The London Underground is a public rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.
Buckinghamshire, abbreviated Bucks, is a county in South East England which borders Greater London to the south east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north east and Hertfordshire to the east.
Hertfordshire is a county in southern England, bordered by Bedfordshire to the north, Cambridgeshire to the north-east, Essex to the east, Buckinghamshire to the west and Greater London to the south.
Rapid transit, also known as heavy rail, metro, subway, tube, or underground, is a type of high-capacity public transport generally found in urban areas.
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The world's first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863, is now part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines; the first line to operate underground electric traction trains, the City & South London Railway in 1890, is now part of the Northern line.
The Metropolitan line is a London Underground line that runs from Aldgate, in the City of London, to Amersham and Chesham in Buckinghamshire, with branches to Watford in Hertfordshire, and Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon.
The Metropolitan Railway was a passenger and goods railway that served London from 1863 to 1933, its main line heading north-west from the capital's financial heart in the City to what were to become the Middlesex suburbs.
The City and South London Railway was the first deep-level underground "tube" railway in the world, and the first major railway to use electric traction.
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The network has expanded to 11 lines, and in 2015–16 carried 1.34 billion passengers, making it the world's 11th busiest metro system.
The system's first tunnels were built just below the surface, using the cut-and-cover method; later, smaller, roughly circular tunnels – which gave rise to its nickname, the Tube – were dug through at a deeper level.
A tunnel is an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soilrock and enclosed except for entrance and exit, commonly at each end.
Despite its name, only 45% of the system is actually underground in tunnels, with much of the network in the outer environs of London being on the surface.
In addition, the Underground does not cover most southern parts of Greater London, with less than 10% of the stations located south of the River Thames.
The early tube lines, originally owned by several private companies, were brought together under the "UndergrounD" brand in the early 20th century and eventually merged along with the sub-surface lines and bus services in 1933 to form London Transport under the control of the London Passenger Transport Board.
The current operator, London Underground Limited, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London, the statutory corporation responsible for the transport network in Greater London.
As of 2015, 92% of operational expenditure is covered by passenger fares.
The Travelcard ticket was introduced in 1983 and Oyster, a contactless ticketing system, in 2003.
The Travelcard is an inter-modal travel ticket for unlimited use on the London Underground, London Overground, TfL Rail, Docklands Light Railway, Tramlink, London Buses and National Rail services in the Greater London area.
Contactless card payments were introduced in 2014.
The LPTB was a prominent patron of art and design, commissioning many new station buildings, posters and public artworks in a modernist style.
The schematic Tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931, was voted a national design icon in 2006 and now includes other TfL transport systems such as the Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and TfL Rail.
The Tube map is a schematic transport map of the lines, stations and services of London's public transport systems, the primary system being London Underground, known colloquially as "the Tube", hence the map's name.
TfL Rail is a commuter railway route in London and the home county of Essex that currently serves the 14 stations on the Great Eastern Main Line between Liverpool Street, in the City of London, and Shenfield.
Henry Charles Beck, known as Harry Beck, was an English technical draughtsman best known for creating the present London Underground Tube map in 1931.
Other famous London Underground branding includes the roundel and Johnston typeface, created by Edward Johnston in 1916.
Edward Johnston, CBE was a Uruguayan and British craftsman who is regarded, with Rudolf Koch, as the father of modern calligraphy, in the particular form of the broad edged pen as a writing tool.