Revealed: The dirtiest tube lines in London

Air pollution is 10x above the WHO recommended levels


Recent research carried out by the Financial Times has shed some light on the levels of pollution in the London Underground system, and the results are not pretty.

With over 4.8 million passengers every day, you’d like to think that the tube is a fairly safe mode of transport around the city but according to this FT study, the dangerous levels of pollution could be killing us.

The researchers tested the quality of the air in tube carriages in 75 different tunnel segments around Zone 1 and the results are quite shocking.

1. The Central line

The Central line is the most polluted line. We’ve all seen memes about the central line being hot and cramped and late but get ready for the ones about it killing us.

The research shows that the air in its carriages carry almost eight times as many particles of pollution than the World Health Organisation recommended safe level, with the stretch between Bond Street and Notting Hill Gate being the highest.

Luckily for us King's students the Central line isn't too vital (unless you live in Stratford or get off at Holborn – sorry guys).

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Hold your breath hun x

2. The Victoria line

At just just over 6x the safe limit, Victoria ranks as the second dirtiest tube line with its worst affected area between Oxford Circus and Victoria.

3. The Northern line

Unsurprisingly the Northern line is one of the most affected by the underground pollution at 5.5x the safe limit.

Unfortunately for any King's students who live far North/South, the Northern line is a pretty vital one for getting to the Strand and to Guys.

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The bus is sounding more and more appealing…

4. The Bakerloo line

Bakerloo comes in close fourth, at around 5.4x the safe limit. Connecting Elephant & Castle with Waterloo and Embankment, the Bakerloo line is unavoidable for those living there.

5. The Jubilee line

Despite being the newest line opening in just 1979, Jubilee is the fifth worst affected by the pollution and is still just over 5x the safe limit. Connecting Waterloo with London Bridge, the Jubilee line is essential for those travelling between campuses.

6. The Piccadilly line

Piccadilly is the least polluted of all of the deep tube lines at 5x the WHO safe limit, even though it is home to the deepest section of the network (between Holborn and Russell Square).

7. The District line

District is the first of the 'sub-surface' tube lines to be on the list at number seven. At just under 2x the safe limit, there is a big difference in comparison to the deep lines. While the air pollution levels are better, they are still not good.

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The rainbow of health risks

8. The Metropolitan line

Again, at just under 2x the safe limit, the Metropolitan line is much better than most but it's pretty useless for the majority of KCLers.

9. The Circle line

Circle is just over 1.5x the limit, with surprisingly lower levels of air pollution than it's partner, the District line. The Circle and District are home to both Embankment and Temple and are pretty unavoidable for Strandies commuting from East or West.

10. The Hammersmith & City line

Finally we reach the least polluted tube line, the Hammersmith & City. At 1.5x the WHO safe limit, it is just about the cleanest of all the tube lines. Unfortunately for us, it's probably the least useful for King's students.

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TFL have responded to these findings by continuing to insist that the Tube is safe, despite never publishing a detailed account of the air quality underground.

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