Minor British Institutions: The Waterloo and City Line

Sean O'Grady
Wednesday 19 March 2014 03:41

The London Underground is, fair to say, a major British institution, world famous and rightly so. But the Waterloo and City Line – known as "The Drain" – is obscure even to most Londoners. Opened on 11 July 1898, it is a mere mile and a half long and serves just two stations, shuttling between Waterloo and Bank for the convenience of City commuters (except on Sundays, when it doesn't run).

Until the 1990s, it had its own unique gauge and rolling stock, with curiously big bouncy cushions, like an old sofa. The dilemma for those in charge of the Waterloo and City Line, passing in and out of public ownership/ management in its time, is that its idiosyncrasies make its upkeep costly; but it is a vital link in the Tube system, taking much pressure off other lines. Anyway, it is a magnificent little railway.

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