The London Underground, opened on January 10, 1863, was the world's first subway system, and it remains one of the world's largest underground rail networks. Also known as the Underground and the Tube, it serves 270 stations and has about 402 kilometers of track, making it the world's fourth-longest subway system by route length.
The Tube carries about 1.35 billion commuters a year, with up to five million passengers using the system every weekday. One of the things that makes the Tube so convenient is its clear and easy-to-follow map. The Tube map, designed in 1931, was a unique creation and has influenced almost every urban rail map since then. The stations represented on the map are not necessarily in the positions that they would be on a geographical map of the city. This would make the map too tangled and difficult to read. Instead, the emphasis is on having the stations arranged in the proper order, with the connecting stations lined up correctly. In addition, the system's 11 lines are color-coded to make it even easier for passengers to comprehend the map.
As many frustrated Londoners would surely confirm, though, the Underground is also famous for its delays. It is estimated that the average commuter loses around three days per year as a result of late trains. Another big problem of the Underground is overcrowding, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. While many stations have been rebuilt in an attempt to combat this problem, congestion is still common, and trains often have to skip a station and carry on to the nearest uncrowded one. A lack of air-conditioning on some of the trains can also make journeys uncomfortably hot in summer, with temperatures in some of the deep tunnels reaching 34.5°C or even higher.
Despite these flaws, the London Underground is one of the world's safest and most convenient ways to travel. Accidents are incredibly rare, with only one fatal accident per 300 million journeys. As anyone who has been to London will tell you, exploring that great city without the Tube would be unthinkable.
倫敦地鐵於1863 年1 月10 日啟用，是全世界最早的地下鐵路系統，至今仍是全球規模最大的地下鐵路網之一。它又被稱為the Underground（地下的）或the Tube（管子），一共設有270個車站，鐵軌長約402 公里，就路線長度而言，是全世界第四長的地鐵系統。
倫敦地鐵一年載運約13 億5 千萬名通勤者，每個上班日有高達5 百萬名乘客搭乘地鐵系統。倫敦地鐵之所以如此方便，原因之一就是其簡潔明瞭的路線圖。倫敦地鐵路線圖於1931 年設計，設計手法獨具一格，此後幾乎所有的都會鐵路路線圖都採用這種方式。路線圖所標示的車站，和它們在都市地圖上的實際地理位置無關，因為那樣標示會太混亂而不易閱讀。設計重點反而在於各車站的順序要正確，轉接站的排列不能有誤。除此之外，地鐵系統的11 條支線分別用顏色標示，讓乘客更容易看懂。