33 Thrilling Facts About London Underground [The Tube]
London’s Underground network – commonly referred to as ‘The London Tube’ – been getting us around since 1863 and, unsurprisingly, it has some weird and wonderful stories to tell.
Here are some fun, freaky and fascinating things that you should know the next time you find yourself wandering through the tunnels of our beloved London Underground.
1.The London Tube is the oldest underground railway network in the world – Opened in 1863, the Tube is so old that at one time it was possible to take it into town to watch public executions!
2. The Metropolitan line is the oldest tube line.
5. The Tube travels over 43 million miles every year – For reference, that’s halfway to the sun and 90 trips to the moon and back!
10. During World War 2, London Underground was a haven for civilians seeking shelter during the air raids. In fact, special supply trains ran along the lines, delivering tea and cocoa every night to those sheltering in the stations.
13. 3 Babies have been born on the Tube – In 1924, 2008 and 2009.
14. The famous London Underground map was designed by Henry Beck – Beck was only paid 10 guineas (£10.50) for his design, which is now recognized the world over.
15. Smoking on the Tube was only banned in 1987 – This was after a fire in Kings Cross Station, sparked by a discarded match, that killed 31 people.
17. There are approximately 49 abandoned stations.
18. And approximately 50 passengers a year kill themselves on the Underground.
19. The Northern line is the naughtiest tube line…
20. It’s also the dirtiest.
21. An air quality study in 2002 found that 20 minutes on the Northern line has the same effect as smoking a cigarette.
22. During the 2012 Olympic Games, the Underground saw its busiest day ever, carrying 4.4 million passengers on 3 August. Although this was an impressive amount, it was beaten in November, when 4.58 million passengers used the Underground on one Friday.
23. The busiest tube station during peak morning hours is Waterloo and sees around 57,000+ people running around like sweaty lunatics in a futile attempt to get to work on time.
24. One of the voices you may have heard warning you to “please mind the gap” is actually from up north, despite the ‘proper’ English accent.
25. The auditions and testing processes for the different voices and scripts were taken very seriously, and it took over 18 months for them to choose.
27. The longest distance is 3.89 miles.
28. Balham is the only Underground station that doesn’t have any of the letters of the word ‘underground’ in it.
29. The Victoria line was going to be known as the Viking line.
31. An estimated half a million mice live in the Underground system.
32. Ridiculously, the London Underground has its own species of mosquitoes that inhabit it. Having evolved to survive underground, they’re completely different to any mosquitoes living above ground.
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