The story of building London’s Victoria Line in the 1960s. It featured new construction techniques, like tunnel boring machines and freezing the ground to stabilize it. There were challenges like retrofitting existing stations for interchange with the new line, including diverting trains into new tunnels by constructing a new underground track junction around an operating tunnel.  The line also introduced new automatic train operation systems and fare collection.

24 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Victoria Line Story”


    We don’t have to worry about spinning our cutter into Richard III, and his battle axe, and his horse, and all their armor.

    Seem to recall we somehow blew up some toilets at King County Courthouse, or snagged a pipe of something. Bertha still holds the record of largest machine to be stalled the longest by the smallest piece of pipe. I thought sure we’d get at least one of the Mosquito Fleet, if not a whole freighter.

    With priority to stay on schedule, standing orders from Chief DSTT Engineer Vladimir Khazak were: “You don’t find ONE BONE!” So who knows what got buried deeper, to be found in another thousand years, or went home in somebody’s pocket?

    We got through Pioneer Square ok, not finding anything out of The Night Stalker. Even though they actually did set one episode in the Underground. And culturally, I think we’re ok on zombies. They’re in HAITI, and they don’t eat people, just cut sugar cane all night.

    “Island Soul” has food from Jamaica and Barbados, and since Route 7 will probably not get a subway for awhile, we’re ok there.

    Have read that IT industries see to it that their programmers get enough soda-pop to take a bath in. Know Jeff Bezos is thinking about low-cost night shift. Like the movies should be titled, “The Dead Don’t Unionize.

    But since the only thing living Norsemen were afraid of was dead ones (Well, nobody said they had to bury them with their battle-axes!) bridge instead of tunnel across the Ship Canal is probably best idea. But still good idea to just work someplace else on the line on foggy nights.


  2. Plea to bus drivers: Now that it is getting cold, please do not crank up the heat to the max (and wear shorts like many do.) Most riders are dressed for the elements and do not welcome super-hot coaches.

    1. From experience, Elbar, hard call. Passengers have different temperature comfort settings. Seattle Aesthetics Commission (if there was such a thing, some recent buildings would end up like the Kingdome) forbade me from wearing shorts.

      Passengers have different individual style choices too. But in general, I’m with you that if the driver likes to wear shorts, then temp should be reset so passengers are also comfortable without them.

      No offense to individual drivers, but I think they’d have considerably more authority and badly-needed respect from passengers if they wear long pants when on duty. Ties intimidate everybody up through the police in Seattle, so they’re advisable if you’re constantly getting hassled.

      Police will call you “Sir” as well.

      I could never drive with anything on my head or around my neck. But my comfort problem is the seasonal opposite. In summer, I can handle hot fresh air better than stale cold. Not expect to look up from my seat and see sides of beef hanging from the overhead bars.

      Recommend drivers bring along a husky, and class it as a service dog. If you have to climb into a sleeping bag with it to save its life from hypothermia (survival manual actually says that, and that survival rate is higher if you take off your clothes) then please turn down the AC.


      1. From my observations, bus drivers in Europe still wear ties and white shirts, and often hats as well. Looks good and gives an aura of authority.

    1. The 44 route is far away from the trolley base so the buses have to traverse the 43 to get to the base, and those runs are now on the schedule although they occur at odd times, mostly eastbound early morning and westbound late night.

  3. Looks like they are finally getting close to finishing the excavation of Roosevelt station. That is good news.

    Q: Which contractor is responsible for pouring the invert?

    1. Or that the Seattle to Portland rail route getting speed and reliability improvements now that are about to come online in the next year.

    2. This is bad even for the Times. Since this doesn’t involve any local taxes, hard to believe it’s malice. Would understand if they left out flying because not only could you take LINK to the airport here, but you’d also be tempted to use MAX to get into Portland.

      We might want to be thinking about interstate high speed rail for another reason, however. If something were to happen to isolate the three West Coast states from the rest of the country, expense could be justified by doing public works projects necessary anyhow to bind the States together.

      You know, like an earthquake, or something, making everything east of the Cascades fall into, I don’t know, a Swamp?


  4. Noticing the 49 running on Pine Street east of about 8th or so, is this new? Has it gone back to its really old routing permanently? (I’ve been riding Capitol Hill Link so I’m less familiar with this Pike/Pine trunk line now.)

    1. The eastward 11 and 49 turn left/north on 8th and right/east on Pine as of the most recent Service Change. The 10 and 47 and 43 continue east on Pike to Bellevue Ave.

  5. With the U-Link restructure having brought drastic change to the longtime Seattle trolleybus route 43, I am still seeing people confused (“are my eyes deceiving me that the last 43 leaves at 7:06?”).

    The 43 is Seattle’s first-ever peak-only trolleybus route, except most of them use diesel coaches it runs on weekends, sort of. But it only does that because some deadheaded route 44 buses continue service as route 43 instead of truly deadheading to Atlantic base. But these only go down Broadway and don’t go to downtown. Only the special extra peak trips go downtown.

    If you look at the map, (, it shows it as a downtown bus, even though the minority of trips actually go downtown. So to reduce confusion, I think the route name should be suffixed (and the map updated). Peak trips that go downtown should be “43D” (for downtown), and trips that go to Atlantic Base should be “43B” (for Broadway). This could also be applied to the 49 for trips that don’t go downtown, e.g., they could be called “49B”.

    There’s precedent for this since Metro uses the suffix “X” for express versions of local routes (even though by now, Metro has either kept only the local (7) or express (26X) versions of most routes that previously had both), and even (confusingly and inconsistently) on some routes that have always only been express (like “193X.” I’d hate to see what the local version of the 193 would look like if it existed).

    1. Agreed, they should do something about the incredibly confusing new 43 schedule. It’s the only one-seat ride between Montlake and Capitol Hill, and Montlake and downtown. Yet it doesn’t run from Capitol Hill east in the evenings or late night, when people might be trying to get home.

    2. I would also like accurate route signage for whether the 43 continues as a 44. I recently caught a 43 at Montlake Freeway Station, and its signage showed that it continued as the 44 all the way to Brooklyn, when it left service. It wouldn’t have been so bad except that it took over 20 minutes to make the turn from 15th to 45th, and if I had known I would have gotten off at Stevens Way and transferred to the 31/32 (ended up just walking from Brooklyn to Campus Parkway to catch the 32 anyways since 45th was so backed up).

  6. Standard response tunnel proponents answer for soil stability questions:

    “We let geology professionals answer those questions which then tells us what to say
    about bore tunnels in soluble, unstable soils -we figure they say- is of the least concern.
    Don’t bother. Nothing to see here. Sudden foundation settling never happens anywhere,
    ever. Earthquakes? Oh yeah, we’re on that, alright, gotcha, no problem.”

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