Down the tubes

Short review of The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground was Built and How it Changed the City Forever by Christian Wolmar, and The City Beneath Us: Building the New York Subways by Vivian Heller and the New York Transit Museum, in The Economist:

London’s was the first underground railway—nearly all of it built in the half-century after 1860—and one of the trickiest. It runs under streets so twisty that they could not simply be dug up in order to lay track—the “cut and cover” method used for much of New York’s system. Another difference is London’s historic lack of civic government, which meant that the money had to be scrounged, mainly from private investors, all of whom had their own ideas on how the system should work.

More here.