London Underground

The Tube

Useful Information

Image: inside the tube.
Location: London
Open: All year daily.
Fee: we recommend day tickets.
Classification: ExplainUnderground Railway
Light: electric.
Guided tours:  
Address: TfL Customer Relations, Floor 23, Empress State Building, Empress Approach, London SW6 1TR, Tel: 020-7222-5600. E-mail: contact
London Underground Customer Service Centre, 55 Broadway, London SW1H 0BD, Tel: 0845-330-9880. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


Image: Bank station.
10-JAN-1863 public service of the Metropolitan Railway started.
1870 Tower Subway opened.
1884 inner circle completed.
2015 scheduled completion of the upgrade of the four major lines.


Image: train entering Embankment station.

The London Underground is the first public underground transport system of the world. It was created with the first line, between Paddington and Farringdon, in 1863. It was a sort of inner city, partially underground, broad-gauge railroad. But there were many difficulties in operating steam locomotives inside a tunnel. Nevertheless the costruction was continued and by 1884 the inner circle, todays Circle Line, was completed.

Image: Embankment station.

The main technical difficulty of building railroads in a city were the lack of space, which was solved by building underground. The next problem was the stability of the tunnels, but new developments in deep-level tunnel design allowed stable tunnels to be constructed deep underground using tunnelling shields. The world's first underground tube railway was opened in 1870, the Tower Subway beneath the River Thames south of Tower Hill.

At this time the technology to build tunnels was still restricted, and the most stable tunnels were circular. The trains were built to fit this tube-like tunnels, and soon the underground was called The Tube by the public.

Today the London Underground is an all electric railway system that covers much of the conurbation of Greater London and some neighbouring areas. A dozen lines covere an area inhabited by almost 6 Million people. They also connect the city with Heathrow Airport.

The biggest upgrade since 1863 is going to take place during the next decade. All trains on the four major lines will be replaced by new air-conditioned cars until 2015.

London Underground Gallery