Course Code: 2BU05B21
Start Date: 11/01/2022Day of the Week:
Length in weeks: 5
This course will cover the history of several of the world’s major urban rapid-transit railway systems (often called metros), emphasizing the oldest ones and those displaying the greatest distinctiveness in architecture and design. Large but very modern systems such as those of Beijing and Shanghai are less distinctive and their short history is less interesting. Week1 will define what we mean by an urban rapid-transit and go on to cover the oldest one, the London Underground, whose first line dates from 1863. Week 2 will move on to another system that has nineteenth-century roots, the New York City Subway. Despite their names, neither of these systems is wholly below ground. In week two we will also talk about the Chicago El (elevated) which by contrast is partly underground! In week 3 we deal with a system that, unlike those covered up to then, was conceived all at once, at the very beginning of the twentieth century – the Paris Metro. As a result, its design style is very consistent. In week 4 we will cover two separate systems in one city, the U-Bahn and S-Bahn in Berlin, including describing the way in which they operated while that city was divided. In the final week, we will cover the Moscow system, known for its magnificent stations, and its baby brother in St Petersburg, a little less grand, before finishing with brief mentions of the metros of Madrid and Barcelona. I have ridden on all of those mentioned except Moscow, where I’ve never been – but it cannot be omitted.