No matter how many times you ride it, there's always something new to learn about the London Underground. Here's 25 of the most interesting facts... 

London Underground Public Subway
Photo by John Jackson on Unsplash

  • The network of tunnels extends to 249 miles. For comparison, it's only 204 miles from Hull to London
  • The network became known as the Tube in the early part of the twentieth century. This is an abbreviation of the nickname The Twopenny Tube, which was given to the Central Line because all fares cost tuppence.
  • The designer of the iconic Underground map, Harry Beck, based his design on an electrical circuit diagram.
  • The average speed on the Underground is 20.5 miles per hour, including station stops. On the Metropolitan line, trains can reach over 60 mph.
  • The shortest distance between two adjacent stations on the network is only 260 metres and the longest is 6.3 kilometres.
  • The tunnels on the Central line twist and turn because they follow the curves of London's medieval street plan.
  • There is a prevalent north/south divide on the Underground; less than 10% of stations are south of the Thames.
  • The Underground was funded entirely by private companies until the 1930's.
  • Alcohol was banned on the Tube and all London Transport from June 2008.
  • During the three-hour morning peak, the busiest Tube station is Waterloo, with around 57,000 people entering.
  • Every week, Underground escalators travel the equivalent distance of going twice around the world.
  • Penalty fares were only introduced in 1994.
  • The Jubilee Line is the only one to connect with all the other Underground Lines.
  • Over 1,000 bodies lie beneath Aldgate station, which is built over a plague pit from 1665.
  • The London Underground has a staggering 270 stations.
  • The longest possible single journey on one train is 34 miles, between West Ruislip and Epping on the Central Line.
  • During the Second World War, part of the Piccadilly line was used to store British Museum treasures.
  • Around 55% of the London Underground is actually above the ground.
  • On the columns at Temple station, there are small temple-shaped emblems at the bases.
  • There are 49 abandoned 'ghost' stations on the network, plus North End (Bull & Bush) on the Northern Line near Hampstead, a station that was started but never completed because it became a protected area.
  • The shape of north and west London was largely defined by the extension of the underground railway network.
  • A team of railway enthusiasts spent 26 years researching six miles of vintage wall tiling on 94 station platforms for a book.
  • The round blue and red logo is the oldest corporate brand of modern times and has inspired similar designs around the world.
  • Black arches are hidden in the green and cream tiling pattern at Archway station.
  • Canary Wharf, home to city bankers and high-rises, serves 40 million people every year through the station, which measures the length of two football pitches.

London Underground tube train
Photo by Tomas Anton Escobar on Unsplash

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  • 11 December 2020 Weekdays
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