|Locale||Greater London, Chiltern, Epping Forest, Three Rivers and Watford|
|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||11|
|Number of stations||270 served (260 owned)|
|Daily ridership||2.95 million (approximate)
3.4 million (weekdays) (approximate)
|Began operation||10 January 1863|
|Operator(s)||Transport for London|
|System length||400 kilometres (250 mi) (approximate)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 81⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Part of a series of articles on
The London Underground is a system of electric trains which are in London, United Kingdom. It is the oldest underground railway in the world. It started running in 1863 as the Metropolitan Railway. After the opening the system was copied in many other cities, for example New York and Madrid. Even though it is called the Underground about half of it is above the ground. The "Tube" is a slang name for the London Underground, because the tunnels for some of the lines are round tubes running through the ground. The Underground has got 274 stations and over 408 km of track. Some lines and stations were also closed after a time, for example Aldwych. From 2006–2007 over 1 billion passengers used the underground.
The Metropolitan Line was the first part of the Underground to be made. It was opened in 1863. It then ran between Paddington and Farringdon. It took 40,000 passengers per day. Later it was made longer. The District Line was built by a different company. In 1884, the Circle Line was finished. All these lines used steam engines at first.
In 1890, a line using electric trains was opened. It was much deeper below ground than the other lines. Now it is part of the Northern Line. More lines like this were opened. People liked them, so in 1905 the lines that used steam engines were changed to use electric trains.
Into the 20th century [change]
Because the different lines were run by different companies, changing lines was difficult. Between 1900 and 1902 Charles Yerkes bought most of the companies and formed a company named Underground Electric Railways of London Company Ltd, short UERL.
In the 1930s and 1940s [change]
In 1933 a company was formed of all the bus, tram and underground companies, called London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB). It planned to make the network longer, but the Second World War stopped this. In the war, some Underground stations were used as shelters against bombs.
After the war [change]
After the war more passengers used the underground. Because of that they built the Victoria Line which took over many passengers. The Piccadilly Line was built farther to Heathrow Airport in 1977. The Jubilee Line was opened in 1979. In 1999 the Jubilee Line was built longer to Stratford.
The system uses two kinds of trains, a big one and a small one. The big ones are used for the rectangular tunnels (District Line, Metropolitan Line, Circle Line), the small ones for the round tunnels. The underground uses trains built between 1960 and 1996
The Underground's trains usually drive to 270 stations.
14 Stations are outside of London.
Here is a list of the London Underground lines
per year (1000's)
|Bakerloo line||1906||1906||Deep level||23.2||14.5||25||95,947|
|Central line||1900||1900||Deep level||74||46||49||183,582|
|East London line||1869||1980s||Sub-surface||7.4||4.6||8||10,429|
|Hammersmith & City line||1863||1988||Sub-surface||26.5||16.5||28||45,845|
|Jubilee line||1879||1979||Deep level||36.2||22.5||27||127,584|
|Northern line||1890||1937||Deep level||58||36||50||206,734|
|Piccadilly line||1906||1906||Deep level||71||44.3||52||176,177|
|Victoria line||1968||1968||Deep level||21||13.25||16||161,319|
|Waterloo & City line||1898||1898||Deep level||2.5||1.5||2||9,616|
The Underground uses zones to collect fares. Zone 1 is the most central, with a boundary just beyond the Circle Line, and Zone 6 is the outermost and includes London Heathrow Airport. Stations on the Metropolitan Line outside London are in special Zones A to D.
There are ticket offices, some open only in the rush-hour, and ticket machines, which can be used at any time. Some machines take coins only, other touch-screen machines take coins and English notes, and usually give change. These machines also take credit and debit cards: some newer machines accept cards only.
Summary of ticket types [change]
The following tickets are available from London Underground and TfL ticket offices to use on the Underground:
|Ticket||Paper||Oyster||Off peak version||Notes|
|Single||Yes||Yes||Yes (on Oyster)||Paper tickets are more expensive.|
|Day Travelcard||Yes||No||Yes||The maximum daily spend on Oyster is capped at 50p below the Travelcard price.|
|Monthly Travelcard||No||Yes||No||Requires registration.|
|Annual Travelcard||No||Yes||No||Requires registration.|
There is also the Oyster Card, a plastic card (like a credit card) which stores credit (money and Travelcards) which the owner uses to pay for Underground travel. The user must "charge" (put money onto) their card at a ticket machine then touch the card on the yellow readers to pay for their journey. Since its introduction in 2002 it has become very popular with regular travellers, as the prices are much cheaper if you use an Oyster card.
Station access [change]
When most of the stations in the London Underground system were built, disabled and wheelchair access was not considered. While many above-ground stations have only a few steps to the platform, nearly all Underground stations have some of the systems's 410 escalators and 112 lifts (elevators). Newer stations include disabled access, and many older stations install disabled access when they are refurbished or rebuilt. Since 2004, maps inside the trains show which stations have step-free access from street level. Transport for London plan to have a network of over 100 fully accessible stations by 2020, which means that 75% of Tube journeys can be made with step-free access.
The escalators in the London Underground system are some of the longest in Europe. They run 20 hours a day, 364 days a year and are used by 13,000 people per hour, with 95% of them running at one time.
There have been relatively few accidents in the Underground's history. Most happen if people accidentally fall onto the tracks. In some stations there are pits in the middle of the track to stop people being injured if they fall onto the track. Newly rebuilt parts of the system, especially on the Jubilee line, have platform doors. These doors only open when a train stops and prevent people falling or jumping onto the tracks.
Platform doors [change]
In recent years, refurbished and rebuilt parts of the Underground, especially the Jubilee Line (around Westminster) have had sliding platform doors installed to prevent people falling off the platform onto the tracks, and discourage/prevent suicides.
Bomb Attacks [change]
In the 30s, 70s and 90s the Underground was bombed many times by the IRA, and for this reason there have been no wastebins in or around stations until very recently, when clear plastic sacks were introduced in some parts of the system. On 7th July 2005 there were three attacks by radical Islamic terrorists on two Circle Line trains and on one Piccadilly Line.
Smoking is not allowed in any part of the underground. It was banned after a fire in King's Cross Station in 1987.
The future [change]
Piccadilly Line extension to Terminal 5 [change]
A new station is being built on the Piccadilly Line for the new Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport. The new part is called the PiccEx. It has two-platform station, two sidings where trains can be put, a ventilation shaft and two escape shafts. Building of the two tunnels, the ventilation shaft, one escape shaft and parts of T5 station have been finished and tracks are being laid. The junction between PiccEx and the Heathrow Loop is being built. This work required that the tunnel between Terminal 4 and Terminals 1,2,3 could not be used until 17 September 2006. The extension opened in 2008.
East London Line extension [change]
There are plans to extend the East London Line (ELL) to the north and the south.Shoreditch station was closed in June 2006 and the line north of Whitechapel will run on the old Broad Street viaduct to Dalston and along the North London Line to Highbury & Islington, for a interchange with the Victoria Line. To the south, two branches are planned, using railway lines, that are already built. The first will run to West Croydon, the second to Clapham Junction.
The new stations north of Whitechapel will be:
The East London Line will become a more important line, and when the extension is open it will be run as part of the London Overground.
London Underground fares are now the most expensive of any rail system around the world, including the luxorious Orient Express, and they continue to rise at very high levels.. Concern has also been raised over the huge difference between oyster card fares and cash fares, with the criticism that the high cash fares will discourage tourists and day visitors to London from travelling around the City..
Because the underground is a very old system, engineering work is often needed and often causes delays. There can be other reasons as well, for example signal failures or other breakdowns. Customers can claim a refund if their tube journey is delayed for more than 15 minutes due to problems within the control of Transport For London .
Because many more commuters use the underground than planned, overcrowding often happens. This can cause stress and frustration with the underground system among commuters. According to a report by MPs, commuters face "a daily trauma" and are often forced to travel in "intolerable conditions"
Industrial action [change]
Because so many passengers travel on the London Underground network every day, strikes or industrial actions on the Underground network have a very high impact on London's traffic and can impact on London's economy. London Underground and the rail unions claim to be under high pressure from the working public, private businesses and government departments.
Strike actions on the London Underground occur for a number of reasons, including health and safety, working conditions and pay levels. There were several such strikes in the late 1970s.
- Average daily ridership taken as a daily average of yearly ridership (1073 million) divided by 364 (an average year minus Christmas Day). Yearly figure according to ""Key facts". Transport for London. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/modesoftransport/londonunderground/1608.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- The London Underground
- "Tube breaks record for passenger numbers". Transport for London. 2007-12-27. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/archive/7103.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-17.
Other Websites [change]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: London Underground|
- Transport for London Home page
- British Transport Police
- London Transport Museum