Facts of the London Underground: Part I
Some of the Many Facts of the Tube Network
There are many different facts that are relatively unknown on the London Underground, no matter how many journeys a year you make there’s always more to learn.
- Every week on the Underground the escalators are always moving to help the flow of passengers throughout the station, most stations have escalators, maybe one or two or possibly three to each platform. The fact is that the escalators travel so far, every week it’s the equivalent of going around the world, twice.
- The furthest possible journey you can take on a single line is between West Ruislip and Epping. This journey is not online, the longest which will carry you 34 miles but also along the busiest line throughout the whole network, making the trip very uncomfortable during rush hour.
- The Jubilee Line used to be the only line that connects with every other tube line on the network, however, before the Jubilee Line extension, this wasn’t the case as the line connects with many other routes after the extension. In 2007, the Central Line linked up with all other lines as the East London Line became part of the London Underground.
- The next fact is that the London Underground is 55 percent overground, meaning that there is now more above the ground than below. The Victoria Line is the longest line that is fully underground (apart from the overground depot) with the much shorter Waterloo and City Line also fully underground.
- The designer of the original London Underground map based his design off an electrical circuit diagram. The tube map was originally created in 1931 by a man named Harry Beck, he drew the diagram in his own time while working in London Underground’s signal office. It was reported that he was paid ten guineas for his efforts on creating the tube map; that is around £10.50 in today’s world.
- The average speed on the London Underground is just above 20 miles per hour this is including station stops. The fastest tubes can go is on the Metropolitan Line where trains can get above three times the average speed to over 60 miles per hour.
- The morning peak time lasts for three hours, during this time Waterloo is the busiest station on the network seeing just under 60,000 people pass through, 57,000 to be exact. Unsurprisingly, Waterloo is the busiest station in London with over around 100 million journeys passing through it every year. Waterloo Station holds many awards this is including the station with the most escalators as it has a total of 23.
- In November 1987, there was a fire at King’s Cross station which killed 31 people and the cause of the fire is believed to be a discarded match and subsequently London Underground banned smoking on the underground in an attempt to not get a repeat of what happened that year.
- The well-known phrase “Mind the gap” has been in use since 1968 and was recorded by Peter Lodge who has a recording company in Bayswater. The phrase is still used to this day but some lines hear a Manchester voice artist who goes by the name of Emma Clarke. The Piccadilly Line uses the voice of Tim Bentinick.
- The Central Line has the most stations that don’t have an above ground building the stations are Bank, Notting Hill Gate, Gants Hill, Bethnal Green and Chancery Lane.
There are ten random facts about London’s tube network, however, there are hundreds of facts and many of them dating back to the World Wars and even facts that are being found out today and more to come in the future especially after the addition of Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) and possibly a second Crossrail.