Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 09:33 UK

Tube network is 'best' in Europe

Passengers at a Tube station
London Underground carried 1,089 million people in 2008

London's Tube network which carries more than one billion people a year has been judged best in Europe by the transit industry's Metro Awards.

The world's oldest metro system, which began service in 1863 and covers 249 miles (402km), was also commended for passenger satisfaction.

The Tube service beat off competition from Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Copenhagen.

The network scored high marks despite closures due to engineering works.

London Underground (LU) carried a record number of passengers last year - 1,089 million, the highest number in its 146-year history.

London's 'artery'

Last year was also the third year in a row that the network carried more than a billion people annually across the capital.

In 2008 three new stations were added to the Tube network, all trains on the District line were refurbished and the Airwave radio system was installed which allows the radios of police and emergency services to work underground.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "The London Underground is the artery through which the lifeblood of London flows.

Wood Lane station
Wood Lane station was added to the Tube network last year

"It is tremendous news London's Tube team have been named champions of Europe.

"Despite the challenges of weekend engineering works, Londoners know the value of the Tube and why we are investing billions to improve it."

The outgoing managing director of LU, Tim O'Toole, said: "Last year, we carried more passengers than ever, reliability continues to improve and customer satisfaction figures are at an all time high.

"To achieve all this and then win the Best Metro in Europe is recognition of the hard work and professionalism of London Underground staff."

At present the Jubilee line is being upgraded, a new Northern ticket hall at King's Cross station is being built and the network will get its first air conditioned trains.

The Tube was judged on several criteria including customer service levels, geographical coverage, technological innovations, safety and security and the condition of the network.

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