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Okay, this might sound like a simple question, but what IS the largest subway system in the world??

I ask, because it seems like everywhere I look on the Internet, there are conflicting facts - some websites saying New York, others saying London ... all with different facts and statistics.

Please discuss! :)
 

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Briefly:
Route km: London
Stations: New York
Density: Paris (probably)
 

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Nick has it right, the Guiness book is based on stations...

Different cities require different systems... london's a dense but easily walkable city but its 'cores' are incredible expansive across the whol city...
 

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Also remember that London has a second "metro" on top - the immense national network that is infact longer and larger than the London Unerground. In New York you have the commuter lines coming into the city, but instead of a shed load more stations, the trains go straight to the main termini (Penn + GC and much like some trains from the outer metropolitan area of London into the central 13 termini). Infact within the city proper - London has around 600 heavy rail stations, which is roughly comparable to New York's and Chicago's heavy rail network combined!

London's network is believe it or not denser than Hong Kong's (KCR and MTR), and thats even when you negate the 75% land area which is non-urban! It is also has a denser rail network than New York (when you factor in actual land area and densities).
 

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If Paris is the densest, why don't they have the most? Does it just not cover that much area? Maybe if you include RER it has more stations than NY.
 

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There's also the differences in figures caused by New York having a 4 tunnel system as opposed to london's 2. In total tunnel length, New York always wins but they only use half of the length at any one time.
 
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Whilst we are talking about the tube, can I clear up a common falsely you often hear about the London underground.
Many people are under the impression that, the early lines at least, such as the Metropolitan Line, were funded entirely by private money, and they were effectively private businesses.

This is half true, the Met line was origanally built with totally private money - to run using steam trains, if I am not mistaken.

However, the line was losing huge sums of money, and was about to close, the only way it could be kept going was to convret it to electric, to increase capacity and hence revenues.

This 'upgrade' was funded by central government, and never re-paid.

When some Londeners talk about the need for provinsal transport systems to 'stand on their own financially' please remember, not one line of the tube was built using totally private money, they all required government money.
 

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Personally...

If I was doing a comparative 'what's the largest metro in the world' survey, I'd base it on the amount of passengers using it.

I've no idea though what the passenger stats are for any of them.
 

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The highest usage is in Moscow - handles something like 11mn each day (compared to 3mn on the London Underground).
 
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Having travlelled on the Moscow underground, I would agree that it is unbelievably busy.

Seems to be a larger network than the London one as well, however, I may be wrong.
 

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London's Underground lines were originally built with the intention of being a proper railway lines that just happened to run underground. The underground used to run to Windsor in the old days! Bearing this in mind... south london never really saw many rail underground tunnels because of the soil makeup south of the river (observe: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/images/colourmap.jpg). However, this did not prevent rail lines being built above ground creating one of the most vast rail networks in the world. Unfortunately the frequencies of trains never quite matched that of the underground trains (and probably never will) though efforts have been made to increase frequencies with rail hubs such as Wimbledon and Clapham seeing trains in to central london every 60 seconds during peak periods.

My point being, if you included all the rail lines (both underground and over) that were built with the intention of frequent commuter services London would come out top as being the world's most vast network. Underground alone it has longer KM than New York if you consider that most figures cited for New York dont account for the fact it runs on a 4-track system (effectively doubling figures).
 

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City Date systemcompleted Number of riders (year) Length(km)
Moscow 1935 3.2 bil (1997) 340
Tokyo 1927 2.6 bil (1997/98) 281+
Seoul 1974 1.4 bil (1993) 278+
Mexico City 1969 1.4 bil (1996) 202
New York City 1904 1.3 bil (2001) 371
Paris 1900 1.2 bil(1998) 211
Osaka 1933 957 mil (1997) 114
London 1863 866 mil (1999) 415
Hong Kong 1979 790 mil (1999) 82
St. Petersburg 1955 721 mil (1996) 110

This shows London as being the longest in terms of KM (415) and moscow being busiest in terms of passenger numbers. However, bit dated - ridership probably has gone up across the board and wont include new lines built post 1999 or take in to account light rail systems or Paris' underground surburban rail network.

This map *claims* to show all systems side by side on scale : http://www.fakeisthenewreal.org/subway/
 

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I suppose it depends how you define a metro network doesn't it. Why not count the RER as part of the Paris network for example, it seems to do everything a metro does and adds lots of capacity out into the suburbs.

In terms of total urban rail network it would have to be Tokyo-Yokohama wouldn't it??

If you are just counting the underground sections then large parts of most networks don't count.
 

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Tokyo is possibly the largest rail network on the planet....but I have not been able to find a map that I can actually translate and count stations. London is definately 2nd with Paris 3rd, New York 4th and then Moscow.

I have no idea how much of the system is actually underground.



::Edit::

About those maps - I've seen them before, but what would be class is if you could actually see what they would look like with every single heavy rail line put on them - you for example wouldn't notice much difference with the New York map, but would see a radical difference with the London and Tokyo maps without a doubt. Once produced a satellite map showing all the heavy rail lines in London - looked "immense"!
 

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nick-taylor said:
Tokyo is possibly the largest rail network on the planet....but I have not been able to find a map that I can actually translate and count stations. London is definately 2nd with Paris 3rd, New York 4th and then Moscow.

I have no idea how much of the system is actually underground.
Paris is far behind of Moscow, Berlin, New York, Osaka etc

Moscow is third after Tokyo and London.
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=65822

and no data for New York, Osaka and Saint Petersburg.

if you have something, post it.



and
i think that moscow meter is longest truly underground network.
 
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