I Love the London Underground

When I used to live in London I loved travelling with the Tube. Despite all the work and failures that constantly happened. Coming from a small I was just happy to be able to go everyhwere so quickly. The sound of the closing doors, the beeping and the annoucements are just such a classic. There's hardly anything better to improve your day than a driver making some funny/entertaining announcement. I love the Tube and its history as oldest underground railway in the world. How they used actual steam trains underground. The colours they use for the lines and the Metropolitan's purple will always be my colour.

What is the London Underground

The London Underground (also known as the Tube or simply the Underground) is a public metro system serving a large part of Greater London and parts of the counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. The system serves 270 stations and has 402 kilometres (250 miles) of track, 55 per cent of which is above ground. The network incorporates the world's first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863 and is now part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines; and the first line to operate underground electric traction trains, the City & South London Railway in 1890, now part of the Northern line. The network has expanded to 11 lines, and in 2012/13 carried over 1 billion passengers.

The system's first tunnels were built just below the surface using the cut and cover method. Later, circular tunnels — which give rise to its nickname the Tube — were dug through the London Clay at a deeper level. The early lines were marketed as the UNDERGROUND in the early 20th century on maps and signs at central London stations. The private companies that owned and ran the railways were merged in 1933 to form the London Passenger Transport Board. The current operator, London Underground Limited (LUL), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), the statutory corporation responsible for most elements of the transport network in Greater London.

As of 2012, 91 per cent of operational expenditure is covered by passenger fares. The Travelcard ticket was introduced in 1983 and Oyster, an electronic ticketing system, in 2003.

Today in official publicity and in general, the term 'Tube' embraces the whole Underground system, not just the lines that run in deep-level tunnels. The schematic Tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931, was voted a national design icon in 2006 and now includes other lines - the Docklands Light Railway and London Overground - as well as the non-rail Emirates Air Line.


The Underground serves 270 stations. Fourteen Underground stations are outside Greater London, of which five (Amersham, Chalfont & Latimer, Chesham, and Chorleywood on the Metropolitan line, and Epping on the Central line), are beyond the M25 London Orbital motorway. Of the 32 London boroughs, six (Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Kingston, Lewisham and Sutton) are not served by the Underground network, while Hackney has Old Street and Manor House only just inside its boundaries.

London Underground's eleven lines total 402 kilometres (250 miles) in length, making it the fourth longest metro system in the world. These are made up of the sub-surface network and the deep-tube lines. The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines form the sub- surface network, with railway tunnels just below the surface and of a similar size to those on British main lines. The Hammersmith & City and Circle lines share stations and most of their track with each other, as well as with the Metropolitan and District lines. The Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo & City lines are deep-level tubes, with smaller trains that run in two circular tunnels (tubes) with a diameter about 11 feet 8 inches (3.56 m). These lines have the exclusive use of a pair of tracks, except for the Piccadilly line, which shares track with the District line between Acton Town and Hanger Lane Junction and with the Metropolitan line between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge, and the Bakerloo line, which shares track with London Overground services north of Queen's Park. Fifty-five per cent of the system runs on the surface, and there are 32 km (20 miles) of cut-and-cover tunnel and 150 km (93 miles) of tube tunnel. Many of the central London underground stations on deep-level tube lines are higher than the running lines to assist deceleration when arriving and acceleration when departing. Trains generally run on the left-hand track, although in some places the tunnels are above each other, for example the Central line east of St Paul's station, or the running tunnels are on the right, for example on the Victoria line between Warren Street and King's Cross St. Pancras to allow cross-platform interchange with the Northern line between northbound and southbound trains at Euston.

The lines are electrified with a four-rail DC system: a conductor rail between the rails is energised at -210 V and a rail outside the running rails at +420 V, giving a potential difference of 630 V. On the sections of line shared with mainline trains, such as the District line from East Putney to Wimbledon and Gunnersbury to Richmond, and the Bakerloo line north of Queen's Park, the centre rail is bonded to the running rails.


Bakerloo line — the Brown line operates since 1906 on a length of 23.2 km (14.5 miles) with 25 stations.
Central line — the Red line operates since 1900 on a length of 74 km (46 mi) with 49 1992 Stock stations.
Circle line — the Yellow line operates since 1871 on a length of 27.2 km (17 mi) with 36 stations.
District line — the Green line operates since 1868 on a length of 64 km (40 mi) with 60 stations.
Hammersmith & City line — the Pink line operates since 1864 on a length of 25.5 km (15.9 mi) with 29 stations.
Jubilee line — the Silver line operates since 1979 on a length of 36.2 km (22.5 mi) with 27 stations.
Metropolitan line — the Purple line operates since 1863 on a length of 66.7 km (41.5 mi) with 34 stations.
Northern line — the Black line operates since 1890 on a length of 58 km (36 mi) with 50 stations.
Piccadilly line — the Dark Blue line operates since 1906 on a length of 71 km (44.3 mi) with 53 stations.
Victoria line — the Light Blue line operates since 1968 on a length of 21 km (13.3 mi) with 16 stations.
Waterloo & City line — the Turquoise line operates since 1898 on a length of 2.5 km (1.5 mi) with 2 stations.


London Underground trains come in two sizes, larger sub-surface trains and smaller deep-tube trains. Since the early 1960s all passenger trains have been electric multiple units with sliding doors and a train last ran with a guard in 2000. All lines use fixed length trains with between six and eight cars, except for the Waterloo & City line that uses four cars. New trains are designed for maximum number of standing passengers and for speed of access to the cars and have regenerative braking and public address systems. Since 1999 all new stock has had to comply with accessibility regulations that require such things as access and room for wheelchairs, and the size and location of door controls. All underground trains are required to comply with the The Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non Interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 (RVAR 2010) by 2020.

Stock on sub-surface lines is identified by a letter (such as S Stock, used on the Metropolitan line), while tube stock is identified by the year of intended introduction (for example, 1996 Stock, used on the Jubilee line).

Lifts and Escalators

Originally access to the deep-tube platforms was by a lift. Each lift was manned, and at some quiet stations in the 1920s the ticket office was moved into the lift, or it was arranged that the lift could be controlled from the ticket office. The first escalator on the London Underground was installed in 1911 between the District and Piccadilly platforms at Earl's Court and from the following year new deep-level stations were provided with escalators instead of lifts. The escalators had a diagonal shunt at the top landing. In 1921 a recorded voice instructed passengers to stand on the right and signs followed in World War II. Travellers were asked to stand on the right so that anyone wishing to overtake them at the end would have an extra section of moving stairway. The first 'comb' type escalator was installed in 1924 at Clapham Common. In the 1920s and 1930s many lifts were replaced by escalators.

There are 426 escalators on the London Underground system and the longest, at 60 metres (200 ft), is at Angel. The shortest, at Stratford, gives a vertical rise of 4.1 metres (13 ft). There are 164 lifts, and numbers have increased in recent years due to a programme to increase accessibility.


The Underground uses Transport for London's zonal fare system to calculate fares. There are nine zones, zone 1 being the central zone, which includes the loop of the Circle line with a few stations to the south of River Thames. The only London Underground stations in Zones 7 to 9 are on the Metropolitan line beyond Moor Park, outside Greater London. Some stations are in two zones, and the cheapest fare applies. Paper tickets or the contactless Oyster card can be used for travel. Single and return tickets are available in either format, but Travelcards (season tickets) for longer than a day are available only on Oyster cards.

TfL introduced the Oyster card in 2003; this is a pre-payment smartcard with an embedded contactless RFID chip. It can be loaded with Travelcards and used on the Underground, the Overground, buses, trams, the Docklands Light Railway, and National Rail services within London. Fares for single journeys are cheaper than paper tickets, and a daily cap limits the total cost in a day to the price of a Day Travelcard. The Oyster card must be 'touched in' at the start and end of a journey, otherwise it is regarded as 'incomplete' and the maximum fare charged. In March 2012 the cost of this in the previous year to travellers was £66.5 million. Contactless payment cards can be used instead of an Oyster card on buses, and as of November 2013 it is planned to extend this to the Underground in early 2014.

A concessionary fare scheme is operated by London Councils for residents who are disabled or meet certain age criteria. Residents born before 1951 were eligible after their 60th birthday, whereas those born in 1955 will need to wait for they are 66. Called a "Freedom Pass" it allows for free travel on TfL-operated routes at all times and is valid on some National Rail services within London at weekends and after 09:30 on Monday to Fridays. Since 2010, the Freedom Pass has included an embedded holder's photograph; it lasts five years between renewals.

In addition to automatic and staffed ticket gates, the Underground is patrolled by both uniformed and plain-clothes ticket inspectors with hand-held Oyster-card readers. Passengers travelling without a valid ticket must pay a penalty fare of £80 (or £40 if paid within 21 days) and can be prosecuted for fare evasion under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and Transport for London Byelaws.


Transport for London
London Underground Map
The Real Underground Morphing Map
List of Tube Stations
Underground History

source: wikipedia