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London Underground

The London Underground is a public rapid transit system serving London region and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. The Underground has its origins in the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground passenger railway. Opened in January 1863, it is now part of the Metropolitan lines; the network has expanded to 11 lines, in 2017/18 carried 1.357 billion passengers, making it the world's 12th busiest metro system. The 11 lines collectively handle up to 5 million passengers a day; the system's first tunnels were built just below the surface. The system has 250 miles of track. Despite its name, only 45% of the system is underground in tunnels, with much of the network in the outer environs of London being on the surface. In addition, the Underground does not cover most southern parts of London region, there are only 29 stations south of the River Thames; the early tube lines owned by several private companies, were brought together under the "UndergrounD" brand in the early 20th century and merged along with the sub-surface lines and bus services in 1933 to form London Transport under the control of the London Passenger Transport Board.

The current operator, London Underground Limited, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London, the statutory corporation responsible for the transport network in London region. As of 2015, 92% of operational expenditure is covered by passenger fares; the Travelcard ticket was introduced in 1983 and Oyster, a contactless ticketing system, in 2003. Contactless card payments were introduced in 2014, the first public transport system in the world to do so; the LPTB was a prominent patron of art and design, commissioning many new station buildings and public artworks in a modernist style. The schematic Tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931, was voted a national design icon in 2006 and now includes other TfL transport systems such as the Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, TfL Rail, Tramlink. Other famous London Underground branding includes the roundel and Johnston typeface, created by Edward Johnston in 1916; the idea of an underground railway linking the City of London with the urban centre was proposed in the 1830s, the Metropolitan Railway was granted permission to build such a line in 1854.

To prepare construction, a short test tunnel was built in 1855 in Kibblesworth, a small town with geological properties similar to London. This test tunnel was used for two years in the development of the first underground train, was in 1861, filled up; the world's first underground railway, it opened in January 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives. It was hailed as a success, carrying 38,000 passengers on the opening day, borrowing trains from other railways to supplement the service; the Metropolitan District Railway opened in December 1868 from South Kensington to Westminster as part of a plan for an underground "inner circle" connecting London's main-line stations. The Metropolitan and District railways completed the Circle line in 1884, built using the cut and cover method. Both railways expanded, the District building five branches to the west reaching Ealing, Uxbridge and Wimbledon and the Metropolitan extended as far as Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles from Baker Street and the centre of London.

For the first deep-level tube line, the City and South London Railway, two 10 feet 2 inches diameter circular tunnels were dug between King William Street and Stockwell, under the roads to avoid the need for agreement with owners of property on the surface. This opened in 1890 with electric locomotives that hauled carriages with small opaque windows, nicknamed padded cells; the Waterloo and City Railway opened in 1898, followed by the Central London Railway in 1900, known as the "twopenny tube". These two ran electric trains in circular tunnels having diameters between 11 feet 8 inches and 12 feet 2.5 inches, whereas the Great Northern and City Railway, which opened in 1904, was built to take main line trains from Finsbury Park to a Moorgate terminus in the City and had 16-foot diameter tunnels. While steam locomotives were in use on the Underground there were contrasting health reports. There were many instances of passengers collapsing whilst travelling, due to heat and pollution, leading for calls to clean the air through the installation of garden plants.

The Metropolitan encouraged beards for staff to act as an air filter. There were other reports claiming beneficial outcomes of using the Underground, including the designation of Great Portland Street as a "sanatorium for asthma and bronchial complaints", tonsillitis could be cured with acid gas and the Twopenny Tube cured anorexia. With the advent of electric Tube services, the Volks Electric Railway, in Brighton, competition from electric trams, the pioneering Underground companies needed modernising. In the early 20th century, the District and Metropolitan railways needed to electrify and a joint committee recommended an AC system, the two companies co-operating because of the shared ownership of the

Nathan Strong (rugby)

Nathan Lloyd Strong is a Welsh former professional rugby union and rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. Nathan Strong was born in Wales. Hailing from Tondu, Strong's first sporting priority as a child was with the game of soccer, but converting to the oval ball code, playing for Beddau RFC Under-16s. Having played for Bridgend RFC at youth level, Nathan broke into the senior ranks with his local club Tondu RFC in 1996, went on to captain the side. A brief spell with Caerphilly RFC, where was coaching at the time, precluded a return to Tondu RFC, from where representative honours were won with Glamorgan County. Following the watershed in Welsh rugby which occurred in 2003 with the advent of regionalism, Nathan followed a number of fellow Tondu RFC players down to the Brewery Field to represent Bridgend RFC. Making a name for himself in the premiership as a physical back rower, Nathan went on to captain Bridgend RFC, whilst playing rugby league for the Bridgend Blue Bulls, playing at prop, was capped by Wales at amateur and senior level in the thirteen man code.

In the summer of 2005, employed by Rockwool Insulation Ltd in Bridgend, transferred to Pontypridd RFC, offering the benefit of his experience and physicality to the young Pontypridd RFC squad. Making a huge and immediate impact with the Sardis Road side, Nathan produced a series of barnstorming back row performances throughout the 2005 - 2006 campaign, crowned by the honour of lifting the Konica Minolta Welsh Cup as team captain. Having become a great favourite with the Pontypridd RFC crowd, Nathan was voted Player of the Year 2006 by the Supporter's Club, a fitting tribute to his immense contribution during the season. In the 2007 off-season, following Dale McIntosh's departure to take up the reins as Forwards Coach, Nathan was charged with leading the team in the 2007/08 season as Club Captain. After 5 years at Pontypridd RFC, Nathan decided to depart from the club and joined Aberavon RFC for the 2010/11/12 season. Following a serious knee injury that kept him out of the game for a few seasons Nathan has returned to the game playing for his home town club, Tondu RFC.

Nathan has represented the Classic lions in Bermuda and plays in charity veterans tournaments around the globe. Nathan Strong won caps for Wales while at Bridgend Blue Bulls 2004 2004 2-caps. Pontypridd RFC profile

St. Sebastian Church (Middletown, Connecticut)

St. Sebastian is a Roman Catholic church in Middletown, part of the Diocese of Norwich. In the early 20th Century, immigrants from the Sicilian town of Melilli moved in large numbers to Middletown. By 1920 there were enough families there to form a vibrant and close-knit Italian community that desired its own place of worship. Through a massive fundraising effort, the donation of materials, the labor of masons and stone carvers, the Italian community realized the dream of its own church, a significant local cultural symbol and the only Italian national parish in the Diocese of Norwich; the imposing 1931 Italian influenced Renaissance Revival church building was designed by architect Raymond C. Gorrani of Worcester, Massachusetts. Gorrani had designed the similar Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Worcester a few years earlier and, according to a recent history of St. Sebastian, members of the parish travelled to Worcester to inspect Mt. Carmel Church before employing Gorrani. In keeping with the desire of his clients, Gorrani's finished design is influenced by the design of the Basilica of St. Sebastian in Melilli.

In December 1931, shortly after construction on the church had begun, Fr. Rocco Guerriero was appointed the first resident pastor of St. Sebastian Church. Shortly thereafter Fr. Guerriero appointed his brother, Daniel A. Guerriero as supervising architect to oversee the completion of Gorrani's design. Little is known about Raymond Gorrani but it is known that after St. Sebastian, built while the architect was designing a church for St. Ann Parish in Marlboro, Massachusetts, he had no additional commissions; the building is listed as significant contributing property of the City of Middletown Historic District. The St. Sebastian Church organ was built by Inc.. Opus 1828, 2 manuals and 15 ranks; the beloved Feast of St. Sebastian was first celebrated in Middletown in the early 20th century. Proceeds from the feast's early years helped finance the building of the church. Held annually, the three-day festival features a parade through Middletown's streets, carrying the statue of the patron saint; the Parishes of St. Sebastian and St. John share a Priest so Daily Mass and Sunday Masses are held at both Parishes.

The Parishes are not merged as a combined parish. Official site Diocese of Norwich