is that traffic is handled with little apparent evidence of the control. In fact, this traffic regulation was the best example the committee observed of the "effortless efficiency" on which London business prides itself.

While the handling of vehicular traffic in London is effective (and much the same description would apply to Paris), not so much can be said for the protection and assistance given to pedestrians. Safety islands are provided to a certain extent, and at a number of heavy loading points the tramways have permanent loading platforms which are of great assistance to the pedestrians. But by and large the pedestrian must look out for himself. And with the confusion of traffic lanes due to the converging and diverging streets at the circles, the crossing of streets on foot is somewhat of an adventure. Probably it should be said that in London the members of the committee noted this particularly because of unfamiliarity with left-hand operation.

Two factors which contribute to the difficulty of the pedestrian are that vehicles are not required to stop behind a street car while it is loading or unloading passengers, and that buses are continually passing each other while going in the same direction. This ability of one bus to pass another, which is one of its great advantages, contributes to the accident hazard and the difficulties of the pedestrian. Bus accidents of all classes increased in London for the year 1923, as compared with 1922, from 13.9 per 100,000 bus-miles to 19.4. This, of course, was due in part to the large addition to the number of buses operated, the corresponding increase in new and inexperienced drivers, and to a certain extent to the keen competition with the "pirate" buses.

Rapid Transit Rolling Stock

The most striking thing observed with respect to the newest cars of the London Underground System was their inviting and attractive appearance. A real effort is being made to attract patronage by providing a more comfortable, pleasant ride. Large plate glass windows, a brightly painted, well-lighted interior, and figured or striped plush upholstered seats, give the cars a most inviting appearance as one sees them from the station platforms. Probably more than usual credit is due the designers because of their accomplishment in producing cars of such marked interior attractiveness, despite the difficulties and limitations placed upon them by the clearances in the small bore tubes through which many of the cars must operate. This fact also largely accounts for the peculiar exterior appearance.

The Paris subway cars are well painted, are fitted with plate-glass windows and curved plate glass at the ends of the cars, they are well lighted, and the first-class cars are fitted with red leather upholstered seats. Altogether they present a very pleasing appearance, though with not the degree of luxuriousness nor comfort that impresses one in the new London cars.

The Paris cars have an interior seating arrangement which is designed more with the idea of providing maximum standing capacity than maximum seating capacity. The most common seating arrangement comprises cross-seats with a double seat on one side of the aisle and a single seat on the other side, and a a back to back arrangement of seats.

In a mechanical and structural way the committee thought these cars embodied no particularly interesting departures from practices here, except the means employed to reduce noise. These are treated in a later section.

These new London cars were treated in some detail in ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL for May 5, 1923.

Fog Repeaters Signal London Underground Trains

On account of the heavy fogs which prevail at certain times of the year the London Underground Railways use a special signal, called a "fog repeater," on those portions of the tunnel and tube lines which are out in the open. This fog repeater is especially valuable and necessary there because no "distant" signals are used. It consists of a special type of light signal equipped with a 20-watt, 16-cp. lamp behind a dioptic lens, located a proper distance in advance of the "stop" or "home" signal and wired so that it repeats the indication of the home signal.

The center of the top lens is approximately 8 ft. above the track so that it is well within the motorman's line of vision. By this means the motorman is informed of the position of the "home" signal when he is a certain distance from it. The wiring is also arranged so that the towermen can put the fog repeaters in operation when fog prevails and cut them out when no fog exists.

There are 123 of these special signals in service and it is claimed that the particular type of lens in use has certain fog penetrating qualities, and that the signals have greatly accelerated movement of trains in foggy weather. The committee did not have an opportunity to see these signals in use as none of London's famous fogs made its appearance.

Map of the tramways of London. Note the absence of any surface rail lines in the central business area, known as the old City of London and Westminster.
Map of the bus routes operated by the London General Omnibus Company, which virtually cover all London.
Map of the London Underground lines, which indicates how the system is made up of numerous individual routes built independently without regard to the location of previously existing lines.
Map of country bus routes operated out into the territory surrounding London by the London General Omnibus Company.
The upper view shows a characteristic traffic scene on the Strand when traffic is moving normally. On Queen Victoria Street, shown in the lower view, buses and taxicabs make up the major part of street traffic.
London Traffic a River of Buses. Street traffic scenes in the central district of London, showing the severe congestion. Owing to the very small number of private automobiles, as compared with the number in the United States, the buses have nearly the whole street to themselves and in many places practically fill it, as seen in these pictures, taken on a week-day afternoon between the hours of 3 and 5. Above and at right, views on Oxford Street, one of the shopping centers. Below, Trafalgar Square looking down the Strand. At the moment this picture was taken there was not so much evidence of congestion, yet 17 omnibuses are visible.
Omnibus terminal opposite Victoria railroad station, London, which, is typical of numerous bus terminals at important loading points in various parts of the city.
The new Hendon station on the Edgware extension. The station platform, showing bridge passageway from rear of station building, and the switchman's tower. The surroundings indicate the open character of the territory into which the new line extends, but construction of which has been accompanied by very large residential building activities.
Selling Transportation on London Underground. New motor car (1) and trailer (5) for one of the tube lines. Trains are made up with a motor car at each end of a six-car unit. Clearances do not permit motors on every car and the equipment on motor cars must be mounted in the cab, which occupies about one-third of the car. Note marker system on motor car dash, markers not in use being covered over with a lid which blocks off the lamp. 2. Attractive interior of the newer type London Underground tube trailer. 3. A typical example of the newer idea of making the underground cars inviting as worked out on cars for the tunnel lines, where clearances are not so limited. 4. Velour upholstering, a bright finish and shaded center lighting with a small shaded light over each seat back help to make these tube cars attractive.
[Top] The new Hendon station, midway out on the Edgware extension of the London Underground, recently placed in operation. [Bottom] "Booking office" and general interior view of the new Hendon central station on the Edgware extension of the London Underground.
Stop sign adopted by the London General Omnibus Company, which not only locates stopping points but indicates the route numbers of buses which stop there.
Edgware station building and forecourt at the terminus, 11 miles or 35 minutes from Trafalgar Square, of a new extension of the London Underground opened for service on August 18 [1924].
Typical signs in the Oxford Circus station of the Underground, London. They enable patrons to direct themselves through the system of passageways, which are most intricate, especially at the junctions between lines.
New track under construction on Edgware extension, London Underground, showing particularly the spring steel wedges now being used with the rail chair construction instead of the wood wedge.
A rather neat station on the tube lines is made by use of a larger diameter tube.
Oil buffer used by London Underground Railways. This is placed on stub end tracks and also extensively used by the British steam railroads. While a car hitting this buffer receives an initial jolt, the plunger travels against the oil pressure sufficiently to avoid damage to the car, it was said, even though the speed at moment of striking may be 10 or 12 m.p.h.
One of the latest steel cars built for use in tunnel lines by the London Underground.
A combination of longitudinal and cross seats, velour upholstering and arm rests, bright paint, shaded lumps and mahogany trim are features of this latest tunnel car of the London Underground. See also pictures on page 430.
Fog repeater signal used by the London Underground.
Paris tramway and bus lines operated by the Societe des Transports en Commun de la Region Parisienne.
Underground Railway System of Paris.


Electric Railway Journal, McGraw Hill Company, Digitized by Microsoft, Americana Collection, archive.org.

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