On This Day, January 10th
1. 1863: World’s first subway system opened
The first urban underground railway in history began operations on this date in 1863 in London, England. It was called the Metropolitan Railway, and would later become part of the famous London Underground that we know today. Steam trains were used, which made things incredibly uncomfortable and equally unhealthy for both train operators and its passengers. The train connected the Paddington station to the Farringdon station using a four mile stretch of rail, and ultimately became the world’s first mass-transit system. More than 30,000 people showed up on the opening day of operation, and by the end of the first year, the Metropolitan Railway had carried a staggering 10 million passengers.
2. 2000: The Time Warner- AOL Merger
One of the biggest corporate mergers in history took place on this date in 2000 when America Online Incorporated announced they would be acquiring Time Warner for a mind-blowing $182 billion. By doing this, they created one of the largest media companies on the planet as both held dominant positions in all forms of media. Time Warner specialized in television, magazines, books, and even movie production, while AOL had approximately 30 million internet subscribers at the time. Combining the two would create a media empire unlike anything ever seen before. The merger took place at the height of the internet bubble when dot-com companies were popping out of the woodwork. Just one year later, the bubble popped and AOL Time Warner reported losses that reached record proportions. The company was hemorrhaging money, and in 2002 they had a quarterly loss of $54 billion which was the largest ever for an American company.
3. 1962: Massive avalanche devastates Peru
On the evening of January 10, 1962, most of the inhabitants of the Rio Santa Valley in Peru sat with their families eating dinner when suddenly they heard a loud crack. The sound came from a massive glacier on Mount Huascaran in the Andes Mountains and was actually a somewhat common occurrence in that area. Residents knew that when they heard that sound they needed to get to higher ground because an avalanche was heading their way. Normally they had roughly 30 minutes before the avalanche would reach the small towns and communities below. This wasn’t a normal avalanche, though. A giant piece of the glacier broke off that was said to be the size of two skyscrapers and weighed in at over 6 million tons. It traveled the nine and a half miles in a record 7 minutes which caught many of the residents off guard. The towns of Huarascucho and Ranrahirca were buried under 40 feet of debris, leaving only a few survivors from each. Approximately 4,000 people lost their lives and millions of dollars worth of damage were caused that day. Unfortunately, just eight years later there was an earthquake that caused another avalanche that devastated the same area.