Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 175

The London Underground



Hello Everyone




When we go up to London to visit my Cockney cousin Smiley Sid, one of the things Bill and Bob love to do best, is travel on the Underground. We have old smugglers’ tunnels in Rocky Bay but they are not nearly as big as the tunnels under London.


The cheapest and easiest way to travel around London is to buy an Oyster Card; you don’t have to be a Londoner to have one.


We avoid the rush hour – we call it the ‘crush hour’ – because the trains get very crowded.


lt is very exciting to stand on the platform waiting for a train. You can hear it rumbling along the tunnel far in the distance; it is a very eerie noise.


Before the train appears you can see its lights shining on the rails in front of it and the rumbling gets louder.


The rumbling gets louder and louder and then the train appears.


Bill and Bob also like watching the tiny sooty-coloured mice that run about under the tracks – but you should never lean over to watch them. You have to stand well back from the platform edge because the trains come in very fast.


Newer stations have clear walls to stop people falling onto the tracks. They have doors in them that only open when a train is in the station.


Other older ones have pits in the middle of the track you can hide in if you accidentally fall off the platform and there is no time to get back onto it before the train comes.


The rails are all electrified and very dangerous to touch.


The London Underground is a system of electric trains which transport millions of people around London. lt is a good way to avoid the traffic jams above.


lt is the oldest underground railway in the world. When it started running in 1863 it was called the Metropolitan Railway.


The word metropolitan means big and important city – there is still a line called the Metropolitan Line today but there are many lines and they all have their own name. There are nearly 300 stations.


Some of them look more or less as they were built many years ago and are very atmospheric with their old names still readable on the wall tiles, and some of them look ultra-modern and have up to the minute news flashes on electronic notices on the walls.


There are about 40 old, abandoned stations which are now eerily empty of passengers.


ln the Second World War, people used to take shelter during bombing raids in the Underground, there were even bunk beds along the platforms. And if there wasn’t enough room on the platforms, people slept on the tracks. Never, had the Underground been more important to Londoners.




lt is very easy to find your way around the network. All the lines are colour-coded and the inside of the trains often seem to have coloured hand rails that match the colour of the line. There are maps on every platform and in every train. lf you find you have got on a train going in the wrong direction – don’t panic, just get out at the next station and go back again. smile1 (2)


ln the beginning, there were steam trains running in these tunnels, and even today you will find soot inside your nose if you travel a long way on one of the older lines!


Some of the tunnels for the trains and the access tunnels for the people to get to the platforms are tube shaped. They are hot in the summer and cold in the winter but people use them because the underground is such a fast and convenient way of getting around. lt only takes two or three minutes to get between each station.


Properties near an underground station are more expensive because of it – you pay for the convenience.


Outside the centre of the city, the trains often run above ground level. Less than half the Underground is actually underground!


When the tunnels were first built, some buildings were demolished and pits were dug out. The track was constructed at the bottom of these pits and then the ground above the tunnel replaced; this is called a cut and cover method. Nowadays, tunnels can be bored by huge machines without disturbing the buildings above.


The first tunnels were dug by hand. Tunnelling under London was easy when digging through clay; it was soft but didn’t collapse; but tunnelling through pockets of sand and gravel was dangerous.


Digging shallow tunnels was difficult too, because of the huge number of water mains, gas mains and sewers under London. Deep tunnelling solved this problem. The World’s first deep-level tunnel was the Circle Line which took over 20 years to complete. The first section was opened in 1863. The carriages were wooden, gas lit and pulled by steam locomotives. A new section was added to the Circle Line in 2009.


You will notice that most of the system is north of the river. This is because there is a lot of underground water south of the river and engineers in the past could have problems with tunnels flooding. The Romans built Londinium on the north side of the river because the south bank was mostly boggy marsh at the time.


A lot of the stations have escalators running down to the platforms; these are some of the longest escalators in Europe and move very quickly. They have to move quickly because they have to transport 13,000 people an hour on them. Some stations have steps and some have lifts as well.


The staff were kitted out in new designer uniforms in 2014.


The lines began a 24 hours a day service on 19th August 2016 when the first night tubes started running.  Two lines started running trains during the night for the first time in the Underground’s 153 year history with more lines to follow.  The Jubilee Line started running all night on 7th October 2016 to give people going out at night at the weekend a train to go home on.


The scheme was designed to make London a 24 hour a day city; hoping to give its economy a huge boost.


lf you travel on the London Underground, the schematic diagram of the tube system which is called the Standard Tube Map is easy to use. The only thing that you have to remember is that is can give you a false impression of how far away stations are from each other.


lf you need to plan a journey on the London Underground, you can find maps on the Transport for London website.



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses


Salty Sam








Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill: What did one escalator say to the other escalator?


Bob: l don’t know. What did one escalator say to the other escalator?


Bill: l think l’m coming down with something.




Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery



An underground train


image013Baker Street Underground Station is very atmospheric


image014During WWII people even lay on the tracks if there wasn’t enough room on the platforms


image015The platform at Westminster is very modern



The escalators at Canary Wharf



A realistic map of the centre part of the system



The schematic diagram map


image022There are maps inside every train so that you can check to see where you are



A hundred years ago tunnels were dug by hand



The work place was dark and dangerous


image028Tunnelling caused a lot of disruption because it was so close to buildings where people lived and worked



Heavy machinery and horses were used



This model shows how the ground was excavated

(London Transport Museum in London)



A 1964 spinning digger



Great boring machines are used nowadays to dig tunnels



People would originally descend to platforms via staircases


image040Escalators were built in the 1930s and modernized in 1960s



After a fire at King’s Cross in 1987 which was started by a cigarette igniting dirt and grease under the escalator,

smoking was banned on the Underground

Wooden panels and escalators were replaced with metal ones



Modern lifts at Borough Station



An 1890 electric train



The carriages it pulled were made from wood



The carriages had a door at each end


image052The insides were very claustrophobic and some people could not cope with them



The windows were tiny and you couldn’t see through them


image056There were doors at each end of the carriages and small platforms between the carriages



A model of the entrance to Stockwell Station


image060The electric train ran between the City of London and Stockwell


image062The City and South London Railway ran under the River Thames



Stockwell Station

(Model in the London Transport Museum)



Electric trains were cleaner than steam trains



People rushed into the tube stations during an air raid of WWII

The doorways were protected with sand bags


image070People brought blankets and suitcases full of belongings

and waited for the ‘all clear’ siren to sound once the air raid was over


image072Underground stations had one or two canteens selling food to people who had to spend a long time underground during air raids



People slept on the platforms at night during air raids


image076Only 132 people were killed as they sheltered in the Underground during WWII

68 of those were at Balham – a plaque on the wall at the top of the staircase commemorates them



A poster warning people to let their eyes adjust to the darkness of the street when they left the station – there was a blackout in all places because it was illegal to show any light at night – there were no street lamps or lights shining from any windows

Lights would have let enemy aircraft know the location of human habitation which of course would be a signal to them to drop bombs



A 1924 tube train



A 1923 tube train in operation until 1971



The seats are deep and comfortable


image086There isn’t much space around the trains as they travel through the tunnels



A 1960s tube train



Inside a 1960s tube train with a wooden slatted floor



Modern underground trains in a depot



You can see the shine of the train lights on the rails long before you can see the train

Some of these dark tunnels still smell of soot –

you can start to smell it once you start going down the steps to the platform


image096A huge percentage of the London Underground network is actually above ground


image098Sometimes the rails run below street level and sometimes above roof level



Some trains run past windows of houses


image102I think these trains left on a rooftop have reached the end of the line! smile1 (2)



A modern driver’s cab

(Take a test drive at the London Transport Museum)


image106The view from the driver’s cab as he/she approaches a station


image108Smart signalling is a modern concept where a central computer knows where all the underground trains are –

the computer can control a train’s speed and puts a safe distance between trains

(this distance alters with a train’s speed)

This system can allow more trains on the system but also increases safety













Lots of people come to London to visit. Oysters cards can be bought online before coming to London and taxis can be found everywhere to help you travel around.

Lots of people visit my blog every day too – from 134 territories.

I think my blog posts have travelled to even more places than I have!


You are all welcome!!!


If you do not see your country here, please let me know.

These are the territories – in no particular order…

  1. GB
  2. US
  3. China
  4. Brazil
  5. Australia
  6. Sweden
  7. Peru
  8. Colombia
  9. Italy
  10. Germany
  11. Portugal
  12. France
  13. Tunisia
  14. Netherlands
  15. Romania
  16. Czech Republic
  17. Russia
  18. Ukraine
  19. Serbia
  20. Canada
  21. Latvia
  22. Poland
  23. Spain
  24. Lithuania
  25. Nigeria
  26. Puerto Rico
  27. Argentina
  28. Mexico
  29. Switzerland
  30. South Africa
  31. Belgium
  32. Finland
  33. Slovenia
  34. Israel
  35. Chile
  36. Ecuador
  37. Venezuela
  38. Hungary
  39. Greece
  40. Moldova
  41. Montenegro
  42. Jamaica
  43. Bulgaria
  44. Panama
  45. Turkey
  46. Cyprus
  47. Estonia
  48. Senegal
  49. UAE
  50. Korea
  51. Japan
  52. Serbia
  53. Ireland
  54. Austria
  55. Costa Rica
  56. Belarus
  57. Denmark
  58. Aruba
  59. Armenia
  60. Luxembourg
  61. Paraguay
  62. Norway
  63. Algeria
  64. Kazakhstan
  65. Egypt
  66. Slovakia
  67. Zimbabwe
  68. Iceland
  69. Cape Verde
  70. Seychelles
  71. Viet Nam
  72. Fiji
  73. Somalia
  74. Sri Lanka
  75. Namibia
  76. Tanzania
  77. Hong Kong
  78. India
  79. Gibraltar
  80. Nepal
  81. Thailand
  82. Philippines
  83. Bangladesh
  84. Belize
  85. Dominica
  86. Guam
  87. British Virgin Islands
  88. Saudi Arabia
  89. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  90. Myanmar
  91. Mauritius
  92. Malaysia
  93. Haiti
  94. Georgia
  95. Bahamas
  96. Uruguay
  97. Bermuda
  98. Oman
  99. Singapore
  100. Pakistan
  101. Lebanon
  102. Cambodia
  103. Guyana
  104. Jordan
  105. Kuwait
  106. Papua New Guinea
  107. Malaysia
  108. Iran
  109. Mongolia
  110. Iceland
  111. Sierra Leone
  112. Taiwan
  113. Indonesia
  114. Albania
  115. Iraq
  116. Morocco
  117. Jersey
  118. Kenya
  119. Zambia
  120. Barbados
  121. Qatar
  122. Mozambique
  123. Liberia
  124. St Vincent and the Grenadines
  125. Guadeloupe
  126. Antigua and Barbuda
  127. Malta
  128. Brunei
  129. Darussalam
  130. Falkland Islands
  131. Cameroons
  132. Congo
  133. Laos
  134. Guatemala




Emily discovered a way she could easily make a shoulder bag for her 12” doll this week.

Actually, you can just use an off-cut of plastic canvas of any small size to make one yourself.

The bag in the picture was made from two pieces of canvas 6 holes by 9 holes decorated in double cross stitch. But you can make your own design.





Work 8 diagonal crosses on each piece in a length of knitting yarn.



Put upright crosses on top in a contrasting colour.

Work 2 rows of tent stitch above these double cross stitches.

Then sew the two pieces of plastic together along the sides and bottom.

Attach a length of yarn to the top corners to make a strap.











Quick Quiz



Do you know what these phrases mean?


  1. a slowcoach
  2. to paddle one’s own canoe
  3. the gravy train
  4. a train of thought
  5. to go overboard over something
  6. full steam ahead!
  7. to be all steamed up











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lt’s the Weekend!








Fountain in Kensington Gardens


Simply take the top of a washing up liquid bottle and stick it to the top of a squeezy sauce bottle lid or a lid that is bigger than the washing up liquid bottle top.




Cover in white or cream paint with a little sand mixed in with it to create texture or use silver paint.

If you are using the kind of paint that won’t stick to plastic, mix some PVA glue in with it.

The white or cream-coloured fountain will look as though it is made from stone and the silver one as though it is made from metal.

It will make the front garden of any dolls’ house look very upmarket!

You could also make a barbeque out of appropriately-shaped bottle tops and paint it silver to go in the garden featured in Blog Post 137.

If you want to create a shrub border around your fountain, cut a circle of dark brown felt slightly larger than the base of your fountain and sew loops of green yarn onto the felt or stick lumps of chopped up green washing-up sponge onto it.








Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand






Quick Quiz Answers



  1. a slowcoach – a slow person
  2. to paddle one’s own canoe – to act independently and choose your own road in life
  3. the gravy train – to be in a good place to meet people who can help you
  4. a train of thought – to ponder on a subject for a while
  5. to go overboard over something – to be enthusiastic or too enthusiastic about something
  6. full steam ahead! – go ahead as fast as you can
  7. to be all steamed up – to be upset or angry





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