20 Mind-Blowing Facts About The London Underground

Mind the gap... and the mice.

The London Underground, also known simply as the Tube, is one of the most famous transport systems in the world and was the first ever rapid transit system. Since opening (in a very limited form) in 1863, it has expanded to feature 11 lines, 270 stations and over 1 billion passengers a year. It is one of the busiest metro rail systems in the world and one of the most iconic and recognisable parts of London life. Despite its rich and proud history, commuters can find catching the tube more of a necessary nightmare than a pleasurable experience. It's much too hot all year round, meaning that you'll stick to the seats in summer and sweat through your coat in winter. Unless you live at the end of the line, you're unlikely to ever get a seat during peak hour and so will start many of your days pressed into a stranger's armpit. When doing battle with other commuters and (especially) tourists and their bags, it can be hard to remember that the tube is a fascinating system with a million little quirks and idiosyncrasies. So next time you feel frustrated, bring to mind a few of these brilliant facts about the Underground.

20. Trains Travel 43 Million Miles Annually

The Proclaimers' promise to walk 500 miles (and 500 more so...1000 miles) and Savage Garden will fly you to the moon and back but both those offers pale in comparison to what the tube can do for you. Trains on the Underground travel 43 000 000 miles annually. MILLION! That distance will take you around the world almost 2000 times, halfway to the sun and on 9 return trips to the moon. It kind of seems a shame you're just using it to go back and forth between Brixton and Oxford Circus, doesn't it?

Brydie is an Australian writer and performer living in London and she complains exactly the same amount about the weather as every other Australian living in London. Yes, that is her natural lip colour, no, she will not be taking any further questions at this time.