As you walk around London, tube trains are constantly whizzing around under your feet. The London Underground is a convenient and fast transit system that covers most of Greater London. Although 55% of the network is above ground, the system is officially referred to as the London Underground. It is also often called “The Tube” due to the shape of the tunnels. Impressively, it was the first underground railway system of its kind. Before its creation in 1863, the world had never seen an underground railway. To top it off, it was the first system to use electronically operated trains in 1890.
Different private companies built the earlier lines of the London Underground network. They were operated separately and, as a result, difficult to change between. In the year 1933, the London Passenger Transport Board was formed to integrate all the separate lines into one transport system. Going further in 1985, the UK Government made the network into a single entity, London Underground Limited (LUL).
LUL has been owned by Transport for London as a subsidiary since 2003. TfL is a statutory company in charge of most aspects of the London transport system. It is run by a board and commissioner chosen by the Mayor of London. Today, it has 270 stations and around 250 miles of track. It is the longest metro system on Earth and has one of the largest numbers of stations. Over a billion journeys were made in the system in 2007, making the London tube the second busiest metro system in the EU, after the Metropolitan in Paris. One of the most iconic parts of London’s Underground is the “tube map”. It is considered a design classic due to its schematic, non-geographical layout and multi-colored lines.
The London tube map has influenced transport maps all over the globe. Its history continued high level of service and this make London proud. It is a fact that London is considered as one of the most diverse cities in the world. The city is made up of 270 nationalities with more than 250 different languages spoken. There are five airports all with immensely accessible transport links. Once landed, getting around is easy, the underground is very easy to navigate and if you stay away from rush hour, you will easily find seats and find the whole process quite pleasurable. Other modes of transport include the famous London buses or black cabs. Either way you will be able to get about quite easily and if you want to see some attractions, you could always take a trip on an open tour bus.
There are hundreds of hotels or bed and breakfasts to suite any budget. You can stay at anything from a world renowned 5 star hotel such as the Ritz or the Carlton, but there are also plenty of budget friendly accommodation including youth hostels from about £15 a night. If you are planning to visit London, you can be sure that there are plenty of things to do and places to see.