The Metropolitan Railway can claim to have had an influence on the evolution of our railway system out of all proportion to its tracks reaching just forty-seven miles from London. However it was the world's first underground passenger railway, built in 1863 to ease the traffic congestion of a growing London and thus creating the first metro system. Embraced by the notorious Victorian entrepreneur Sir Edward Watkin as part of his ultimately unsuccessful ambition to link Manchester and Paris by rail, the Metropolitan decided to use Watkin's land to create the iconic `Metro-land', an Arcadian form of suburbia embracing affordable housing with easy commuting to London. The brand soon became accepted as the generic description of a lifestyle and by the end of the First World War Metro-land represented the appealing factors of aspiration and affordability.
This fascinating history of London's first tube line and the people involved in its evolution brings us up to date with the latest plans for this idiosyncratic railway in line with the coming 2012 Olympics. Featuring many previously unpublished photographs, it is a must for all railway enthusiasts and social historians.