In 1933, engineer Harry Beck created the first modern Tube map. Source: London Underground.

From steam carriages to sleek subway cars… and now to plastic bricks? LEGO‘s seem best suited for playrooms and amusement parks, but a look at the London Underground’s 150th anniversary commemoration shows that the colored blocks aren’t just used for child’s play. To commemorate 150 years of the world’s oldest subway system, CNN reports, the Underground commissioned five Tube maps built from LEGO’s that depict the Tube at various stages of its development. 


The LEGO map of the original Tube route in 1927, when carriages were steam-powered and made of wood. Source: London Underground.

The maps can be found at five major stations across London–South Kensington, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Stratford and King’s Cross–and show the Tube’s routes in 1927, 1933, 1968, 2013 and the proposed vision of the network in 2020. They will remain on display throughout the summer.


The map grows even more colorful in 1968. Source: London Underground.

Each map took four days to build, and is made up of over 1,000 LEGO blocks, measuring 140 x 100 cm. The mastermind behind them is Duncan Titmarsh, the UK’s first Certified LEGO Professional, who operates from a workshop in Hampshire. Reconstructing London is nothing new for Titmarsh, whose past projects include LEGO replicas of city attractions like Olympic Park Village, Olympic Stadium and Wembley Stadium.


The Tube map as the network exists today. Source: London Underground.

The maps aren’t the only celebration planned for the Tube. The Evening Standard also spotlighted stories of 150 Londoners on how the Tube changed their lives. Not only is the Underground a gallery for LEGO maps, the stories suggest it’s also a popular place for meeting spouses and for impromptu jam sessions!


2020 should bring expansions to the Northern Line and a link to the Croxley Rail. Source: London Underground.

 Get in touch with the author @catku.

 maps, subway, transit

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