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How London’s New Night Tube Map Was Made

Updating the world’s most iconic transportation map … after dark.

The London Underground, or “the Tube” as it’s colloquially known, is the oldest metro system in the world. It began its life in January 1863 with a single underground line running between Paddington and Farringdon—about four miles—in central London. On its opening day it carried over 38,000 passengers via steam locomotives and wooden carriages illuminated by gas-light.

Jump forward 152 years and the single line London Underground has grown exponentially–-and organically-–trying to keep pace with the global metropolis London has become. Today the London Underground comprises 270 stations across 250 miles of track. Its annual number of passengers exceeds 1.2 billion per year, millions of those journeys made by tourists who would never consider visiting London without taking a ride on the Tube, that rickety central nervous system of the capital. Indeed, the Underground is now as synonymous with “London” as Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. It is also one of the most well-known and recognizable public transport systems in the world–even to those who have never stepped foot in the capital, thanks to one thing: the design of its map.

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