The London Underground is one of the world's oldest mass-transit system. Since its opening in 1863, the metro system has expanded to 402 kilometers (250 miles) of track serving 270 stations, this one near the Kensington neighborhood.

Photograph by Marcell Erasmus, MyShot
  • On January 10, 1863, the London Underground (also known as the "Tube") opened to passengers. The London Underground is the world’s oldest underground railway. Initial service ran between London Paddington station and Farringdon station. Forty thousand passengers were carried on the first day of service. Today, more than 3 million people ride the Underground every day.

    Currently, the London Underground has more than 402 kilometers (250 miles) of track serving 270 stations; it is the longest rapid-transit system in the world. Navigating this system is made easier by the iconic London Underground map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931. Beck’s map used a schematic diagram approach, showing relative locations, rather than actual geographic locations, in order to simplify the highly dense information.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    dense Adjective

    having parts or molecules that are packed closely together.

    initial Adjective


    map Noun

    symbolic representation of selected characteristics of a place, usually drawn on a flat surface.

    Encyclopedic Entry: map
    railway Noun

    stretch of railroad between two points.

    relative location Noun

    general spot where something is located; its place in relation to something else.

    schematic diagram Noun

    representation of a system that uses symbols or graphics.