London's world-famous 'Tube' is a partially-underground rapid transit system for the Greater London area with lines reaching into the neighbouring counties of Essex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire in the United Kingdom. It opened in 1863 and was the first underground railway system in the world, and the first to run electric trains from 1890.
Various private companies were responsible for building the earliest railway lines, but it was not until 1985, when the UK Government created London Underground Limited, that the Tube began to operate as a single entity. These days, London Underground Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Transport for London which is responsible for most transport services in Greater London.
There are 270 stations and 400 kilometres of track making up the Tube. It has one of the highest number of stations as well as being the second longest metro system in the world. In 2007, more than a billion journeys were made on the Tube.
The London Tube Map is a classic example of design, with its schematic non-geographical layout and colour-coded lines. It has influenced many other Tube system maps due to its simplicity and ease of use.
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