London Underground: 150 fascinating Tube facts

Or how to bore your travelling companion on the bus during a tube strike.  These are taken from the Daily Telegraph.  Here are my top 30 (or so), avoiding a very long post!

1. There is only one Tube station which does not have any letters of the word ‘mackerel’ in it: St John’s Wood.

2. The average speed on the Underground is 20.5 miles per hour including station stops.

6. Many tube stations were used as air-raid shelters during the Second World War, but the Central Line was even converted into a fighter aircraft factory that stretched for over two miles, with its own railway system. Its existence remained an official secret until the 1980s.

9. Only 45 per cent of the Underground is actually in tunnels.

12. Aldgate Station, on the Circle and Metropolitan Lines, is built on a massive plague pit, where more than 1,000 bodies are buried.

17. The London Underground manages about 10 per cent of all green spaces in London.

18. Wildlife observed on the Tube network includes woodpeckers, deer, sparrowhawk, bats, grass snakes, great crested newts, slow worms.

19. Over 47 million litres water are pumped from the Tube each day, enough to fill a standard leisure centre swimming pool (25 metres x 10 metres) every quarter of an hour.

44. The tunnels beneath the City curve significantly because they follow its medieval street plan.

45. The Central line introduced the first flat fare when it opened at the turn of the 20th century. The tuppence fare lasted until the end of June 1907 when a threepenny fare was introduced for longer journeys.

52. Sting and Paul McCartney are both rumoured to have busked on the Underground in disguise.

55. The Jubilee Line is the only one to connect with all the other Underground Lines.

60. An estimated half a million mice live in the Underground system.

64.There are only two tube station names that contain all five vowels: Mansion House, and South Ealing.

68. In January 2005, in an attempt to alleviate a problem with loitering young people, the London Underground announced it would play classical music at problem stations.

69. The Underground has the oldest section of underground railway in the world, which opened in 1863.

72. During the Second World War, part of the Piccadilly line (Holborn – Aldwych branch), was closed and British Museum treasures were stored in the empty spaces.

74. The first Tube tunnel was opened in 1880, running from the Tower of London to Bermondsey.

91. A spiral escalator was installed in 1907 at Holloway Road station, but linear escalators were favoured for the rest of the network. A small section of the spiral escalator is in the Acton depot.

97. The coffin of Dr. Thomas Barnardo was carried in funeral cortege on an underground train in 1905, one of only two occasions this is known to have happened.

103. According to a 2002 study air quality on the Underground was 73 times worse than at street level, with 20 minutes on the Northern Line having “the same effect as smoking a cigarette”.

113. King’s Cross St Pancras tube station is served by more Underground lines than any other station on the network.

126. The River Westbourne was funnelled above a platform on Sloane Square in a large iron pipe suspended from girders. It remains in place today.

128. There is a mosquito named after the Tube – the London Underground mosquito, which was found in the London Underground. It was notable for its assault of Londoners sleeping in the Underground during the Blitz.

134. In cockney rhyming slang, the London Underground is known as the Oxo (Cube/ Tube).

144. A fragrance known as Madeleine was trialled at St. James Park, Euston, and Piccadilly stations in 2001, intended to make the Tube more pleasant. It was stopped within days after complaints from people saying they felt ill.

147. A 2011 study suggested 30 per cent of passengers take longer routes due to the out-of-scale distances on the Tube map.

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About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Out and about, Prototype, Weird and wonderful and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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