The London Underground, or the Tube, is a British transit system which serves a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. Built in 1863, it is the world's oldest underground railway network and serves 275 stations along 402 kilometres (250 miles) of track. It is the second largest metro system in the world in terms of route miles, after the Shanghai Metro, and is the third busiest in terms of passengers. The first stretch of line - the Metropolitan, or Met - opened on January 10, 1863 and measured six kilometres (nearly four miles), running between Paddington (Bishop's Road) and Farringdon Street. The London Underground carries 1.2 billion passengers per year and is managed and maintained by Transport for London, part of the Greater London Authority.
The London Underground
The London Underground is often called the Tube. It was the first underground passenger railway in the world.
The first section opened in 1863. It has grown and grown. Now it is the longest city rail network in the world.
The Tube has about 400 kilometres of tracks.
It has 276 stations. It carries more than 1 billion people a year.
The idea of an underground railway in London was first brought up in the 1830s. There were many problems.
First, it was hard to find money for the project. The other problem was making the tunnels.
Today we have machines that can tunnel underground. In the 1860s, when work began, people had to dig a long hole and then cover it over.
When the first Underground line opened in 1863, the trains were steam trains. This added another problem. Openings - or vents - were needed on the surface to let out all the steam.
By 1900, the old steam trains were replaced by electric trains.
By this time, tunnelling had also become much more advanced. It became possible to make deeper and longer tunnels.
Mapping the Tube
In the beginning, the Tube was not very convenient. Passengers had to walk a long way to change lines. And as the network grew, it became confusing. The Underground needed a good map.
The first map came out in 1908. It had eight different coloured lines.
It was very confusing in the parts of London where there were many lines and stations.
In 1933, a man called Harry Beck came up with a solution. He based his map on a map for underground sewage systems. It showed how to get to a station and where to change.
It is considered a design classic. All subway system maps are now based on his design.
Flooding and ventilation
The London Underground is an amazing engineering success. But it still has problems.
Every day, tonnes of river water has to be pumped out. In the past, people worried it could one day be completely flooded if the Thames overflowed. In 1986, a flood barrier was built.
Ventilation is also a problem. In the summer, it can become dangerously hot. In 2001, some stations pumped a fragrance into the air. It was stopped after one day because it made some people unwell.
now do this
1 The London Underground is the longest city rail network in the world with ...
a. 276 kilometres of tracks
b. 400 kilometres of tracks
c. 1,000 kilometres of tracks
2 The Tube's classic map design came out in ...
3 The summer heat in the London Underground is a problem of ...
1. b, 2. c, 3. a