Tube Rubric: Fascinating Facts Of The London Underground

Should you never have visited London before, on your arrival in the UK capital there’s one major thing you’ll want to familiarise yourself with as soon as possible – the London Underground railway network. Known by all and sundry as the Tube, it ferries people of every demographic imaginable across the city – east to west; north to south – every day of the year (and now on some of the lines, through the night).

London underground

One of London’s undoubted icons, its subterranean greatness is renowned throughout the world – and rightly so. It’s the oldest underground urban railway on the planet, comprising a total 270 stations and a staggering 400 km of track.

It’s worth remembering too that little of it (no more than 10%) runs through South London. So here’s one of the important tips for visiting London you might want to take on board, if you plan to go ‘south of the river’ and, as you do so, rely on public transport, Overground trains and buses are your friends.

Moreover, in spite of its official moniker, just 45% of the Tube’s network travels through underground tunnels; the 55% majority of it actually runs above ground in Greater London – rather than in Central London where so much of the business, entertainment and nightlife options and places to stay (such as the Park Grand Paddington Court London hotel) can be found.

But for beginners, though, when it comes to all things Tube, what else ought they to know – or might find interesting about the London Underground? Well, why not read on and find out…?

Tube Line colours (as featured on all Tube maps)

  • Bakerloo – brown
  • Central – red
  • Circle – yellow
  • District – green
  • Hammersmith & City – pink
  • Jubilee – grey
  • Metropolitan – magenta
  • Northern – black
  • Piccadilly – dark blue
  • Victoria – light blue
  • Waterloo & City – turquoise

Dates of Tube line openings (oldest to youngest)

  • Hammersmith & City – 1863
  • Metropolitan – 1863
  • District – 1868
  • Northern – 1890
  • Waterloo & City – 1898
  • Central – 1900
  • Bakerloo – 1906
  • Piccadilly – 1906
  • Victoria – 1968
  • Jubilee – 1979

Number of stations per line (most to fewest)

  • District – 60
  • Piccadilly – 53
  • Northern – 50
  • Central – 49
  • Circle – 36
  • Metropolitan – 34
  • Hammersmith & City – 29
  • Jubilee – 27
  • Bakerloo – 25
  • Victoria – 16
  • Waterloo & City – 2

Maximum length of each line (east to west)

  • Central (Epping to West Ruislip) – 74km
  • Piccadilly (Cockfosters to Heathrow Terminal 5) – 71km
  • Metropolitan (Aldgate to Amersham) – 66.7km
  • District (Upminster to Richmond) – 64km
  • Northern (High Barnet to Mordern*) – 58km
  • Jubilee (Stratford to Stanmore) – 36.2km
  • Hammersmith & City (Barking to Hammersmith) – 25.5km
  • Bakerloo (Elephant & Castle to Harrow & Wealdstone) – 23.2km
  • Piccadilly (Walthamstow Central to Brixton*) – 21km
  • Waterloo & City (Bank to Waterloo*) – 2.37km

* north to south

Maximum depth of each Tube line (below ground level)

  • Northern (at Hampstead) – 58.9 metres
  • Piccadilly (at Covent Garden) – 37 metres
  • Victoria (at Euston) – 32.5m
  • Jubilee (at Green Park) – 31 metres
  • Central (at Oxford Circus) – 26.4 metres
  • Waterloo & City (at Bank) – 20 metres
  • District (at Aldgate East) – 9 metres
  • Metropolitan (at Barbican) – 8.6 metres
  • Hammersmith & City (at Baker Street) – 8.2 metres

Total annual passenger numbers for each line* (most to fewest)

  • Central – 260.9 million
  • Northern – 252.3 million
  • Jubilee – 213.6 million
  • Piccadilly – 210.2 million
  • District – 208 million
  • Victoria – 200 million
  • Circle/ Hammersmith & City – 114.6 million
  • Bakerloo – 111.1 million
  • Metropolitan – 66.8 million
  • Waterloo & City – 15.9 million

* year: 2011-12

Stations with the largest passenger numbers (in 2012)

  • Waterloo – 88.1 million
  • Victoria – 82.9 million
  • King’s Cross-St. Pancras – 80.9 million
  • Oxford Circus – 80.5 million
  • London Bridge – 67.1 million

And finally… never travelled on the Tube but familiar with it from the movies? That’s hardly surprising, as it’s featured in all of these prominent films:

  • An American Werewolf in London (1981) – horror comedy that features the outside of Piccadilly Circus station (Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines)
  • Sliding Doors (1998) – Brit romcom starring Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Die Another Day (2002) – Bond film in which the fictional ‘Vauxhall Cross’ station appears
  • Billy Elliot (2000) – 1980s-set ‘kitchen-sink-drama’ in which a then modern day Jubilee Line is featured
  • 28 Days Later (2002) – horror film in which Canary Wharf station (Jubilee line) appears
  • The Good Shepherd (2006), V for Vendetta (2006) and Atonement (2007) – dramas in which the now disused Aldwych station features
  • Skyfall (2012) – Bond film for which Charing Cross station and tunnels in the network were recreated in a movie studio
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) – comic book adventure movie that briefly features Charing Cross station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
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