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The birth of the underground

Everyone thinks that the idea of ​​the first subway in history came to the English, but in reality. it was the French who designed it about ten years before the “cousins” from across the English Channel. In 1855 two French engineers deposited the first underground railway project to connect Paris’s Les Halles to the inner ring road, then under construction. The idea was immediately contested by the Paris authorities for the alleged lack of security, while other projects of surface networks were rejected due to the strong environmental impact. So it was in London that the first underground railway ever built was opened in 1863, an underground steam transport railway: the “metropolitan line” between Farrington street and Paddington, which passed through King’s Cross where the new station stood (opened in 1852 ) at the time not famous for the “potterian” track 9 and 3/4, but for the high criminal rate of the neighborhood.
In continental Europe, it is instead Istanbul that has the first underground subway, the “Tünel”, a horse-drawn funicular that since 1875 connects two districts of the city.
Even in the new continent, however, interest in the subway is intense, so in 1878, the Elevated Metropolitan Railway is inaugurated in New York, whose wagons are towed on a raised platform, by small steam locomotives. And still in London, since 1890, the first electric-powered metro line has been in operation.
In 1896, it was the turn of Budapest that inaugurated a completely underground tramway line, while finally in Paris a law of 1898 planned the construction of a metro station entirely with electric traction. This is the first urban network of this type in the world, with 6 lines, open to the public on 19 July 1900, under the impetus of the upcoming Universal Exposition in Paris.
In Italy, the first subway in Milan arrived only in 1964, many years after that of Naples (1929) and that between Rome and Ostia (1959). A curiosity: the one that today is the familiar metro stop map, we owe to the creativity of Harry Beck, a technician who designed electrical circuits.

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