London Underground’s history dates back to 1863 when the world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, opened between Paddington and Farringdon serving six intermediate stations. Since then the Underground network, affectionately nicknamed the Tube by generations of Londoners, has grown to 270 stations and 11 lines stretching deep into the Capital’s suburbs, and beyond.

The development of London into the preeminent world city during the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries would not have been possible without the mobility provided by the Underground. Read more at Transport for London and at Underground History.

Find out 150 facts for 150 years of the London Tube published in 2013.

You may also be interested in the history of the Tube in pictures.

In 1862, the Times described it as an ‘insult to common sense’ but the London Underground turned out to be one of the great engineering feats of modern times. Find out more at Time Out London.


Construction of the Metropolitan Railway near King’s Cross station, 1861.