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Sub-surface UUMI under a building, London, UK

Built in the 1860s, the Metropolitan line was the world’s first urban underground metro. The UUMI was constructed to enable the frequent movement of large amounts of passengers within the densifying urban environment of 19th Century London, between the residential west end and the central business district of the City of London.

During the period of proposing and planning the UUMI, between 1853 (passing of the first underground railway authorising legislation) and 1863 (the opening of the metro), it was clearly identified that the UUMI had to be able to accommodate existing and future urban infrastructure (highways, railways, buildings, utilities (sewers, water and gas mains)). These all influenced the presence, property, and protection interfaces of the UUMI and its environment and continue to do so in the 21st Century.

Fig.1: Satellite image showing 54 Farringdon Road and environs. Source: Bing Maps, 2017.


Fig.1, shows an occurrence of the interfaces of sub-surface railway UUMI and its environment north of Farringdon LU station in London, UK. In this instance, the LU Metropolitan line, Network Rail (NR) Thameslink line, Transport for London (TFL) and London Borough of Islington (LBI) highways, and private buildings.

Figs.2 and 3, show how the UUMI, forming the LU and NR urban railways interface with the highways and a private building located adjacent to and over the UUMI. Fig.2, shows the physical interfaces of the UUMI and its environment. Fig.3, shows a simplified interpretation of the property interfaces of the UUMI and its environment:

  • (Red (A) = LU land and airspace; Hatched Green (B) = NR land and airspace (below);

  • Light blue (C) = TfL highway;

  • Purple (D) = LBI highway;

  • Pink E = Building owner).

Fig.2: Photograph showing 54 Farringdon Road, located above a sub-surface railway tunnel and adjacent to public highways. Source: Nathan Darroch.


Fig.3: Photograph showing 54 Farringdon Road, located above a sub-surface railway tunnel and adjacent to public highways, with simplified property interfaces overlaid. Source: Nathan Darroch.


Other considerations to note regarding the interfaces, within this occurrence are, but not limited to:

  • Figs.1-3, show the long-term affect of UUMI on its environment in the form of the un-developed airspace within the urban environment, above the UUMI;

  • the building located directly above the tunnel and operational environment of the UUMI;

  • windows in the building wall overlooking the operational environment of the UUMI;

  • suggestions of the NR infrastructure located under the Metropolitan line (bottom right);

  • an indication that the public highway on the right of the image has been widened, post initial construction of the UUMI;

  • the need for all interfacing stakeholders (LU, NR, TfL, LBI, and the building owner) to undertake maintenance and repair of their infrastructure without adversely affecting the safe presence and operation of other interfacing stakeholder infrastructure.

To enable effective urban management  of the interfacing infrastructure (railways, buildings, highways), there must be common comprehension of the occurrences of the presence, property, and protection interfaces, and how, when, where, and why they occur, between the interfacing stakeholders. (As described on the context of the research​ page). That comprehension can only be achieved through standardised processes of analysis of the occurrence of the interfaces, gathering of key evidence-based data, and effective sharing of that data, between the stakeholders.

Back to the Interfaces of UUMI and its environment page. 

Onward to the next example page.

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