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heads when they hear of this plan; but, while
they doubt, the necessary powers and the more
necessary capital will probably be obtained, and
the work will be begun in as earnest a spirit as
that of the " Underground Railway." It is not
many months since the public shook its head,
and laughed at the idea of a railroad among
the sewers. The omnibus and cab interests, as
represented by their drivers, were particularly
facetious on the subject: forgetting what their
predecessors, the stage-coachmen, had predicted
of railroads in general, and how signally those
predictions had failed.

Much nonsense has been talked about the
Metropolitan Underground Railway, since it began
its engineering operations under Mr. Jay and the
other contractors; and it is widely supposed that
its sole " mission" is to relieve the over-charged
road traffic of the City. General observers peep
through the long walls of thin boards which
enclose its labourers, its shafts, and its engines,
and, as they see men descending and ascending
to and from the bowels of the earth, they
conclude that some wonderful sub-way is being
constructed that will drain off the meat " blocks" of
Newgate-street, the carriage " blocks" of
Ludgate-hill, and transform London-bridge from a
bridge of curses into an agreeable lounge. All
this, and more, the Metropolitan Railway may
do, through combinations, extensions, and
improvements; but, at present, it is merely to be a
connecting link between the Great Western,
North Western, and Great Northern Railways,
which, when constructed and opened about the
close of 1861, will begin at Paddington, and end
temporarily near Clerkenwell-green.

The important centre of the Metropolitan
Railway works is at King's-cross, coming within
Mr. Jay's contract, which extends from the
proposed terminus in Clerkenwell to Euston-square.
It is there that the chief and only combined junction
on this line will be made, out of the City,
and it is there that the chief engineering
difficulties of the work have arisen.

The main tunnel, running from one terminus
to the other, will contain a double line of rails,
and it will be twenty-eight feet and a half high,
and sixteen feet and a half broad. The branch
tunnels will contain a single line of rails, and be
thirteen feet eight inches broad, and fifteen feet
high. One of these branch tunnels is now
completed, and it runs up Maiden-lane for about a
quarter of a mile, and enters the Great Northern
line above the station.

The underground plan at King's-cross, if drawn
on paper, would be very much in the form of
the letter X standing in a horizontal line. The
horizontal line is the main railroad from King's-
cross to Paddington, which becomes curved at
the junction, and winds towards the City by
way of Bagnigge-wells, the House of Correction,
and the upper part of New Farringdon-street.
The cross, or letter X, goes up from left to right,
into the Maiden-lane branch, from the New-road,
and comes down from left to right, from the
Great Northern Hotel in Old St. Pancras-lane,
on to the main line. The lower triangle, formed
by the roots of the two oblique lines where they
join the horizontal or main line, is filled up
with a condemned-cell looking structure, having
arched loopholes, in which will be placed the
" pointsmen" of the railway, so as to command
a view in every direction. At present, it is a
dismal well dug in the wet clay; but a little
time and labour will soon change all that.

The process of tunnelling under the London
streets is very different from the similar process
in the open country. The material to be
penetrated may not be always so hard and unyielding
as the rock formations, but it is so full of
delicate channels which must not be rudely
disturbed, that the labour is rendered twenty-fold
more difficult and more expensive. The bed of
a London thoroughfare may be compared to the
human bodyfor it is full of veins and arteries
which it is death to cut. There are the water-
mains, with their connecting pipes; the main or
branch sewers, with their connecting drains;
the gas mains, with their connecting pipes; and
very often, the tubes containing long lines of
telegraph-wire. If the gravel and clay be
opened, at any time, a few yards under our feet,
we catch a glimpse of these tubular channels,
lying nearly as close together as the pipes of a
church organ. The engineers of the
Metropolitan Railway have had to remove all these
old channels to the sides of the roadway,
steering their tunnel in between, with the delicacy
of a surgical operation. At King's-cross
a greater difficulty presented itself in the
shape of the old Fleet Ditcha stream of
sewage-water flowing from Highgate to the
Thames, out of fifty thousand houses. This
black Styx of London will often rise six feet in
an hour, in stormy weather, and its force is
particularly felt at King's-cross, which lies at the
bottom of the Highgate slope. It was found
necessary to divert the course of this unruly
stream, and to lock up that portion of its
current which flowed through the line the railway
was compelled to take. This was done under
the personal direction of the able superintendent
of the works, Mr. Houselander; but not without
many men being kept up nearly a fortnight in
wet and mud, night and day, until at last their
sewer-boots had to be cut off their legs. The
slightest mistake would have flooded the works,
and would have cost Mr. Jay, the contractor,
some thirty thousand pounds. The black river
is now safely caged, and a large boiler-looking
tube, running across the roof at one part of the
railway tunnel, carries the Fleet Ditch over the
heads of the workmenand will carry it over
the heads of the passengers.

The inhabitants on each side of the New-road
have often travelled upon railways, and have
doubtless often wondered how a tunnel was
made, and what sort of men they were who
made it. An opportunity is now afforded them
of learning much upon this subject, without
leaving the warm shelter of their drawing-rooms
or bedrooms. A few wooden houses on wheels
first make their appearance in the road, and
squat, like Punch and Judy shows, at the side