10 Facts about the London Underground

Welcome to 10 Facts, the place where we give you 10 facts about a topic.

This week’s facts are all about the London Underground.

1. The oldest underground

The London Underground has the oldest section of underground railway in the world, which opened in 1863.

This probably goes a long way into explaining why there are constant engineering works and things never work properly.

2. The Underground since when?

The Underground name first appeared on stations in 1908.

It seems weird that it took them so long to get to the Underground name when it’s basically trains underground. Or is it?

3. Only 45% underground

Only 45 per cent of the Underground is actually in tunnels underground.

That means that 55%, or the majority, of the London Underground is actually above ground which means the Underground name is a lie!

OK in fairness it’s mostly the newer parts of the Underground network on the outskirts of London that are above ground, the older parts are underground.

On a side note I’m sad enough to know when several lines go into the tunnels on my end.

4. ‘The Roundel’

The Tube’s logo is known as “the roundel”.

Yes that’s right the London Underground’s logo has a name. Since it doesn’t appear to be very well-known they might want to look into some branding for it.

5. Third largest in the world

The London Underground is thought to be the third largest metro system in the world, in terms of miles, after the Beijing Subway and the Shanghai Metro.

At one point the London Underground would have been the largest and if others keep growing soon it won’t even be third as it slowly slips down the table. Sadly that is much like Britain as a whole.

6. Third busiest in Europe

The London Underground is the third busiest metro system in Europe, after Moscow and Paris.

That’s fine. The London Underground is crowded enough as it is during rush hour or any time I need to use it to get somewhere, I think you all sit at home waiting for those moments.

7. Longest journey without a change

The longest journey without change is on the Central line from West Ruislip to Epping, and is a total of 34.1 miles.

I have actually done this journey with a couple of friends, simply so we can say that we’ve done it, and it’s not fun. Get to see lots of leafy suburbs though. Oh and tunnel. Lots and lots of tunnel. Honestly its a waste of a couple of hours.

8. Station with no letters from the word ‘mackerel’

There is only one Tube station which does not have any letters of the word ‘mackerel’ in it: St John’s Wood.

I don’t know if or when you will ever need to know such a fact but I found it interesting. Also I want to know who worked out such a fact. How much time do they have on their hands? Is the word ‘mackerel’ standard for such tests?

9. Stations with all five vowels

There are only two tube station names that contain all five vowels: Mansion House, and South Ealing.

I sort of feel like this is cheating since both stations are made up of two words but nevertheless it is something interesting.

10. Above a plague pit

Aldgate Station, on the Circle and Metropolitan Lines, is built on a massive plague pit, where more than 1,000 bodies were buried in 1665.

I bet if you are ever at Aldgate Station you won’t be able to stop thinking about that now will you. All those dead plague bodies beneath your feet. It sounds like the sort of place perfect for a horror film.


Those are 10 facts about the London Underground, remember to check back next week for more 10 facts.

If you have any suggestions for things you would like us to do 10 facts on leave them in the comments below.


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