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The London Underground train that had massive windows and portholes so passengers could see out better

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In the early days of the London Underground it was commonly thought that passengers didn’t need to look out the windows.

In fact, on the first deep-Tube line, the City and South London Railway, the carriages had tiny slits for windows which were so high up you couldn’t even see station names.

But over time this thinking changed.

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Complaints of claustrophobia on the early lines meant windows started being introduced.

And by the 1930s, there was a complete change of direction as Art Deco style somewhat took over from practicality in many forms of engineering.

In the 1930s, designers started producing prototype carriages with huge windows curving up the sides.

Known as ‘Vista’ carriages these beauties also had big round portholes by the door pockets.

The prototype ‘Vista’ carriage from the outside (London Transport Museum collections)

It was all about seeing out.

The experimental car was trialled on the Bakerloo line and, although its design wasn’t adopted, the ‘Vista’ carriages later entered regular service on the Northern Line.

That begs the question of course, why was it used on the deep Northern Line?

The line has so many deep tunnels where the trains would have been in darkness with nothing to see out of the windows.

Surely such an elegant design would have been much better served on the Metropolitan or District Lines?

Do you reckon any of the other Londons can compare with our stunning capital city?

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Well there we go. It’s a moot point.

Only one prototype was ever built and we can only now dream about how nice it would have been gliding along through the suburbs.

But at least something was learnt from it.

The large windows we see in Tube train doors today were eventually brought in in 1967 helping to ease the claustrophobia of long Tube journeys.

You can see an incredible collection of trains and carriages at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden and also at the LTM’s Acton depot which has excellent open days.

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/nostalgia/london-underground-train-massive-windows-21912789