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London (Transport, University, Shopping, Sport)

Transport

London has a sophisticated transport system which is characterized by an extensive public transport network. Much of this network is operated by Transport for London (TfL), the agency in charge of the city's bus, trams, and Underground while other rail services form part of the National Rail system.

The London Underground (known colloquially as the Tube) is perhaps the most representative transport network in the city, its iconic red-and-blue logo without a doubt a symbol of the city itself. It is the oldest metropolitan rail system in the world (from 1863) with 11 lines and the longest in terms of track, of which slightly over half of it is actually above ground. Annual ridership is over 1 billion but does not include the Docklands Light Railway which serves the Docklands, Canary Wharf and East London, or the London Overground (previously part of National Rail, now converted to be compatible with the Tube) as well as the many National Rail connections within the city which are estimated to add nearly a quarter billion passengers to the total (London.gov.uk, 2009). Underground stations are overwhelmingly concentrated north of the Thames, with South London being mostly served by National Rail.


Football is the most important sport in England, and London has a total of 5 teams (Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United) in the Premier League and various other teams in lower divisions. Two of these teams, Arsenal and Chelsea, are perennial favourites for domestic and international titles and are considered among the 'big four' English clubs today. London is also the site of Wembley Stadium which hosts the English national team's home games as well as the FA Cup Final. It is also the largest stadium in the UK and second largest in Europe (and hosts many non-football events including concerts). It was built to replace the original Wembley Stadium which was considered one of the world's foremost sporting venues after its construction in 1923.

Other sports which have a major presence in London include rugby union (Twickenham Stadium is the second largest stadium in the UK after Wembley), cricket (major venues being the Lord's Cricket Ground and the Oval), and tennis where one of the four Grand Slam tournaments (and arguably the most prestigious) is played, in Wimbledon. Besides this, some notable sporting events include the boat race between Oxford and Cambridge universities, and the London Marathon.

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