London Underground was the world’s first underground passenger railway network and transports millions of people across the capital every day, irrespective of wealth or status, all crammed into the same carriages. But did you know that the Tube once had first-class compartments?
If you’re visiting London, then you’ll undoubtedly want to enjoy a first-class experience with the finest hotels, exquisite dining experiences, top-flight entertainment, and all the luxury touches. However, where a ride on the Tube might be something to experience, a first-class experience it certainly is not!
However, back in the early days of the underground, the British class system was alive and well, and the first trains that operated on London’s first line, the Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1963, had first, second, and third-class compartments.
By 1964, there were specialist first-class carriages for only the wealthiest and poshest of people, which were works of art compared to the far more ordinary and plain second and third-class carriages.
The first-class carriages had better gas lamps, quality buttoned upholstery, luggage racks above the seats, and the whole carriage finished in shiny teak wood. There was even steam-powered heating to keep your toes warm!
The Metropolitan Railway wasn't the only line to adopt the class system. The Metropolitan District Railway also had first-class accommodation on its trains, and when their status was inherited by the Metropolitan Line and District Line under public ownership this continued.
When the Met took over the Great Northern & City line in 1912, it introduced first-class accommodation - the only time it has been seen on the deep level portion of the Underground.
However, this age of grandeur and style over substance was not to last, and first-class carriages were withdrawn in 1941 at the start of World War II, never to return.
While you may not be able to travel first class on the underground anymore, you can still travel in style with first-class luxuries around the capital. Talk to us today about our private chauffeur in London service for when you visit.