Tube? (was: Re: Subway!)

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Fri Jun 9 16:43:36 UTC 2000

Peter asked:
> Have Londoners taken to calling the Underground "the tube"
> indiscriminately?  I had it explained to me by a Londoner back in the 60s
> that "tube" referred only to the routes created by underground drilling at
> greater depths, like the Picadilly and Bakerloo Lines, and would not be
> used of routes like the Circle Line, which were near enough to the surface
> to be created by the "break and cover" method.  I think I even read the
> same thing in some guide book.  I've taken it as gospel ever since, but
> maybe it was always more technical than colloquial.

I haven't heard anyone make the distinction, but then I don't live in London,
so maybe people up there are pickier.  When I've asked "can I get there by
tube?", no one's corrected me and I'm typically going on the Circle and
District lines.  The guide for visitors at says:

begin quote
The London underground is known as 'the
tube', and has 270 stations along 11
different lines. It is the oldest underground
system in the world, the official opening
being 10 January, 1863.
end quote

So they, at least, don't seem to be making the distinction.  (It's a
London-based site, in spite of the .com ending.)


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