The Tube: An Underground History quiz – fact or fiction?

Think you know the London Underground? Test your Tube knowledge with our public transport-themed quiz...

So you think you know your Covent Garden from your Lancaster Gate, your Central Line from your Circle Line? As BBC2 celebrates London Underground’s 150th anniversary year, we pose 20 tubular questions. Your job? To tell fact from fiction…


1. None of the Tube stations have all the vowels in their name.

False. Two do. But which ones….? Fine, we’ll put you out of your misery. It’s South Ealing and Mansion House, the biggest Tube station on the network, with an impressive 10 platforms.

False. Don’t be silly, this tiny station actually shares the title of smallest station with Chesham. Baker Street is really the biggest, boasting four Metropolitan, two Circle, two Bakerloo and two Jubilee platforms.

3. The Tube runs at its deepest in the Northern Line beneath Hampstead Heath.

True. The tracks are 220 feet below the ground at this point. And it’s a good job too. No one wants the sound of the Underground disturbing their picnic…

4. The shortest distance between stops is Leicester Square to Covent Garden.

True. There’s just 0.16 miles between them. It’d be quicker to walk, people!

5. There is only one Tube station that doesn’t have any letters from the word mackerel in its name.

True. St John’s Wood has zero alphabetic connections to the oily fish in question.

6. Angel boasts the longest escalator in the London Underground.

True. Lucky old Angel. With 60 metres of moving stairway, this Northern line station must be the envy of all the other stations…

7. Tube trains travel at an average speed of 50mph.

False. Pah! Don’t make us laugh… Only the slick Victoria and Metropolitan lines can dream of achieving those speeds. The average train speed is a more sloth-like 20.5mph.

8. 80% of the London Underground is in tunnels with the rest above ground.

False. The number is actually much lower at 45%. Remind us why it’s called the Underground again…?!

9. Aldgate Station is built on top of a pit where more than 1,000 plague victims were buried.

True. Although we wish it wasn’t… Yuk.

10. The very first Tube train was powered by Shire horse.

False. The first trains were powered by steam. As far as we know, Shire horses have never ventured into the depths of the Underground…

11. The Victoria Line was originally called the Albert line.

False. For a while it was going to be called the Viking line though. Sounds pretty cool if you ask us.

12. In cockney rhyming slang the Underground is known as the Oxo.

True. The Oxo Cube… Tube. Geddit?

13. Oxford Circus station is said to be haunted by the ghost of a dissatisfied shopper.

False. Parts of the Underground are believed to be haunted though – Covent Garden tube by the ghost of William Terris and Farringdon by the Screaming Spectre…

14. Arsenal football team were named after the tube station, which is minutes away from their home stadium.

False. It was the other way around. Arsenal tube station used to be called Gillespie Road.

15. A study in 2011 found that 30% of passengers take longer routes because of the out-of-scale distances on the Tube map.

True. Uh oh…

16. 30% of travellers hop on a Tube without a valid ticket.

False. Only 9.5% of you naughty Tube-users try to evade paying your way.

17. The least used Tube station is Roding Valley.

True. Sorry, where?

18. Less than 2% of stations are south of the Thames.

False. It’s not quite that bad. But Londoners who dwell south of the river don’t have their fair share of tube connections with only 10% of the total stations.

19. The Queen takes an annual trip on the Tube.

False. She was the first reigning monarch to take the Tube but she’s not a regular commuter. Unless she does it in disguise, which we’re not ruling out…

20. The Underground network is home to a lot of wildlife, including an estimated half a million mice.

True. Those sooty little rodents can’t get enough of the London Underground. They don’t tend to ride in the carriages though, thankfully…


The Tube: An Underground History is tonight at 9:00pm on BBC2