50 up for Victoria Line

LONDON Underground’s Victoria Line notched up 50 years of operation on September 1 – the line’s first service having left Walthamstow Central for Highbury & Islington at 06.30 on that day in 1968.

The line was extended south from Highbury through tunnelling to the current terminus at Brixton in July 1971, while Pimlico station opened in 1972. Construction began in 1960, and it was London’s first new line since the Central Line opened in 1907.

Official opening by Queen Elizabeth II occurred on March 7, 1969, when she unveiled a commemorative plaque at Victoria station before taking a train to Green Park, and becoming the first monarch to use the Tube.

Victoria Line tunnelling in the late 1960s – note the narrow gauge railway. TfL

“When it opened, the Victoria Line was one of the most modern subways in the world and, thanks to the recent improvements, it still sets the standard for the rest of the world today,” said Frank Ibe, head of line operations.

Today, the Victoria Line operates up to 36 trains per hour – claimed to be Britain’s most intensive service – and carries more than 250 million passengers a year.

It is also part of the Friday and Saturday night tube network.

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