The London underground is taken for granted by Londoners, for them it’s a way of life and has always been there. It’s very crowded, expensive and unloved by most Londoners. But where would London be today without it?
The underground or Tube as it was nicknamed in 1890 was the very first underground railway in the world. It turned out to be one of the greatest engineering feats of modern times. It took over 150 years to create and it’s still expanding today. Over 250 miles of underground tunnelling carry millions of people each day around London. The Tube has helped people to get to work on time and has completly defined London.
The first line that operated was between Paddington and Farringdon and used gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam trains. This line is now a part of the Northern line. It began operation on January the 10th in 1863 and over the years has grown to the 11 lines it has today. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that they electrified the lines and electric trains were introduced. Today it takes around 4.8 million passengers to locations around London making it one of the world’s busiest underground transport systems.
Currently busy under the streets of London the new Elizabeth Line is in construction. It will stretch for 60 miles from Reading to Heathrow and opens in December next year. There will be 40 stations on route, 10 completely new builds and the other 30 are upgraded stations. Currently this line is boosting the UK economy by billions of pounds and supporting the creation of thousands of new jobs and homes.
From May this year there will be new trains introduced on the Liverpool Street Line. They will feature air conditioning, CCTV and have dedicated wheelchair spaces as well as space to use for push chairs and bicycles. They are going to be more eco friendly by using 30% less energy.
- During the war many tube stations were used as air-raid shelters
- Average speed on the Underground is 20.5 miles per hour
- In 2015 the busiest Tube station was Waterloo and used by around 95 million people
- The fastest line is the Metropolitan where trains can reach over 60mph
- Aldgate Station was built on a massive plague pit, where more than 1,000 bodies
- Dr Who’s Tardis can be found outside Earl’s Court station (well and an old blue police box can be found there)
- Sadly 50 passengers a year kill themselves by throwing themselves under a train
- One of the levels in Tomb Raider 3 is set in the disused Aldwych tube station, featuring scenes of Lara Croft killing rats.
- You can visit the disused Aldwych Station Tour with Brit Movie Tours
- Aldwych station is most commonly used for filming
- The London Underground Film Office gets over 200 requests a month
- During WWII the British Museum stored treasures in part of the Piccadilly line
- It is open for 24 hours on New Year and for special occasions such as the London Olympics
- Alcohol was banned on the Tube from June 2008
- December 4 2015 was its busiest day to date when 4.82 million people used it
- The Jubilee Line is the only track that connects with all the other lines
- Today about 55% of the London Underground is actually above the ground
Want more facts? Head over to this page where the independent wrote an article with 150 facts which being updated as stats change.
London Tube Tour
Fancy a tour? Traditional Tours offer you the chance to learn 150 years of history on our underground tube tour. The tour starts at Paddington Station and takes you to some of London’s most famous and peculiar tube stations. You will learn lots of interesting and lesser known facts including London’s Ghost stations and just how accurate the famous underground map really is. The tour lasts for 2 hours and you will need a zone 1 travelcard or an Oyster card topped up with at least £7 of pay-as-you-go credit. The tour costs £15 for adults and £12 for children. Click here for more details and booking. We look forward to warning you to ‘Mind the Gap’.