National Geographic : 1937 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE 'fnotograpn Dy Maynard Uwen Wilitams TALL DERRICKS LINE "THE POOL," WHERE BARGES EXCHANGE CARGOES WITH SEAGOING SHIPS England's chief river, the winding Thames, has been a busy highway since the Roman conquest in the first century of the Christian Era. Near historic London Bridge, where this photograph was taken, thousands of Roman coins and other relics have been found in the river bed. Upstream is the stately Tower Bridge (page 2). Above the pleasure boats, and other small craft. can the Underground carry its 1,750,000 passengers a day. Consider the escalators. If people walk or run up an escalator in stead of standing still, its capacity rises by as much as 40 per cent. Therefore each escalator is run at a speed designed to keep people walking. The 137 moving stair ways used here travel more than 2,500 miles a day-enough to form a narrow bridge full of people stretching almost across the Atlantic! Ticket-selling machines present another problem in psychology. The extent to which they are used depends upon their situation; a remoteness of a few feet may discourage purchasers. In a year the Un derground sells 350 tons of tickets! And on busy week ends its riders spend thirty tons of copper and ten tons of silver. "What about the future?" I asked Lord Ashfield. city, the Thames is navigated chiefly by barges, "Apart from new lines, signaling will be improved and platforms will be lengthened so that in time probably all lines may carry forty 8-car trains an hour during peak periods. We now use the Metadyne sys tem of control, which enables faster and smoother acceleration and better braking. We have also reduced noises in the tubes. "Some 1,200 Diesel-driven buses are in service and eventually all will be of that type." "Can you reduce traffic jams?" "Certainly we can't let them get any worse! Even now, ours are not so bad as New York's, because we have no sud den crowds dumped at closing time from skyscrapers that house 10,000 or more people. But London urgently needs some bold street widening and some stagger plan by which all people going to and from work will not travel at the same time."