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World's oldest metro systems - Railway Technology

The Paris Métro

The Paris Métro
  • The first metro to use the term ‘metro’, France opened Paris Métro in 1900.
  • This 16 line network is 214 km long and has had approximately 1.52 billion passengers since 2016.
  • It is heavily decorated with exquisite art in most of its entrances.


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World's oldest metro systems - Railway Technology

World's oldest metro systems - Railway Technology


Key Ideas

The First Electric Metro Trains

Electric metro trains first became operational in London back in 1890, as a part underground and part overground network.

Called the London Underground, this is a 402 km network with 270 stations and transports up to five million passengers a day.

Budapest Metro

  • Hungary’s Budapest Metro became operational soon after London in 1896. It is now a world heritage site.
  • This four-line network had various expansions and extensions and features the world’s first automated metro route back in 2014.
  • The travel time saved each year by the fourth line, called M4, is about 14 million hours.

The Glasgow Subway

  • The same year when the Budapest Metro opened(1896), Scotland inaugurated the world’s third oldest metro system.
  • The route remains untouched and carries 13 million passengers every year.
  • The subway network has seen a number of upgrades and makeovers including extensive modernization of all the stations and replacement of trains and ramps.

Chicago ‘L’

  • In the US, the Chicago ‘L’ metro system started in 1897.
  • It is the second most crowded electric train system in the country, with 24-hour services in select lines.
  • The train network is 165 km long with eight lines, including a ‘ring’ model that runs through the entire city in a circle.

The Paris Métro

  • The first metro to use the term ‘metro’, France opened Paris Métro in 1900.
  • This 16 line network is 214 km long and has had approximately 1.52 billion passengers since 2016.
  • It is heavily decorated with exquisite art in most of its entrances.

The MBTA Subway

  • 1901 saw the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Subway opening in Boston, Massachusetts, US.
  • This train network has comparatively shorter lines and right from its inauguration was having the first electrified rapid transit line, now known as the Orange Line.

Berlin U-Bahn

  • Germany was not far behind in the Metro race and opened the U-Bahn in Berlin in 1902, which now has more than 151 km of track, most of it underground.
  • The U-Bahn began as an elevated transport link between two heavily populated zones of the city.
  • The trains carried 553 million passengers in 2017 and travel a total of 132 million kilometres each year.

Athens Metro

  • Greece opened up its electrified rapid transport lines in 1904, converting a former electric railways station called the Athens-Piraeus (which was opened in 1869).
  • The lines were expanded in the year 2000 and merged with the Athens Mass Transit System in 2011.
  • The aim of this service was to offer an alternative to car users, and lower the pollution levels.

The NYC Subway

  • 1904 saw the opening of the New York City Subway with the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) division, now known as the A division, along with the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT).
  • It is the world’s largest network spreading 380 kilometres handling 1.72 billion passengers a year. The 36 lines operate day and night, thus requiring more maintenance.
  • The subway stations were targeted with crime and vandalism in the 1970s, leading to loss of ridership.


The Escalator
The Escalator

The Escalator, or ‘moving stairs’ is an infrastructural technological development which is actually a trademark, a brand that became so common that its name became a ‘trademark genericide’, just li...

Escalators: New Tech For Infrastructure

The new technology of escalators transformed not just how the walking person is transported in a building, but the way architecture itself is designed, and created fluid transitions without the limits of the sky or ground.

The Moving Stairs

Nathan Ames, an inventor, applied for the patent in 1859 for the first kind of moving stairs, with a belt attached with three wheels, and powered by kinetic energy. This was never built.

As the 19th century came to an end, there were improvements in the way people lived and worked, facilitating the development of malls, skyscrapers, and electric subway trains. The print and photography industry paved the way for better advertising of products and services.

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Rising Noise Around Us
  • Cities have a noise pollution problem, which is largely unaddressed.
  • Noise complaints regarding the high decibel levels of traffic, airplanes, and even helicopters are getting more fre...
Effect Of Noise on Children
  • According to the United Nations, about two-thirds of the world's population will be living in cities by the next 30 years.
  • The World Health Organization recommends classrooms to be not louder than 35 decibels, which is never the case in big cities.
  • Children are facing disruption in their learning, and research points out that those who study in a noisy place are 11 months behind the ones who are studying in quieter places in the same vicinity.
Living In Noise

Most of the city planning is done so that the affluent neighborhoods are in quieter areas.

However, this is also nullified when the ultra-rich who travel frequently stay close to the transit hubs (like Airports), being exposed to high decibels of noise.

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The Concept of Graffiti
The Concept of Graffiti

Graffiti, or the practice of writing, drawing, painting or doodling on walls and other surfaces is as old as man himself, with prehistoric and ancient cave paintings of hunting scenes being the fir...

Modern Graffiti
  • Contemporary graffiti dates back to 1967, arising from the Black and Latino communities in New York City, with the aerosol spray paint acting as a catalyst.
  • The artists, known as taggers, used to ‘tag’ or paint in as many locations as possible, with the intention to ‘get up’, having maximum people see the art.
  • Subway cars and trains became the next big thing to ‘tag’ with graffiti, as their mobile nature ensured that more people would see it. The giant artwork had a unique energy and aura while it moved, creating an effect that is not possible on a static wall.
NYC Graffiti Problem

In about a decade, the ‘vandalism’ of infrastructure and public property became a big problem in NYC, as it had a negative psychological effect on every citizen. The authorities put in measures to make it harder for the writers to hit their targets, but it just made the game more challenging and interesting for the artists.

Extreme steps were taken in 1984 to clear NYC of Subway car/train graffiti, and commuters had to face hardships, but the practice of street graffiti flourished in the coming decades.

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The quick rise

Slack makes it possible for tens of millions of employees to have online conversations, ask questions, share information, make decisions. The platform reproduces the culture of the open-plan office...

Slack became indispensable

Investors had been wary of Slack since it went public in June 2019 because of its slowing growth, lack of profitability, and competition from Microsoft's competing product called Teams.

But as business swerved to avoid contagion, people were flocking to Slack's product to cope with disaster. Slack became a critical service, like Wi-Fi or electricity.

Work from home

Although Slack also runs on Slack, the company had a work-at-office culture. As the company closed its offices in March, the executive made a series of decisions to make its mission clearer: Slack would take care of its people first during this crisis. In turn, those employees would take care of their customers.

  • They offered to reimburse each employee up to $500 for whatever equipment they needed to do their jobs at home.
  • When the schools closed, they advised people to work when they could.
  • They encouraged their employees to log out and take care of their kids and families.
  • They offer to pay employees their full salaries.

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The Walkman Debut
The Walkman Debut

Today when we have unlimited songs in our pocket, we take them for granted, but forty years ago in 1979, when Sony’s first portable music player the “Walkman” debuted, a personal, ...

The Walkman Effect

The Walkman goes into history as a social distancing device, isolating people who would want to stay immersed in music, blocking out the rest of the world. This was later termed as the Walkman Effect.

The headphones served as both a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and an instant way to get transported to a different world.

Turning The Walkman Into A Cultural Phenomenon

The 80s saw celebrities like Donna Summer, Paul Simon, Andy Warhol and many others flashing the Walkman, turning it into a status symbol.

Earphones, earlier associated with geekery or hearing problems, suddenly turned cool.

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Loneliness vs.solitude
  • Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeling.
  • Solitude is being alone — and content. It’s a choice.
The paradox of Technologies

Technologies connecting us are actually isolating us. From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the purpose of bringing us closer together. And yet, today, in a work hyper-connected, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely. 

It doesn’t  depend on external factors. It’s largely unrelated to what’s going on around us. It’s less about our circumstances and more about how we react to them.

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The first marathon
The first marathon

The first marathon was held at the 1896 Olympics in Athens to commemorate the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield near the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.

History of marathons
  • The first official Olympic race started at the Marathon Bridge and ended at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, a distance of about 24.85 miles. Of the 25 entrants, only 9 runners finished.
  • After 1896, in the next few Olympic marathons, it was decided that as long as the runners ran the same course, there was no need to keep the distance exactly the same.
  • From the 1908 London Olympics, the course was laid out from Windsor Castle to White City stadium. To put the finish line in front of the royal family's viewing box, an extra 385 yards was added.
  • It took 13 years of arguing before the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) adopted the 1908 distance as the official marathon.
Albert Einstein
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minute..."
Albert Einstein
The frames we use to see the world

The frames we create for what we experience both inform and limit the way we think.  And most of the time we are not aware of the frames we are using.

Being able to question and shift your frame of reference is an important key to enhancing your imagination because it reveals completely different insights.

Reframing problems
It takes effort, attention, and practice to see the world around you in a brand-new light.

You can practice reframing by physically or mentally changing your point of view, by seeing the world from others’ perspectives, and by asking questions that begin with “why.” 

Difference between solitude and loneliness

We use the two terms interchangeably because we’ve been conditioned to think of them as the same state.

Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeli...

Connected but alone

From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the same purpose: to bring us closer together.

Today, we’ve reached peak hyper-connectivity. We can cross oceans at the touch of the button, speak to someone, anywhere, 24/7. And yet, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely. The technologies connecting us are isolating us.

The truth about loneliness

You can be surrounded by people, at a party, or in the office, and still feel lonely to your core.

And you can be alone, millions of miles away from any human contact, and still feel joyfully connected to the world.

It’s less about our circumstances, more about how we react to them.

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