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The London Underground is a metro system that covers the Greater London area and beyond. It is an electric railway and, despite its name, runs both above and below ground. It is usually referred to by Londoners as either simply "the Underground" or, more familiarly, "the Tube", owing to the cylindrical shape of its deep-bore tunnels. It is the oldest underground system and one of the three largest in the world. Operations began on 10 January 1863 on the Metropolitan Railway; most of the initial route is now part of the Hammersmith & City Line.

The Underground currently serves 275 stations and runs over 253 miles (408 km) of lines. There are also a number of stations and tunnels that are now closed. In 20042005, total passenger rides or journeys reached a record level of 976,000,000, an average of 2,670,004 per day.

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