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The London Underground Railway System and the Paris Underground Railway System are some of the oldest underground railway systems in the world. As their name suggests, the underground systems serve their country’s respect city in underground tunnels (although not every part of the system is the underground). This paper will compare and contrast by separately highlighting each of the two underground railway systems and how they work.

The London Underground Railway System

The London underground railway system (LURS often called the Tube) is one of the oldest railway systems in the world having been opened in 1863. It consists of a marvel engineering tube that is 253 miles (402 Km). It snakes its way under the capital, London, carrying millions of passengers every day (about 976 million people). The underground is connected to London’s metro areas like Essex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire including even the Eurostar to Paris. Despite the name, London Underground Railway System, there are localized services include the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) which is a popular light railway extension offering many picturesque views like the Thames River and the Tramlink (Top 10 Metro/Subway systems of the world, n.d.).

The London Underground System has been undergoing continuous and development and expansion of the system including electrification, tube line amalgamation and construction, the automatically driven of some lines, computerized signaling, and even driverless trains (like the DLR). Brand new fleets have been introduced and some two lines have been acquired (Victoria in 1968 and Jubilee in 2000). Another line, the Crossrail project, has started. To keep its members informed, LURS has a monthly publication called the “underground News” that keeps members abreast of any LURS news and relevant activities (London Underground Railway Society, n.d.).

The Métropolitain, or Métro, has a station within 547 yards (500 meters) of every building in Paris. The London Underground, or the Tube, serves 275 stations throughout London. The New York City subway system has more than 450 stations packed into an area of 240 square miles (621.6 square kilometers) (Wilson, n.d.).


Highlights of this railway system include:

  • Cushioned seats
  • Oyster cards that allow passengers to touch against a subway turnstile and go. Passengers are able to pay as they are riding.
  • Diverse station artwork
  • LED time displays that hang from the ceiling in stations. These indicate the number of minutes passengers can wait before the next train arrives (11 top underground transit systems, n.d.). 

The Paris Underground Railway System

The Paris Underground Railway System is the second oldest subway system in the world after the London Underground Railway System. The first initial system was completed in 1900 and it aids in the transportation of about 1.4 billion yearly translating to about 4.5 million passengers daily. The system runs over a track covering 133.7 miles with 380 stopping stations having a great amount of coverage in the city of Paris. Unlike the LURS above, the metro is a more underground transit system (Top 10 Metro/Subway systems of the world, n.d.).


  • The system has excellent coverage of the city. Each building in the city is within a distance of 500 meters of the nearest subway station
  • The company charges modest fares
  • Many stations with a characteristic unique art nouveau mode (11 top underground transit systems, n.d.).  

The subway is a two-system; the Metro with 14 lines and the Reseaux Express Regionale (RER) with 5 lines running through the suburbs and in town. The system allows several ticketing options including the “Mobilis”, the “Paris Visite” and the Navigo Pass (Paris Subway Tips, n.d.).


The two underground network systems are among the oldest underground systems in the world.  They help in commenting millions of people in and within their respective cities. However, the systems have some differences in terms of contraction, number of networks, mode of transport, and the number of passengers they carry each day. Metro is the busiest in Europe after the Moscow system meaning that it is the busier of the two. However, the metro carries (4.5 million) almost half of what LURS (976 million) carries daily, but the metro has a denser network than that of the LURS.

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