Written by TR Editör

It all began with the discovery of steam’s repelling force. Shortly after, train pulled by steam-powered locomotive became the most comfortable transportation vehicle for people. The population increase in cities brought about traffic issues. The solution was simple: Taking mass transportation underground. Here are the world’s three oldest subways…

Contributor: Bilal Tetik

Photographs by: Melih Uslu


London subway that is world’s first underground railroad became operational in 1863. Trains were steam powered and the fume from the machines was released above ground through vent-holes in world’s first subway. London subway is also the first route where world’s first electric train was used. London subway that developed with an expanding network in time, today has a length of 402 kilometres and 270 stations.


A Frenchman Henri Gavand… He visited Istanbul at early 1860s as a tourist, and realised that thousands of people walked between Beyoğlu and Karaköy each day, climbing  a steep and tiresome ramp. So he devised an underground railroad project with two stations with a steam powered train that works on rails. Gavand’s project was presented to the Ottoman Sultan of the period Abdulmecid Han. The project received Sultan’s approval. The construction was launched shortly after and Tünel was opened with a solemn ceremony held on the first day of Sacrifice Holiday in 1875. Tünel, the second subway in the world that still offers its passengers a brief historical journey, became operational.


Subway in Budapest, the capital of Hungary is the third oldest subway in the world (1896). Subway’s historical route number 1, yellow route, is included in World Heritage List. This route is also referred to as “millennium subway” because it was opened in the 100th anniversary of Hungarians arrival in the country. The first passengers of the subway were Austrian Emperor and Hungarian King.


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