Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:12 CST
1908 map of the London Underground
In 1860, a Scottish apocalyptic prophet by the name of Reverend John Cumming declared, "The forthcoming end of the world will be hastened by the construction of underground railways burrowing into infernal regions and thereby disturbing the Devil." Anyone who has had the chance to travel in the London Underground might be inclined to believe him.
It can be crowded and damp, the air tinged with the lingering cacophony of street musicians and urine, between the thunderous rumbles of passing trains forcing a rush of air along the curved white platforms splashed with advertisements for everything imaginable. Yellow paint on the floors reminds travelers to "mind the gap" (a polite way of saying "stay back from the tracks") or they might become instant barbecue - if they aren't splattered across the tracks by an oncoming train.
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