There are 11 lines on the London Underground, or the Tube as locals call it.
I’m not a train geek, but I’d say I’ve been on the tube enough to make a solid judgement on most lines, so here is my review of the London tube lines (with the addition of the Overground and DLR).
Central line: DURING RUSH HOUR, AVOID AT ALL COSTS. I love that the central line has a train basically every minute and is one of the fastest lines, but god, at what cost? It’s a great choice during off-peak times, but at peak times, it’s extremely busy and I feel like it’s the hottest and stuffiest line. It’s likely you’ll sweat if you get on during the summer.
So, I give the central: 3/10
District line: Bigger and spacious carriages where you can actually breathe, air conditioning and no divisions between carriages meaning you can walk through the train freely.
This line is a blessing. I’d say it’s the best line for going from east to west London, and isn’t too bad for getting to a central area of London like Embankment and Westminster either. Although, it has to be considered how often they close parts of the line for maintenance, which is quite annoying.
Ignoring my bias because of how often I use this line, I give the district line: 8/10
Hammersmith & City line: The trains are literally the same as the district so they share a lot of the same benefits. The line doesn’t span very far across London, but it’s useful for getting to/from a lot of railway stations like King’s Cross and Euston. Frankly, I can’t imagine a university student using the Central section of the line much, unless you’re a UCL student. Also, the east half of the line is the same as the District line, so the Hammersmith line is kind of a copycat.
So, considering that, I give the Hammersmith & City Line: 7/10
Overground: Like the 2 lines before, the carriages are air-conditioned thankfully, but I have to admit I get scared that I’ll get on the wrong train, because there are so many branches and so you have to pay careful attention to whether the stop you want to go to is on the way. The speed is pretty good too. It’s not the best line for central London and is a line a lot of commuters use, so beware of rush hour.
I give the overground: 7.5/10
Waterloo and City line: It’s literally two stops. I guess it’s good if you want to take a picture of an empty train carriage for instagram, since it’s only ever used by bankers commuting to and from work during rush hour.
I wouldn’t expect many readers to get any use out of this line, but I don’t really have anything against it, so I give the Waterloo & City a ?/10. I had to put the question mark, because how can I rate a line that’s the equivalent of taking an Uber for a 4 minute drive?
Metropolitan line: This line is mainly used by commuters from North West London, so it’s quite a niche line. At least it’s air conditioned and pretty fast, so if you are going to or coming from North West London, you’re pretty lucky that you get to commute in one of the better trains. But as with any other train mainly used by commuters from the suburbs, rush hour isn’t fun.
Metropolitan gets a 7/10.
Circle line: As unnecessary as scented trash bags, since all of the stops are either on the District or Hammersmith & City line. I have to admit, I was a bit confused at first about which direction the trains were going in so it’s probably a bit of a nightmare for tourists/Londoners who’ve never used it, especially when they get it confused with the Hammersmith and District which all look identical and have stations in common. It’s also the slowest underground line, which makes the line even more useless.
Circle gets a 4.5/10. At least the train is spacious and has air conditioning.
Northern line: Say bye to your eardrums, because this line will shatter them. It can be a pain if you’re using the line during rush hour, with a level of busy and packed that compares to Central. There’s barely any disruptions or closures, and trains are pretty frequent so at least it’s reliable. Not the easiest line to use for tourists thanks to the different branches. Maybe help out any confused-looking tourists if they’re on the Northern, Overground or Circle. They’ll need the help.
I give the Northern a 4.5/10.
Victoria line: It’s not too busy, at least compared to Central and Northern, unless you get on at or near Victoria station. It’s better ventilated than some of the other lines, and as fast as the Jubilee. I don’t really have any complaints for this line that aren’t what’s expected in a large city’s underground system. That’s a surprise.
Victoria line gets a 8.5/10.
Piccadilly line: Not the best if you’re on the trains that terminate at Heathrow (especially thanks to the long wait after the Heathrow and Uxbridge split). Expect tourists with suitcases or massive backpacks to take space up in the carriage. Rush hour is really bad, but that’s to be expected. I mean, did you really expect this article to ever mention that a train during rush hour is good or even okay? However, it’s a lesser evil than a few other lines in this article, and frankly, as this article is nearing its end, I’m starting to feel less lenient.
The Piccadilly gets a 6.5/10
Jubilee line: It’s the fastest line, but like the Central, it can get very busy during rush hour, but any other time, it’s usually an acceptable ride. The fact that the journey is quicker than other lines helps, so you don’t have to be stuck underground for long. It can get quite loud though, so prepare yourself to hear the screeching of the rail or do as I do and turn up your music, which isn’t good for my ears either to be honest. It can get busy when the workers finish their day in Canary Wharf but I haven’t experienced a rush hour as busy as one on Central or Northern yet.
I give the Jubilee a 7/10.
Bakerloo line: My longest journey on the Bakerloo has been 1 stop because I was feeling too lazy to walk to the nearest District stop, and so took the Bakerloo and switched. I then regretted that because it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. It was busier than I expected, quite slow and very hot. It also has this not so pleasant smell. I’ve checked this with other people, and apparently my 1 stop long impression was accurate.
Bakerloo gets a 2/10.
DLR: This line brings out the awe-filled 7 year old in me. I love sitting right at the front of the train (there’s no driver on the DLR) and feeling like I’m driving or on the front seat of a pretty slow and tame rollercoaster. Not to mention, there are great views when you approach the Canary wharf part of the line. It may only be in East London but it’s way more fun and interesting than the other lines. Not that the bar was set high anyway.
I give the DLR a 9/10.