The top 10 oldest subway systems

The 10 oldest subways in the world

The subway is called a sign of a big city. Indeed, this mode of transport is found only in major metropolitan areas. Its speed and convenience are its main advantages. The average speed at which the trains move – 80 km/h, the carrying capacity – about 60 thousand passengers per hour.

As any thing in the world the subway has its own history. The first subway constructions look little like modern ones, but they still enjoy great popularity, as they are of great historical value. These are the most favorite places for tourists to visit.

In Moscow, the construction of the subway began in 1932, but our country was not a pioneer. At that time the subway already existed in many countries. If you are interested in history or like to learn something new, take a look at our rating of the oldest subway in the world.

10. Paris, France (1900)

The decision to build the subway in Paris was made in March 1898. The initiator – Fouljance Bienvenue faced great difficulties to get the permission of the authorities and find investors. In October, they began digging excavations. Two years later they opened the first line, which connected Porte Maillot and Porte de Vincennes. The number of passengers was prohibitive. 17 million people in a few months – a record figure (at that time).

This direction exists even now. It is worth noting that it is the busiest in France. Every day the line is used by up to 150 thousand people. However, to touch the history is not possible, the Parisian subway looks ordinary, the environment is modern, the trains – too.

Interesting fact. The first conversations about the construction of the subway in Paris were held in 1945, but most of the townspeople did not support the proposal. People were afraid that being underground would have a negative impact on health.

9. Boston, USA (1897)

The construction of the subway in Boston was a forced measure – streetcar congestion on Tremont Street. A part of underground tunnels was based on the line of this street, they were laid by the open method. In June 1897 the citizens of Boston could already use the subway, and a year later 11 more fragments of the railroad were completed.

The modern Boston subway consists of four lines. In the central part of the city they are underground, in remote areas come to the surface. The oldest line is the Green Line. At Bolyston station there is an active museum, where everyone can learn about the history of the Boston subway.

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8. Glasgow, Great Britain (1896)

Glasgow subway line is the oldest in the world and the only one in the city. This is due to difficult engineering and geological conditions – water-saturated sandy soils. The speed of work was very low. It took 15 years to complete what was started. The metro line is an oval with the length of 10.5 km, it remained unchanged since 1896. But inside the subway is nothing like it was 100 years ago. The first cars served until 1977, now they are no longer in use. The daily passenger flow is 36 thousand people.

7. Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire (1896)

The first subway line with trains running on electric traction. The decision to build it was made by the authorities in 1870, as the city’s population was gradually increasing, and the existing transportation system could no longer cope with so many passengers. The first line was founded in just two years. The subway was regularly upgraded, and in 1950 the construction of the second line began. At the moment there are 4 lines, 52 stations.

The Budapest subway is one of the most comfortable in the world. Everything is simple and straightforward, the system covers the whole city. In the future, it is planned to extend the fourth line and lay a fifth. Although the passenger flow is already breaking all records. Every day, about 1.2 million people use the subway.

6. Liverpool, Great Britain (1893)

The year 1893 is remembered by citizens of Liverpool with opening of elevated railroad with trains on electric traction. It is not a subway, but it got into our rating for one simple reason – part of the tracks ran underground (Dungle Station).

The road was badly damaged during World War II. In addition, this structure became very vulnerable to corrosion, and in 1956 the railroad was closed. One of the trains was sent to the Liverpool Museum, it is still preserved today. Part of the tunnel collapsed back in 2012, it is not possible to get there now.

5. Chicago, USA (1892)

The second oldest subway in the United States. At the end of the XIX century the transportation system was very busy. Surprisingly, the owners of wine warehouses decided to solve the problem, because they had great difficulties with the transportation of goods. They created a joint-stock company and began to build the subway.

In 1892 they started the first passenger train. Now the Chicago subway is a real pride of the city’s residents. The network is considered one of the oldest in the world. In addition she has a record length (360.7 km). Eight lines, 144 stations, huge passenger traffic The old sections are still intact, but require reconstruction. The problem is not solved due to lack of finances.

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4. Istanbul, Ottoman Empire (1875)

There is more than one subway line in Istanbul. The modern one was built in 2000, but lovers of antiquity are not interested in it. The attention of tourists is attracted by the funicular (cable-drawn vehicle) Tunel. The length of the network is 573 meters, two stations were founded in 1875. The subway consisted of two lines, on which ran two trains, each of them had a pair of cars with wooden bodies.

This railroad is still in operation today. In 1971, reconstruction was carried out. The line was converted into a single-track line and electric traction was also used.

3. Athens, Greece (1869)

The Athens Metro was not really a metro. It was an above-ground railroad with a normal steam locomotive running along it. Twenty years later the first underground tunnel was built. Since then, the road became known as the subway.

In 2000, the network was modernized. The second and third lines were built, and the subway acquired a modern look. The total length is 84.5 km. subway stations in Athens are of great interest to travelers, because they are designed very unusually. During the construction a lot of antiquities were found. All of them are presented in “museums” – glass showcases, which are built into the walls. While waiting for the train passengers can see a lot of interesting things.

2. New York, USA (1868)

The New York City subway also began with an elevated public transportation line. The Ninth Avenue elevated line existed until 1940, later demolished. The first underground sections opened in 1904. Throughout its existence, the subway has changed dramatically, it has become the largest in the world by the number of stations. The length of the tracks is 1370 km. Another advantage of the New York subway – it operates around the clock.

London, Great Britain (1863)

The oldest subway in the world is the London subway. Although the idea for the invention belonged to French engineer Marc Brunel. In 1818 he showed that it was possible to tunnel underground. Initially it was used exclusively by pedestrians, but after the rapid development of the railroad, it was decided to move it underground. In this way it was possible to solve the problem of traffic jams. Construction was approved as early as 1855, but due to lack of financing it was delayed for several years. In 1863, the line was opened, at that time its length was 6 km and the number of stations was 7.

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Now the London Underground belongs to the largest in the world. There are 14 lines (402 km), 270 stations. Annual passenger traffic is 1384 million people.

The largest subway in the world: top 10

World's Largest Subway Top 10-0


In this article I tell you about the largest subway in the world: top 10, all cities and stations. Most of us use public transportation, it is very convenient in large cities. And the subway does it best – no traffic jams, the interval between trains is no more than 5 minutes and there are a lot of stations. But what is the subway remarkable for, besides the absence of traffic jams? Today for you – the largest subway in the world: the top 10, my own review.

10. Mexico City – 195 stations

In the capital of Mexico City, the subway appeared in 1969. There are 12 lines, and of interesting facts – all stations are doubled with pictures, especially for passengers who do not speak Spanish. Read more about Mexico here.

9. Moscow – 241 stations

Hurry up, the number of stations is growing every month. The subway has been running since 1935, uninterrupted even during the World War II years. The Moscow Metro has many records, so we will definitely come back to it.

Largest subway in the world top 10-2

8. London – 270 stations

Built as far back as 1863 and is also a big record holder. Even Elizabeth II went there, there are more than 400 escalators and a ride of 20 minutes would be comparable with a couple of cigarettes. By the way, less than 50% of all stations are underground, so it’s a little unfair to call it the subway.

Largest subway in the world top 10-3

7. Tokyo – 285 stations

It has been waiting for you since 1927, the main thing is not to get there during rush hour. There are separate female cars to help combat subway harassment. And the passenger pays for the distance traveled. It’s like our subway, only the subway is so confusing that you can discreetly spend your day’s earnings.

Largest subway in the world top 10-6

6. Madrid – 301 stations.

Opened in 1919 and today is part of the public transport. This means you can buy one travel card to ride throughout the city. The subway is one of the cleanest and nicest in design, but not always convenient for the disabled, and a fully healthy person can easily get confused in the transfers.

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Largest subway in the world top 10-5

5. Paris – 303 stations

It’s quite a bit ahead of Madrid, but that speaks to the good pace of development of the Spanish subway, because in Paris it has been in operation since 1900. Here is the densest location of stations – in the center is often less than a kilometer, so it is easier to walk than to drive. Of the peculiarities – stations are not announced here, so look at the scoreboard. And there are a lot of references to Russia and the Moscow subway in particular.

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Largest Subway World's Largest Subway Top 10-7

4. Beijing – 370 stations

That’s the pace of construction – 370 stations since 1969. Here too payment is based on distance, but you can see driverless trains – some lines are equipped with automatic trains. China generally holds the record for the subway, but it also holds the record for congestion, so it has to be built.

Largest Subway World's Largest Subway Top 10-8

3. Shanghai – 413 stations.

It’s 1993 and China again, not many buses could handle that kind of traffic, so we had to build one. It’s one of the very long subways, so be careful on the train – if you fall asleep, it’s very long and expensive to get back, the charge is also for the distance. And it is the most high-tech subway, it has all the novelties of technology.

2. Seoul – 429 stations

Not as fast construction – since 1974, but still impressive. It has the longest all-underground line in the world, and this subway is just made for comfort.

There are warm and cool cars, special seats for pregnant women and the elderly, and stations are announced in 4 languages. The stations have toilets, including for the disabled and children, as well as rooms for mothers.

Largest Subway World's Largest Subway Top 10-10

1 New York City – 472 stations.

I wonder how many Americans were at all the stations? Or at least on all 36 branches. The subway opened in 1904 and didn’t go underground right away, there are still many above-ground branches.

World's Largest Subway Top 10-11

The peculiarity of the subway is not a strict adherence to the branches – trains can go virtually any route, even moving to other branches. It’s also the noisiest and one of the busiest subways. It’s the only 24-hour subway in America.

We finished the top 10, now for the other records.

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As you saw in the top – the oldest subway would be in London. The trains originally ran on coal, so the dirty air is partly a tribute to tradition. It was also where escalators first appeared, and a special worker – a disabled man – rode them to show people the safety of moving stairs. London was the first in the world to switch to electric trains.

The longest.

Shanghai subway is almost 600 km long. By the way, it takes 4 hours to ride through some lines, so it can be very boring without a book. The first places by kilometers are shared by the Chinese subways, competing and alternately ahead of each other.

Given the pace of construction, the numbers will soon increase dramatically. And New York City leads in the number of branches, at least one area that doesn’t have “an Asian doing it better.”


The subway in Tokyo has the most traffic per day. There are even special employees who “squeeze” people into the trains during rush hour. But for the average number of people per month, the leading position is shared by Beijing and Moscow.

The deepest

St. Petersburg subway is considered the deepest, because more than half of the stations are deeper than 50 meters. In North Korea, the subway is at a depth of 120 meters, but not all. But they still hold the record for deepest station.

The highest subway is in Mexico City, if you take it above sea level.

The largest depot.

Not surprisingly, it is the New York subway that has the most cars – nearly 7,000.

The Longest Run

The longest trip between stations will be in Moscow – it will be 8 minutes in the tunnel before Krylatsky. But it pales in comparison with the world record. In San Francisco the subway goes directly under the Bay, the trip takes 9 kilometers and almost 15 minutes.

The longest waterborne

The longest subway bridge is located in Russia, in Novosibirsk, the length of the bridge is almost a kilometer. And here is the leader in the number of bridges is Paris, where there are 6 of them.

Such an article from the subway itself. What other subway records do you know? Maybe that the first subway terrorist attack happened in London, too? Or that in Argentina you can still get a ride in the cars made in 1913? There are a lot of facts, and this is not a rubber article, so see you next time.

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