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Back in the day: New York inaugurated its first underground urban railway

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Back in the day: New York inaugurated its first underground urban railway


On October 27, 1904 New York inaugurated its first underground urban railway. Along its 14.5 kilometre length on the island of Manhattan there were 28 stations. It was built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, the private operator of the original city subway. Running between City Hall in Lower Manhattan, it passed by Grand Central Station and Times Square, ending at Broadway and 145th Street in Harlem. Mayor George McClellan proudly rode the first train, at times manning the controls himself. Service was opened to the public in the early evening.

This was not the first city to get a subway. That was London, in 1863. Only five years after that did New York open its first elevated line, whose limits were put to the test by the Great Blizzard of 1888, when snow halted the train traffic. This sparked keener interest in proposals to build an underground system.

Today’s extended New York Subway network counts 468 stations on some 340 kilometres of routes, running round the clock, every day of the year. Its record year for number of riders was 2005, claiming 1.45 billion!

October 27 in others years: Napoleon’s army enters Berlin (1858) ; Mauritania and Mongolia join the United Nations (1961) ; Democratic Republic of the Congo is renamed Zaire (1971) ; the US prison population tops one million for the first time in American history (1994)

Born on October 27 : Theodore Roosevelt (1858), Dylan Thomas (1914), Roy Lichtenstein (1923), John Cleese (1932), Kelly Osbourne (1984)

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