Go Underground with Some Subway Trivia

On January 10th, 1863, the world's first underground passenger railway system opened in London, England. That makes this the subway system's 155-year anniversary, and we all know how important an anniversary that is. So, in honor of that, lets see how much you know about subway systems all over the world.


In Japan, What is an Oshiya? Japan boasts 45 of the 51 busiest train stations in the world, and cramming that many people into a subway car can be pretty tough. In fact you literally need to hire employees to cram that many people into a subway car. Enter the "Oshiya," also known as a pusher. Wearing hats and white gloves, these people shove the last passengers into the door of a train to make sure they can get every single person onboard. If you've never seen the videos of this, they're pretty amazing. 

What is the Longest Art Gallery in the World, According to Frommers? # No word on whether or not it also featured the world's first impossible-to-understand-if-you're-from-out-of-town subway map. Here in America, our subway systems are famous for their disturbing odors and the general sense that a janitor hasn't been down there in several decades. But apparently train stations can be nice too. The one in Stockholm, Sweden, has over 90 stations with 140 artists' worth of art, making it, as Frommers travel guide puts it "ostensibly the longest art gallery in the world." And we assume Frommers knows a thing or two about the art gallery options out there.

But in general, if art's your thing, you could do worse than spending a few days just taking the train throughout, well, pretty much any country other than the United States. The train station for the Louvre in France actually has museum exhibits in the station. And the stations in Moscow are arguably the most beautiful in the world.


What City's Train Incorporates Archeological Museum Exhibits? # Having said that, American subway systems do have some art installations. If you're into museum exhibits, you could also take a ride on Greece's Attiko Metro, which got its current design during the Olympic bid. Again, Frommers offers a nice description of the system there, highlighting the "archaeological exhibits and items that were uncovered while digging (walls, cisterns, urns, and even sarcophagi). Even if you don't need to get to any of the 50-plus stations, it's well worth a visit to Syntagma Square or Akropoli stations to see the relics or Ethniki Amyna station for more contemporary art installations. Though the trains aren't that modern or efficient, the visual surroundings make it all worthwhile." So apparently they have all sorts of old relics, including the cars themselves that you'll be riding.

Which U.S. city had the first subway? # On September 1, 1897 Boston opened for business the first Subway in the United States. It was modeled after several European cities (including London which had launched their own 34 years earlier) and was followed a few years later with a subway in New York City. In 1897, at 6 am, over 100 people crowded onto the first train to travel through a tunnel under downtown Boston. More than 100,000 people would take the three-and-a-half minute trip that day.  In time, the route would be connected to the Boston Elevated Railway, creating the public transportation system that was the precursor to today's "T."  By the end of the 1970s, the T was transporting 300,000 passengers daily. Today the T serves over 1.3 million passengers daily across the system.

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