16 Things You May Not Know About The London Underground

Photo of Ellie Griffiths
12 April 2017

Did you know that during the Second World War, many London Underground stations were used as air-raid shelters? And the Central Line became a fighter aircraft factory with its very own railway system? There are many fascinating things that you should know the next time you find yourself wandering through the tunnels.

© Tom Page / Flickr

In 1908, the ‘Underground’ name first appeared on stations; however, its nickname is ‘The Tube’.

© Jase Curtis / Flickr

The London Underground network spans a total length of 250 miles.

© Maria Molinero / Unsplash

Love to play Monopoly? Then you will recognise three Tube stations listed throughout the game: Liverpool Street Station, King’s Cross, and Marylebone.

© tpsdave / Pixabay

It is believed that the ghost of William Terris has haunted Covent Garden station since his untimely death in 1897. This isn’t the only station believed to be haunted; don’t forget to watch out for the so-called Screaming Spectre at Farringdon.

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On 10 January 1863, the Metropolitan Line saw around 30,000 passengers on its first day of public business.

© Dwayne Paisley-Marshall / Unsplash

Beginning in September 1940, the Underground was used as an air raid shelter, with special supply trains that would provide seven tonnes worth of food and 2,400 gallons of tea and cocoa to those who took shelter.

© Foundry / Pixabay

Ever thought of the word ‘mackerel’? Every tube station has a letter from this word in it’s name — every station except St John’s Wood, that is.

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Aldgate Station was built on top of a massive plague pit (it is believed that over 1,000 bodies were buried there).

© Stròlic Furlàn – Davide Gabino / Flickr

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.

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Underneath the city lies the medieval street plan, which the tunnels follow; this explains the curves along the journey.

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If you believe that ‘the entire Underground is in tunnels!’… you are wrong! Only 45% is actually in tunnels.

© Tom Page / Flickr

Travelling along the Victoria Line? Did you know it was proposed to be called the Viking Line?

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As a result of the King’s Cross fire in November 1987 (which killed 31 people), the wooden escalators still in use were replaced.

© skeeze / Pixabay

In 1943, 173 people died in a single incident at Bethnal Green, the worst civilian death toll on the Underground.

© Stròlic Furlàn – Davide Gabino / Flickr

Although Angel is said to have the longest escalator, measuring at a staggering 60m (with a vertical rise of 27.5m), the DLR concourse at Bank is known as the deepest station, measuring 41.4m below street level.

© Annie Mole / Flickr

For the Harry Potter lovers: the Hogwarts headmaster mentions a scar (on his knee) that appears to resemble the map of the London Underground. Don’t believe us? Consider it an excuse to read The Philosopher’s Stone once again.

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