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Palace of Westminster and Big Ben
May 21, 2008

The organization of the public transport in London is about as complex as the network itself.  Since 2000, Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for most aspects of the city’s transportation network, including the London Underground (the Tube), London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, Croydon Tramlink, and London Buses.

The Underground is the world’s oldest subway, with its first segment opening in 1863.  Today, the Underground has 11 lines serving 270 stations and 250 miles of track.  There are two types of lines on the underground.  The sub-surface lines feature wider, taller, and longer rolling stock and their underground segments tend to be just below the street surface.  The deep tube lines have smaller, shorter trains and run through deep bored tunnels.

The Docklands Light Railway is an automated light rail system that opened in 1987 that serves the Docklands area of London.  It also serves Greenwich, the London City Airport, Stratford, and other destinations in east London.

London Buses is responsible for managing and overseeing the city’s extensive bus network, which consists of 573 lines and over 8,000 buses.  This includes route planning, setting frequencies, and managing the bus stops.  However, the actual operation of the bus routes is tendered out to private companies who pay to operate the service and have financial incentives to provide reliable service.

TfL is responsible for setting the fares for all the various transport modes in London.  Since July 2003, the Oyster Card has been the city’s smartcard system and is available on all TfL operated services.  It is capable of handling both “pay as you go” transactions as well as weekly and monthly travelcards for unlimited use, and cash transactions have decreased dramatically since its introduction.

In addition to running the buses and trains of today, TfL also operates the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, which has exhibits about the past and present of the city’s transportation network.

London Underground A Stock

The A Stock operated on the Metropolitan Line from 1961 until 2012, and on the East London Line from 1977 until 2007. Because of the long trips for Metropolitan Line commuters, these cars featured transverse seating, luggage racks, and umbrella hooks.

London Underground C Stock

The C Stock operated on the Circle Line, Hammersmith & City Line, and the Edgware Road branch of the District Line. They entered service in 1970 and were retired in 2014.

London Underground D Stock

The D Stock operates on the District Line (with the exception of the Edgware Road branch). It is the longest rolling stock on the network. It was delivered in 1976 and will be retired by 2016.

London Underground 1967 Tube Stock

The 1967 Stock was ordered for the opening of the Victoria Line and until its retirement in 2011, was the only type of stock to operate on this line. It was the first London Underground stock to feature automatic train operation. It was replaced by the 2009 Stock.

London Underground 1972 MkII Tube Stock

The 1972 MkII Tube Stock runs on the Bakerloo Line. The exteriors of these trains look nearly identical to the 1967 Stock that ran on the Victoria Line until 2011.

London Underground 1973 Stock

The 1973 Stock entered service on the Piccadilly Line in 1975. It was refurbished between 1996 and 2001, at which time seats were removed to provide space for luggage for Heathrow Airport bound passengers.

London Underground 1992 Stock

The 1992 Stock operates on the Central Line. The 1992 Stock features both ATO (automatic train operation) and ATP (automatic train protection) systems for use on the Central Line.

London Underground 1992 "Vintage" Stock (Former BR Class 482)

The London Underground 1992 "Vintage" Stock was ordered for the Waterloo & City Line in 1992. Although at the time it was ordered it was very similar to the 1992 Stock on the Central Line, over the years, modifications to each set of cars have made them incompatible with each other. The 1992 Stock was originally owned by British Railways and known as Class 482 Stock. It was transferred to the London Underground when British Railways was privatized in 1994, though it retained its original "Network SouthEast" paint scheme until a rehab in 2006.

London Underground 1995 Tube Stock

The 1995 Stock operates on the Northern Line. Although it was originally manually driven, now that ATO has been installed on the Northern Line, it is driven automatically. It shares many similarities to the 1996 Stock however they have different seating layouts and cab designs.

London Underground 1996 Tube Stock

The 1996 Stock operates on the Jubilee Line and entered service in 1997. Although it was designed at the same time as the 1995 Stock, it differs from the 1995 Stock in a variety of ways, including interior layout, cab design, bogie type, and tripcock geometry.

London Underground Stations

The London Underground has 270 stations. Station designs vary quite a bit based on when a station was built, whether it is in a deep tube, sub-surface cut, or on the surface, and other factors.

Docklands Light Railway Rolling Stock

The Docklands Light Railway has been served by three different types of rolling stock over the years, two of which are in service. The original P86 and P89 stock was in service from the system opening in 1987 (1989/1990 in the case of the P89 stock) until 1995; they are now in service in Essen, Germany following an extensive rebuild. The B90 and B92 stock entered service in 1992 and 1995, respectively. These cars featured a new interior design to facilitate increased ridership. The newest cars, the B07 Stock, entered service in 2009 in order to facilitate network expansion. All the rolling stock types are bi-directional, single-articulated electrical multiple units. They typically operate in two or three car sets under automated operation. A staff member is on board who can take over operation if necessary.

Docklands Light Railway Stations

The Docklands Light Railway currently has 45 stations. Most are elevated, but others are at street level and a few are underground. All the underground stations are staffed for safety reasons, but the other stations are mostly unstaffed. All stations have been handicapped accessible since the DLR opened.

London "Routemaster" Double Decker Buses

The iconic "Routemaster" double-decker buses are among the most well known British icons. They were delivered between 1954 and 1968 and remained in regular service until December 2005. Two "heritage routes" were started shortly after the official retirement of the Routemasters to keep them in service, primarily as a tourist attraction, but only one of those routes remains operational today. These buses were retired due to the fact they required a conductor to monitor the open, rear platform and were not accessible to those in wheelchairs. An updated Routemaster model, officially known as the "New Routemaster", entered service in February 2012.

London Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaro Articulated Buses

Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro were introduced on routes 507 and 521 on June 2, 2002. These were the first articulated buses to run in service on a regular basis, as opposed to merely being part of a trial. Following temporary removals from service due to fires on board and other criticisms, it was decided to retire these buses earlier than originally planned. The last one operated on December 10, 2011. The buses have since been transferred to other parts of the UK and even to Malta.

London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum is located at Covent Garden and is operated by Transport for London. While many exhibits focus on the Underground and buses, there are additional exhibits about other forms of transport within London.