Tube? (was: Re: Subway!)

Paul Harm pkh at OFFTHEPAGE.COM
Tue Jun 13 14:26:59 UTC 2000

At 05:44 PM 6/9/00 -0400, you wrote:
>On Fri, 9 Jun 2000, Peter A. McGraw wrote:
> >Have Londoners taken to calling the Underground "the tube"
> >indiscriminately?
>I lived in London 1970-71, and I don't recall its ever being called
>anything else - then or since.

I asked two friends from England,  both in their twenties, one from
Cambridge and one from London, about their use of "tube."

Both used "tube" to refer to the London subway in all cases, even in those
places where it runs above-ground.

The woman from Cambridge said that she has heard English people her age use
"tube" as a generic term for "subway," even in reference to underground
rail lines other than that found in London.  But, apparently, if the
location of the line is known, then the local name of the particular system
("metro" in Paris, "subway" in New York, and so on) is used.

The man from London did not remember ever hearing this generic usage.

They also volunteered contrary explanations of the term.  The man from
London claimed that it was called so because of the shape of the train, not
the tunnel, while the woman claimed it was from the shape of the tunnel,
not the train.


Paul Harm
Web Developer, Off the Page Productions

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