The underground rail network in London is actually one of the oldest subway developments in the world. It first began operations in 1863 and has continued to help millions of people travel around Britain’s capital every day since then.
Anyone that has ever travelled on the Tube will know how complex it is and how confusing it can be to make your way around at first. If you often find yourself rushing around the series of underground tunnels then you may have missed some of the interesting secrets and hidden mysteries. At the Montcalm we appreciate the amazing history that the Underground holds, so we’ve put together a list of the best Tube secrets for you to enjoy.
More than meets the eye
Looking at a Tube map is quite overwhelming when you see the hundreds of different stations and junctions. The underground rail network in London is around 249 miles long and spans the whole of the city and its boroughs.
It may come as a surprise to find out there are even more stations than are shown on the standard Tube map. There are actually around 40 unused stations that sit empty underneath the streets of London.
You may wonder what happens to Tube carriages at the end of the night when the Underground closes. A number of the trains are sent to rest in a dead-end tunnel that branches off the Elephant and Castle station. Many people are unaware that there’s actually a secret false wall that opens up into an even longer tunnel for slumbering carriages.
A big city like London isn’t somewhere you would assume to see a lot of wildlife, so it’s even more surprising to find out that the Underground is actually home to a variety of animal life. Tube train drivers have reported seeing animals such as rabbits, hawks and even herons.
Trying to pile into a carriage at a busy Tube station is a stressful challenge that can often result in you being left behind to wait for the next train. If you want to make sure you’re at the front of the queue when the train pulls into the station then look for scuff marks on the yellow edge of the platform. To the trained eye these indicate where the doors usually stop.
Unfortunately a number of deaths have occurred on London’s Underground, which has led to many rumours and urban legends about hauntings. A number of people have reported hearing terrifying screams coming from the tunnels around Bethnal Green Station. For those who fancy themselves ghost hunters, there is a map that shows the Tube’s most haunted stations.
When the London Underground was first established the trains that ran along its tracks were steam powered. This meant that a number of areas were exposed to the surface in order to exhaust fumes and smoke. One of these large cut-outs was built along the quint street of Lenister Gardens. But if you stroll along the terraced houses you will not see any kind of ventilation system. That’s because numbers 23 and 24 are hollow fronts built to cover up the gap.