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The London Underground was the World’s first rapid transit system and underground railway. The Metropolitan Railway opened in 1863 and is now part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. Another first was the London Underground map: Designed in 1931 by the civil servant Harry Beck it was revolutionary in that it wasn’t an exact geographic representation to London above it.

52% of the Underground now runs above ground, but Londoners still refer to it as ‘The Underground’ or ‘The Tube’ – after the shape of the tunnels. Other countries/cities have adopted different names; Paris – Metro, New York – Subway, San Francisco – BART. The name ‘Metro’ seems most popular across Europe and is even used for the underground system in Washington DC. If you call the London Underground/Tube, ‘Metro’, you may be criticised by locals. You could retort that as the London Metropolitan Railway was the first underground railway, the British invented the metro name as well, making it valid – this should appeal to local pride and get you off the hook. ‘Subway’ in Britain means an underground pedestrian road crossing – so don’t use that!

London Underground have now announced that the ‘Night Tube’ will run on Fridays and Saturdays from 12th September 2015. Not all lines and stations are covered and there is a new map with owl logo (see below). If you purchase a travelcard on a Friday, that is valid until 04:30 on Saturday morning. All the details are in the link above and I don’t think I need to repeat them, although I included the map here because I liked it.

NOTE: As with most British transport services – the Night Tube plans have been delayed. 

Night Tube Map