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TfL and the Royal Academy of Engineering launch a new Tube map design

Transport for London (TfL) has partnered with the Royal Academy of Engineering to launch a new 'Engineering Icons' themed Tube map with 274 Tube and Elizabeth line stations named after leading engineers

  • The engineering-themed version of the iconic London Underground map, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary, can be viewed at the London Transport Museum and online at the TfL website
  • The launch marks National Engineering Day, celebrated on 1 November, a day dedicated to recognising the achievements and contributions of engineers, including Harry Beck, Brunel and Ada Lovelace, and inspiring people from all backgrounds to pursue careers in engineering

Transport for London (TfL), the Royal Academy of Engineering and the London Transport Museum have collaborated to create a reimagined version of London's iconic Tube map to honour the contributions of engineers in London, the UK and worldwide.

The new Engineering Icons Tube map has been released on National Engineering Day, which is marked on the first Wednesday in November each year. The day aims to make engineering more visible and celebrate how engineers improve everyday lives. The map, which renames 274 Tube and Elizabeth line stations after notable engineers, was created to encourage and inspire more people to consider engineering as a career.

For National Engineering Day 2023, the Royal Academy of Engineering is running an #EverydayEngineering competition, inviting the public to release their inner engineer by submitting ideas and creations that aim to make daily life more sustainable, and then voting for their favourite shortlisted entry.  

Leading engineers from different fields including transport, defence, entertainment, computing and health have been selected for Tube and Elizabeth line stations on the map, including: 

  • Oxford Circus station has been renamed as Harry Beck, who was an electrical draughtsman and created the iconic London Underground Tube map 90 years ago in 1933
  • Shepherd's Bush has been renamed as Professor Dame Ann Dowling, who was the first female President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and worked on pioneering noise-reduction research on Concorde
  • Uxbridge has been renamed as Dr Gladys West, who was the first woman to receive the Royal Academy of Engineering's highest individual award, the Prince Philip Medal, for work that paved the way to Global Positioning System
  • Ealing Common station has been renamed after Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who is the most celebrated civil engineer of the nineteenth century and was responsible for designing and constructing the Thames Tunnel in London, as well as many other transport projects
  • Warren Street has been renamed as Ada Lovelace who is considered the world's first computer programmer 
  • Regent's Park station has been renamed as Alexander Graham Bell who was the inventor of the first practical telephone
  • Abbey Wood station has been renamed after Isabel Coman who is TfL's Director of Engineering and who played a significant role in building the Elizabeth line
  • Harrow-on-the-Hill station has been renamed after Sir Charles Kao who was known as the father of fibre optic communications and led the way in pioneering information technology, for which he won a Nobel Prize
  • Nine Elms station has been renamed as Eneni Bambara-Abban who is a multi award-winning robotics engineer and stars in the new series of This is Engineering, which aims to bring engineering alive for young people

Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, said: "Engineers played a crucial role in recent major transport projects like the Elizabeth line and the Northern Line Extension, and throughout history have helped shape the capital into the world-leading city it is today.

"I'm delighted TfL has joined forces with the Royal Academy of Engineering to launch this new Tube map celebrating the achievements and contributions of engineers, some well-known and others we should know more about.

"I hope this initiative inspires Londoners from all walks of life to consider engineering as a career, helping us to continue building a better, more prosperous London for everyone."

Andy Lord, London's Transport Commissioner, said: "From the pioneering days of the first steam train to the cutting-edge technology of the new Elizabeth line in London, engineering has played a vital role in shaping transport in London and across the country. As an engineer myself, this map is inspiring and shows the breadth of what engineers can achieve.

"With the re-design of the map, which was an idea inspired by our former Head of Engineering, Kuldeep Gharatya who shares my passion for improving diversity and inclusion across the industry, we hope that we can encourage people from all backgrounds to consider engineering as a rewarding career. Together, we can pave the way for the UK to lead in engineering."

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: "So much of London and the daily lives of Londoners has been designed, created and improved by engineers, and today it remains a hub of engineering innovation, from next generation transport to the development of AI tools to improve cancer diagnosis.

"So I'm delighted that, to mark National Engineering Day, TfL has worked with the Academy to create this map that recognises the achievements of both established and up and coming engineers who have shaped our lives. The work of engineers often goes unrecognised, which means many of us have a limited idea of what engineering really is. Today is a day to change that and uncover the stories of ingenuity, teamwork and persistence that have made their mark on the city around us."

The map has also been created to celebrate the many different ways that engineering shapes lives, and to help encourage more people to consider engineering as a career. The engineering profession in the UK is experiencing a concerning skills and diversity shortfall. Research shows that almost half (47 per cent) of UK pupils aged between 11 and 19 have not even considered engineering as a potential career[1]. According to the latest available data, only 16.5 per cent of the UK engineering workforce is made up of women, and Black and minority ethnic groups represent around 11.4 per cent[2].

London would not be the world leading city it is today without the contribution of engineers who have been responsible for creating major transport projects in the capital in recent years. Hundreds of engineers worked to create the Elizabeth line which opened in May 2022 and is already carrying more than four million people a week. Engineers also played a significant role in the extension of the Northern line to Battersea Power Station and London Overground to Barking Riverside, as well as the 700m transformation of Bank station, which was completed earlier this year.

It continues to be an exciting time for engineering in the capital with the building of a 25km super sewer under the Thames, which will be completed in 2025 and the building of the Silvertown Tunnel which will also open in 2025. This will help reduce chronic congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and allow for better public transport links, including more cross-river bus journeys.

TfL is encouraging more people from all backgrounds to consider careers in science, technology engineering and maths (STEM). TfL has welcomed more than 260 graduates, apprentices, and interns this year to gain unique skills and experiences while working on projects central to the daily operation of the capital. These schemes are attracting a diverse range of candidates from a range of backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented within the transport sector. This year, the number of graduates and interns identifying from an ethnic minority background has remained at 60 per cent.

TfL is actively promoting opportunities for staff to volunteer as STEM ambassadors and mentoring young people across London, sharing their career journeys to help inspire the next generation. TfL also provides a range of opportunities for young people across London to gain an interest in engineering, specifically TfL's Innovate schools challenge in association with Cleshar. This opportunity is open to all schools and colleagues in London, aimed at year 12 children with all finalists winning two weeks work experience with TfL.

This year, TfL introduced its first sustainability graduate and apprenticeship schemes, reflecting its commitment to support a greener, healthier and more sustainable London. With the guidance of sustainability professionals, participants will further drive progress towards a net-zero transport network.

As TfL grows, new projects and developments such as new trains on the Piccadilly line and Docklands Light Railway, as well as a wide range of walking and cycling improvements across the city, have all increased the need for engineering talent. These new starters to the transport industry will get the opportunity to work on these world-class initiatives, as well as support the day-to-day operations that keep London moving.

To view the new Engineering Icons Tube map, please visit here.

Notes to editors

[1] DJS Research Survey 2020  

[2] Engineering UK Trends in the engineering workforce between 2010 and 2021 report  

National Engineering Day is a national awareness day, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering since 2019, to raise public awareness of how engineers make a difference to our lives and celebrate how engineers shape the future

The themes for the Engineering Tube map correspond to the Tube and Elizabeth lines as follows:

  • Energy and power - Hammersmith & City line
  • Computing, technology and AI - Northern line
  • Materials and manufacturing - Victoria line
  • Transport, mobility and flight - Piccadilly line
  •  Life and health - Central line
  • Infrastructure - District line
  • Elizabeth line engineers - Elizabeth line 
  • Sports, media and culture - Bakerloo line
  • Environment - Circle line
  • Military and defence - Jubilee line 
  • International - Metropolitan line
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