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The London Tube

English: Entrance to Waterloo tube station fro...
 Entrance to Waterloo tube station from the eastern side of Waterloo railway station 
The London Underground (otherwise known as the Underground or the Tube) is a metro system serving a large part of Greater London and parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. The system serves 270 stations and has 402 kilometres (250 mi) of track, 45 per cent of which is underground. Since 2003 LUL has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), the statutory corporation responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London, which is run by a board and a commissioner appointed by the Mayor of London. As of 2012, 91 per cent of operational expenditure is covered by passenger fares.[3]
It incorporates the first underground railway in the world, which opened in 1863 and now forms part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, and the first line to operate underground electric trains, in 1890, now part of the Northern line.[4] The first tunnels were built just below the surface; later circular tunnels (tubes) were dug through the London Clay. The Central London Railway was built this way and known as the "twopenny tube" when opened in 1900. The lines were marketed as the UNDERGROUND in the early 20th century on maps and signs outside central London stations. The private companies that owned and ran the railways were merged in 1933 to form the London Passenger Transport Board. The Victoria line was opened 1968–71 and the Jubilee line in 1979, and this was extended in 1999. The Travelcard was introduced in the mid 1980s and the Oyster card, an electronic ticketing system, in 2003. London Underground celebrated 150 years of operations on 9 January 2013.[5] The system is currently being upgraded to increase capacity.
Today in official publicity, the term 'tube' embraces the whole underground system.[6] The tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931, was voted a UK design icon in 2006 and now includes the other TfL railways such as the Docklands Light Railway and London Overground as well as the Emirates Air Line.
The idea of an underground railway linking the City of London with the railway termini in its urban centre was proposed in the 1830s,[7] and the Metropolitan Railway was granted permission to build such a line in 1854.[8] The world's first underground railway, it opened in January 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives.[9] It was hailed as a success, carrying 38,000 passengers on the opening day, borrowing trains from other railways to supplement the service.[10] The Metropolitan District Railway (commonly known as the District Railway) opened in December 1868 from South Kensington to Westminster as part of a plan for an underground 'inner circle' connecting London's main-line termini.[11] The Metropolitan and District railways completed the Circle line in 1884,[12] built using the cut and cover method where below the surface.[13] Both railways expanded, the District building five branches to the west reaching Ealing, Hounslow,[14] Uxbridge,[15] Richmond and Wimbledon[14] and the Metropolitan eventually extended as far as Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles (80 km) from Baker Street and the centre of London.[16] For the first deep-level tube line, the City and South London Railway, two 10 feet 2 inches (3.10 m) diameter circular tunnels were dug between King William Street (close to today's Monument station) and Stockwell, under the roads to avoid the need for agreement with owners of property on the surface. This opened in 1890 with electric locomotives that hauled carriages with small opaque windows, nicknamed padded cells.[17] The Waterloo and City Railway opened in 1898,[18] followed by the Central London Railway in 1900, known as the "twopenny tube".[19] These two ran electric trains in circular tunnels having diameters between 11 feet 8 inches (3.56 m) and 12 feet 2 inches (3.71 m),[20] whereas the Great Northern and City Railway, which opened in 1904, was built to take main line trains from Finsbury Park to a Moorgate terminus in the City and had 16 feet (4.9 m) diameter tunnels.[21]
Transport for London
Transport for London (TfL) was created in 2000 as the integrated body responsible for London's transport system. It replaced London Regional Transport. It assumed control of London Underground Limited in July 2003.[60] TfL is part of the Greater London Authority and is constituted as a statutory corporation regulated under local government finance rules.[61] It has three subsidiaries: London Transport Insurance (Guernsey) Ltd, TfL Trustee Company Ltd and Transport Trading Ltd (TTL), and London Underground Limited is a subsidiary of TTL.[62]
The TfL Board is appointed by the Mayor of London. The Mayor also sets the structure and level of public transport fares in London. However the day-to-day running of the corporation is left to the Commissioner of Transport for London. The current Commissioner is Peter Hendy.[63] The Mayor is responsible for producing an integrated transport strategy for London and for consulting the GLA, TfL, local councils and others on the strategy. The Mayor is also responsible for setting TfL's budget. The GLA is consulted on the Mayor's transport strategy, and inspects and approves the Mayor's budget. It is able to summon the Mayor and senior staff to account for TfL's performance. London TravelWatch, a body appointed by and reporting to the Assembly, deals with complaints about transport in London.[64]
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