Many people think that the first subway in the world was built in New York City. But New York's subway was actually the world's sixth. The world's first subway was built in London, and opened in 1863. It was 3 and 1/4 miles long, and the cars were pulled by locomotives burning coal in the tunnels! London was the only city in the world with a subway until 1891, when a subway line was built in Glasgow, Scotland.
Boston was the first city in the U.S. to build a subway, opening its first line in 1897. New York's first subway was opened in 1904. The earliest subway cars had no windows — the designers didn't think anyone would want to look out a window into a dark tunnel.
"Yorkshire-born civil engineer John Fowler, 45, has worked on most of its extensions, and despite sulfurous fumes from its coke-burning locomotives the steam-powered London Underground carries 9.5 million passengers in its first year; excavated from the surface by a cut-and-cover procedure rather than tunneled, it is roofed with girders or brick arches and will grow to cover 257 miles of track with 278 stations. Work will begin in 1866 on the City of London and Southwark Subway (later the City and South London Railway), using a tunneling shield that minimizes disruption of street traffic."