34 Crazy Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About The Tube

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It’s been getting us around since 1863 and, unsurprisingly, it has some weird and wonderful stories to tell.

Here are some fun, freaky and frankly quite interesting facts about our beloved London Underground.

 

1. Liverpool Street station is built upon an ancient burial site and in 2015, archaeologists unearthed 3,000 skeletons.

2. Aldgate Station is also built above a huge plague pit that holds over 1,000 bodies.

3. The Northern line is the naughtiest tube line…

Northern-line-dirty-naughty-London-underground
[Flickr | Nico Hogg]
4. It’s also the dirtiest.

5. So dirty that 20 minutes on the Northern line is said to be the equivalent of smoking a cigarette.

6. The Tube travels 43 million miles every year. That’s halfway to the sun.

7. At first, the Underground had no windows and the carriages were nicknamed “padded cells”.

8. One of the voices you may have heard warning you to “please mind the gap” is actually from up north, despite the ‘proper’ English accent. 

mind-the-gap-london-underground-tube-facts
[Flickr | Marco Leo]
9. The auditions and testing processes for the different voices and scripts were taken very seriously, and it took over 18 months for them to choose. 

10. They couldn’t decide how they wanted ‘Marylebone’ to be pronounced on the announcements. 

11. Emma was later sacked for uploading a spoof video to Youtube, which supposedly “insulted” the London Underground. 

12. Nearly 60% of the tube is actually overground. (And before you say it, that’s not including the actual Overground).

13. There’s technically a station called ‘British Museum‘ between Tottenham Court Road and Holborn, but it hasn’t been used 1932.

14. Down Street is another ‘ghost’ station, which Winston Churchill used as a bunker during WW2.

15. There are approximately 49 abandoned stations.

16. The Victoria line was going to be called the Viking line.

viking-tube-line-victoria-london-underground-facts
[Flickr | Hans Splinter]
17. The Jubilee line was going to be called the Fleet line.

18. London Underground tried to introduce a floral fragrance that was triggered by commuters feet. Following a trial, it turned out people hated it and they stopped it the next day.

19. In 1909, Selfridges campaigned to change the name of ‘Bond Street’ station to ‘Selfridges’. It didn’t happen. Obviously.

bond-street-london-underground-tube-facts
[Flickr | Buh Smarf]
20. The shortest distance between two adjacent stations is 260 metres (Leicester Square to Covent Garden).

21. The longest distance is 3.89 miles.

22. Less than 10% of tube stations are south of the Thames.

23. Every week, the Underground’s escalators travel the equivalent distance of twice around the world.

london-underground-escalators-tube-facts
[Flickr | Di_Chap]
24. Three babies have been born on the tube.

25. Rumour once had it that the first baby to be born on the tube was named Thelma Ursula Beatrice Eleanor (so her initials read, er, t-u-b-e). Shame that turned out to be a big fat lie and her name was actually Marie Cordery.

26. American talk show host, Jerry Springer, was born at East Finchley station while his mum was taking shelter during the war.

27. Ronan McDonald and Clive Burgess are the current record holders for the Tube Challenge. They visited every single tube station in just 16 hours, 14 minutes and 10 seconds in February 2015.

28. In cockney rhyming slang, the tube is known as ‘the Oxo’. As in Oxo cube (tube).

oxo-cube-tube-london-underground-facts
[Flickr | H is for Home]
29. The Metropolitan line is the oldest tube line.

30. It’s also the fastest.

31. Sweaty humans aren’t the only animals to have travelled on the tube. Others include woodpeckers, newts and grass snakes.

32.The London Underground is the third busiest metro system in Europe, after Moscow and Paris.

33. The Central line used to be called the ‘Twopenny Tube’ because it cost a tuppence a ride.

tuppence-two-pence-tube-central-line-london-underground-facts
[Flickr | Matt Biddulph]
34. The London Underground Film Office handles over 200 requests a month.

 

Feature Image: Alexandra Stevenson (Flickr)

Georgie Hoole

Georgie Hoole

Georgie is Deputy Editor at Secret London. She loves a trendy café and is all too familiar with the extortionate price of a coffee in the capital. She enjoys the finer things in life (like red wine on a school night and eating Ben and Jerry's straight from the tub) and hasn't quite grasped the concept of adulthood yet.