- A favourite of the film industry 5. A way to save money
- Ideal for travelling around the city 6. It started black and narrow
- Be polite on the Tube 7. New design of the Underground trains
- Ghost stations 8. The diagram so as not to get lost
A. The London Underground, or the Tube, is a great means of getting around the UK capital. It is popular with locals and visitors because it is quick, easy, convenient and safe. The Tube has 11 lines and 275 stations. The walking distance between two underground stops in central London is never more than 10 minutes, sometimes less. It’s never a problem to find one. Underground trains on all lines run every few minutes between 5.30 until 00:30, Monday to Saturday, and between 7.30–23.30 on Sundays.
B. The London underground railway system was proposed by Charles Pearson in 1843. Twenty years later the first line was opened for traffic. In the early days, the trains were driven by steam locomotives which burnt coal and filled the tunnels with smoke. The tunnels of the first underground were made as narrow and low as possible in order to reduce the construction costs. The small size and the circular shape of its tunnels gave the underground the name The Tube.
C. In 1931, Harry Beck, who did some engineering jobs for the Underground, designed an unusual graphic map of the Tube. He suggested a map that displayed all the lines and stations but ignored the distances. Beck’s map looked like an electrical diagram because of the lines that went horizontally, diagonally or at different angles. Each line had a different colour. The map clearly explained how to get to the station you needed and where to change lines. City transport systems all over the world, including New York, St Petersburg, and Sydney, have used Beck’s idea to make maps of their own systems.
D. There are 275 functioning stations across the Underground network, but at least 40 overground and underground stations are no longer used for travel. If you look through the window of the train, you may notice platforms at which trains never stop and no passengers get on or off. They are not marked on the Tube map. They are like phantoms which remind us of the past history. Some of them have really interesting and scary stories to tell.
E. Aldwych, a closed station on the London Underground, is located in Central London. It is certainly the most ‘busy’ of the ghost stations of the Tube. It is used by film and television companies who find it an ideal place for shooting detective stories, thrillers and adventure films. Among the famous films that were shot at Aldwych station are Superman IV, Patriot Games, V for Vendetta, Sherlock and others.
F. The original London underground trains had three different classes. In those days they cost three, four and six pence for a single journey. Today a single journey in Zone 1 costs £4.50 if you pay cash. However, there are a lot of opportunities to get a reduced price ticket. Just buy a day travel card or avoid travelling at rush hours. If you travel regularly by the Underground, a season ticket will be the best option. Most Londoners buy weekly, monthly or annual tickets.
G. When you travel by the Underground bear in mind that it is considered impolite to stare at the other passengers. It’s rude and it may get you into trouble. Talking and laughing loudly is not encouraged either. It’s not a good idea to eat your hamburger or ice-cream on the train – you can spoil other passengers’ clothes. And it’s always a good gesture to give up your seat to an elderly passenger if necessary.