By Esin Huseyin
You all loved the first installment of these facts so much I thought it was about time that I revived the list with some extra weird and wonderful details.
You meet some “characters” on the Underground these days – but I bet some of the ones on this list are ones you’ll never want to meet.
Even though we believe we are all travelling in the dark depths of London inhaling all of the dirty and stale air, the underground is actually 60% overground most of the time. So, when the clouds do eventually part their ways and reveal the sunshine, you can enjoy your commute with some beautiful – take a deep breath in…nope, that wasn’t a good idea.
Now we all know that the tube is pretty damn busy, if you haven’t just squish yourself on to a carriage during rush hour – and if you dare, go through Waterloo Station. But, did you know that on average the tube carries an average of 1.265 billion passengers anually. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of football teams we could start. The way that us Londoners move down the carriages to make room for more passengers makes me think that there won’t be that many red cards…
What lies beneath?
Aldgate station is built over a plague pit from 1665; the pit contains 1,000 bodies. Now you know why you get that sudden chill as you pass over this station that runs on the circle and metropolitan line. Apparently, this station also plays host to an apparition which was spotted just before a life threatening incident – an electrician was zapped with about 20,000 volts and only suffered minor injuries. It’s said that a female apparition was spotted stroking his hair just before the incident – could the pit and this apparition be connected?
What’s that smell?
In 2001 the Underground introduced a fragrance to three stations but it had a short life as it was discontinued the next day due to customers complaining of feeling ill. The scent was called Madeleine and might be a pleasant change instead of the usual rubbish, urine, and body odours we have to contend with today – imagine what the central line is going to be like now that we’re heading towards warmer months.
In 1998, scientists discovered that the Underground played home to a previously undiscovered species of mosquito. Christened Culex pipiens f. molestus, it has developed an unquenchable taste for the rats and mice that inhabit the underground. Unfortunately the maintenance workers and passengers also attract the pesky suckers – they’re known for their voracious biting, and began their human onslaught during the Blitz where people took to the tunnels for shelter.