please empty your brain below

Hi DG - how strange! Like you say, obviously someone (or some committee) has made a conscious decision.

Maybe Wednesday 9 January 2013 worked better for the Mayor's diary? Or the Chief at TfL had tickets for the opera on Thursday?

As you say, raise a big glass for the public day and also for the plethora of anniversary related exhibitions, publications and talks that will keep London and Tube enthusiasts busy for the next year.
Well on Sunday 13 January 2013 todays VIPs will be on a Steam train trip, Metropolitan Locomotive No 1, (4 Ashbury's coaches Nos,387,412,394 & 368, Met Railway Jubilee Coach No. 353) + ex Met Rly milk van No.4)plus Electric Locomotive No.12 "Sarah Siddons".
The date of 9th January is curious and imprecise. There are often special journeys made before a railway opens to the public. These can be for press, railway professional bodies or dignitaries including politicians. I travelled on the DLR well over a month before its official opening which in itself significantly preceded the public opening date.

On the same basis one might as well argue that the Overground extension to Clapham Junction opened on November 27th!

The reason first day of public service is normally chosen is because it is a definitive date that cannot be manipulated.
Public service just one day after the official opening? That's nothing. I well remember seeing part of the Channel Tunnel opening ceremony at Waterloo International on May 6th 1994, on my way to Brussels via Heathrow. Unfortunately, public services did not begin for another six months, (Nov 14th for Eurostar, 22 Dec for the car Shuttle) by which time my fortnightly visits to Brussels had ceased.
i don't see what the problem is - nothing strange here at all, you've answered your own question.

the first train ran on the 9th - carrying special non-fare paying people, but the first 'in service' passenger paying train ran the next day on the 10th. simples...
As it happens, the first trip to run over the whole length of the line was in May 1862, with William Gladstone among the guests.

We are celebrating 8 months too late.
Well you weren't expecting a Christmas card from TfL's publicity department anyway....
Hmm! Methinks I will have to give some thought to a commemorative journey of my own on the 10th!
Despite what TfL say, I agree that the first day of public service is the launch day.
I'm a cynic but my theory is that the artist hastily changed the title of his cover art after realising that he had the date wrong, and that all subsequent use of that date stems from this.
@ timbo, I was one of those travelling by Eurotunnel (with a carload of very appreciative friends) well before its official opening date. they invited selected shareholders to do so, and I was fortunate to be one. this was to discover in advance any problems that might arise with genuine passengers, not VIPs.
later feedback showed this had been worthwhile, eg mobile phones and flash cameras interfering with the train's electronic controls, and the loudspeakers not being heard by people in cars. of course there's perhaps less that could wrong on the Underground.
IanVisits is quite right, and if TfL really do want to celebrate the day on which the first train ran, as opposed to the first day in public service, then they're still wrong. Their stated date of January 9th is simply not true, even by their own logic.

I personally suspect they've deliberately manipulated it so that the anniversary falls on a date or day of the week which they consider more convenient in some manner, although I can't think what. They have a long history of considering self-promotion and mutual back-slapping far more important than facts, after all. If they had wanted to, they could have invented an excuse for it to be on the 11th or 8th instead. Not as if any newspaper practices what used to be called journalism and bothers to check their facts nowadays anyway...
Essentially the 9th was the inauguration when hundreds of invited guests travelled on the line, and the 10th the public opening, when thousands of members of the public travelled - and caused the first instance of demand over capacity in the Underground's history.

The Times of Saturday 10th January 1862: 'The Metroplitan Railway has at length become a "great fact" and, we may confidently add, a great success. Yesterday saw it opened by the directors; to-day it is open for public traffic... At 1 o'clock, between 600 and 700 ladies and gentlemen who had been invited by the directors assembled at the Bishop's-road station, Paddington, and proceededin two trains, after a short interval spent at each of the intermediate stations, to Farringdon-street... MR LOWE, M.P... said,- Mr Chairman, my Lord and gentlemen, you have conferred upon me the distinguished honour of being allowed to propose to this company prosperity to an undertaking the commencement of which we are met this day to inaugurate.... MR FOWLER, who was loudly cheered, said,-... I confess I cannot but feel proud of this day's proceedings. Your journey over the Metropolitan Railway from Paddington to the present city station, in which we are now assembled, has brought to a succesful completion a great public work of a novel character...'

The Times of Monday 12th January 1863 [credited to Observer]: 'On Saturday the Metropolitan (underground) railway was opened to the public, and many thousands were enabled to indulge their curiosity in reference to this mode of travelling under the streets of the metropolis. The trains commenced running as early as 6 o'clock in the morning... by 9 it became equally evident to the authorities that neither the locomotive power nor the rolling-stock at their disposal was at all in proportion to the requirements of the opening day. From this time, and throughout the morning, every station became crowded with anxious travellers, who were admitted in sections... the constant cry of "No room" apopeared to have a very depressing effect on those assembled.'
I found this very odd indeed, and this is the only discussion I have found on the topic! For as long as I can remember, I had seen the panels in and around Baker Street station refer to 10 Jan. So odd I found it, that I emailed the London Transport Museum's research dept and got this response:

Dear [ ]

Thank you for your email. The anniversary date is the 10th January, as this is when the first public trains operated. A special service was run on the 9th January, but this was for VIPs.
Please see the below text taken from the Metropolitan Railway company record on the Museum’s internal database:

“Shareholders rode the line on 22 December 1862, and services made up of empty trains began running on 3 January 1863 in order to test the signalling. Directors and shareholders rode the line again on 9 January 1863 and a banquet was provided afterwards. The following day, 10 January 1863, saw the Metropolitan Railway open to the public between Paddington (Bishop's Road) and Farringdon Street. The world's first underground railway had arrived.”

I hope this helps to clarify things for you.

Kind regards

[ ]

To me, this makes the date of 9 January seem even more arbitrary.
When did the first shovel go in the ground?

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