Recording the Underground

The London Transport Museum owns a healthy photographic archive that has been donated by private individuals or recorded by London Transport/Underground employees. Much of this invaluable record can be found online via the museum’s website and a trawl through its library reveals many remarkable images.

It only seems logical that LU enthusiasts, some of who are also employed by the Underground, will want to record images of their own, that perhaps have a personal value or they may simply be photographers that would like use the Underground as a subject to study.

Security & Vigilance

The events of 7 July 2005 were not the first time that London Underground had been the target of terrorists. Wikipedia reveals that the earliest incident occurred at Gower Street (Euston Square) as far back as 1885, with further incidents occurring in 1897 and 1913. Then between 1939-92 the IRA planted multiple devices on Underground stations and trains, yet all these incidents, acts designed to scare the British public and destabilise society for a given end, have ultimately been futile.

In the hours and days following 7/7, the police appealed for both photographs and video recordings made by the general public in relation to the attacks. Why would such an appeal be made unless photography by the general public has a part to play collecting evidence and therefore help maintain security?

The BOTTOM line though, is that photographers should employ common sense whenever capturing images and NEVER put themselves in a compromising position, perhaps threatening the enjoyment of

photography for other enthusiasts. Remember that LU / TfL can choose to amend rules at any time, perhaps deciding to ban photography altogether. It has to be said however, that the vast majority of incidents when the rules are broken will be by tourists who will probably be oblivious to the rules (e.g. use of flash photography in a confined and darker environment such as a station platform).

Admittedly nothing to do with London Underground, Network Rail takes a refreshing win-win approach regarding enthusiasts and photographers, viewing their presence as positive and commenting on its website:

Your presence at a station can be very helpful to us as extra “eyes and ears” and can have a positive security benefit.

About the Photography section

The material published in this section is designed to inform the enthusiast and highlight the rules as stated by TfL/LU, in an attempt to minimise confrontations or misunderstanding between amateur photographers and Underground staff. It also gives advice how photographers should behave and ways they can still capture good images in low lighting conditions, whilst complying with these rules.

As many LU enthusiasts also have an interest in mainline railways a page has been created to highlight the rules as well as guidelines regarding photography in public places. A final section, Photo Galleries, allows enthusiasts and enthusiast photographers to showcase their favourite ten images for others to enjoy.


Guidelines and rules are updated by railway bodies from time to time and these should remain the primary source of information.

Enthusiasts should never, under any circumstances, adopt a hostile approach to staff and would be advised to comply with any request not to take photos (staff may be party to more information).

It is hoped that respect and common sense is applied by all parties.