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Going Underground


Happy 150th Birthday to the London Underground!  The first journey taken on the Tube was on the 9th January 1963 on the Metropolitan Line, a distance of 3.5 miles between Paddington and Farringdon stations on a steam train!

To mark this event, the Royal Mail has released a London Underground stamp set featuring lithographs, illustrations and photographs of the development of the transport network from 1863 to the present day and the Royal Mint have issued a commemorative £2 coin bearing the “roundel” logo which first appeared on Underground station platforms in 1908 and featuring an edge inscription heralding the famous advice: MIND THE GAP.

Three little factoids (my new favourite word) for you are:

  • The nickname “the Tube” comes from the circular tube-like tunnels through which the trains travel.
  • The busiest station is Waterloo with 82 million passengers a year, and
  • It is the 3rd largest metro system in the world after  the Beijing Subway and the Shanghai Metro.

MoleThat said, whilst I appreciate that the Underground is a very good way to get around, avoiding traffic jams, road closures etc., it is actually my least favourite mode of transport – if God had wanted us to travel underground, he would have made us all moles!

Inflation-busting increase of the day

So it has been announced today that Royal Mail postal prices are increasing from 30th April 2012.

Both first and second class stamps will go up 14p from April 30 to 60p and 50p respectively.  That’s a 30% rise for first class and 39% hike for second.  (Inflation was 3.4% last month according to the Consumer Prices index.)

With the number of letters posted every day down from 84million six years ago to 59million today, this is probably not the best idea they’ve ever had.  As people increasingly turn to alternative carriers and electronic communications, surely Royal Mail must realise their future is, at best, doubtful.

Today’s announcement by Ofcom that the Royal Mail now has the freedom to set their own prices is surely the natural progression towards full competition and privatisation of postal services where customers will pay more and efficiencies will be sought in the interests of profit not services.

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