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25 massive metro systems that run the world

  • I Wei Huang // Shutterstock
    1/ I Wei Huang // Shutterstock

    25 massive metro systems that run the world

    The sprawling metro systems of the world enable residents and travelers alike to reach the furthest corners of a city. From Chicago's famed elevated "L" to Hong Kong's ultra-modern Massive Transit Railway, these transportation networks blend convenience and comprehensiveness with the permanence and cost of truly ambitious urban projects.  

    To help guide your next global adventure, we've identified the 25 largest metro systems in the world by overall route length, using data published in news releases, government reports, and the metro-operating companies themselves. Our analysis focuses on heavy rail systems—dedicated, mass-transit rail systems designed to move residents through a city with speed—as opposed to light rails and commuter trains that typically serve the outer limits of a metro area. 

    Together, these transportation networks account for over four billion miles of possible travel. For each metro system on our list, you'll find an image that encapsulates the sprawling city serviced, as well as a handy route map for your travels.

  • Pixabay
    2/ Pixabay

    #25. Berlin U-Bahn - Germany

    Year opened: 1902

    System length: 94.3 route miles

  • Roger W // Flickr
    3/ Roger W // Flickr

    #25. Berlin U-Bahn - Germany

    Year opened: 1902

    System length: 94.3 route miles

  • Lancerman // Pixabay
    4/ Lancerman // Pixabay

    #24. Tianjin Metro - China

    Year opened: 1984

    System length: 100.0 route miles

  • Kuailong // Wikicommons
    5/ Kuailong // Wikicommons

    #24. Tianjin Metro - China

    Year opened: 1984

    System length: 100.0 route miles

  • Allen McGregor // Wikicommons
    6/ Allen McGregor // Wikicommons

    #23. Chicago "L" - United States

    Year opened: 1897

    System length: 102.8 route miles

  • BorgHunter // Wikciommons
    7/ BorgHunter // Wikciommons

    #23. Chicago "L" - United States

    Year opened: 1897

    System length: 102.8 route miles

  • Jack French // Wikicommons
    8/ Jack French // Wikicommons

    #22. San Francisco BART - United States

    Year opened: 1972

    System length: 112.0 route miles

  • Train2104 // Wikicommons
    9/ Train2104 // Wikicommons

    #22. San Francisco BART - United States

    Year opened: 1972

    System length: 112.0 route miles

  • Estial // Wikicommons
    10/ Estial // Wikicommons

    #21. Hong Kong MTR - China

    Year opened: 1999

    System length: 123.0 route miles

  • MTR
    11/ MTR

    #21. Hong Kong MTR - China

    Year opened: 1999

    System length: 123.0 route miles

  • Ingfbruno // Wikicommons
    12/ Ingfbruno // Wikicommons

    #20. Washington Metro - United States

    Year opened: 1979

    System length: 116.4 route miles

  • Washington Metro
    13/ Washington Metro

    #20. Washington Metro - United States

    Year opened: 1979

    System length: 116.4 route miles

  • Colegata // Wikicommons
    14/ Colegata // Wikicommons

    #19. Chengdu Metro - China

    Year opened: 1976

    System length: 118.0 route miles

  • Sd4002991 // Wikicommons
    15/ Sd4002991 // Wikicommons

    #19. Chengdu Metro - China

    Year opened: 1976

    System length: 118.0 route miles

  • Negative Space // GoodFreePhotos
    16/ Negative Space // GoodFreePhotos

    #18. Tokyo Metro - Japan

    Year opened: 2010

    System length: 121.0 route miles

  • Tokyo Metro
    17/ Tokyo Metro

    #18. Tokyo Metro - Japan

    Year opened: 1927

    System length: 121.2 route miles

  • Ninara // Flickr
    18/ Ninara // Flickr

    #17. Tehran Metro - Iran

    Year opened: 1927

    System length: 121.2 route miles

  • Tehran Metro
    19/ Tehran Metro

    #17. Tehran Metro - Iran

    Year opened: 2010

    System length: 121.0 route miles

  • Calvin Teo // Wikicommons
    20/ Calvin Teo // Wikicommons

    #16. Singapore Mass Rapid Transit - Singapore

    Year opened: 1987

    System length: 124.0 route miles

  • Singapore MRT
    21/ Singapore MRT

    #16. Singapore Mass Rapid Transit - Singapore

    Year opened: 1987

    System length: 124.0 route miles

  • Ed Webster // Wikicommons
    22/ Ed Webster // Wikicommons

    #15. Paris Métro - France

    Year opened: 1900

    System length: 133.0 route miles

  • Paris Métro
    23/ Paris Métro

    #15. Paris Métro - France

    Year opened: 1900

    System length: 133.0 route miles

  • Pixabay
    24/ Pixabay

    #14. Mexico City Metro - Mexico

    Year opened: 1969

    System length: 140.7 route miles

  • Mysid, Battroid // Wikicommons
    25/ Mysid, Battroid // Wikicommons

    #14. Mexico City Metro - Mexico

    Year opened: 1969

    System length: 140.7 route miles

  • Hui // Wikicommons
    26/ Hui // Wikicommons

    #13. Wuhan Metro - China

    Year opened: 2004

    System length: 147.0 route miles

  • Howchou // Wikicommons
    27/ Howchou // Wikicommons

    #13. Wuhan Metro - China

    Year opened: 2004

    System length: 147.0 route miles

  • Aze0098 // Wikicommons
    28/ Aze0098 // Wikicommons

    #12. Delhi Metro - India

    Year opened: 2002

    System length: 156.6 route miles

  • Delhi Metro
    29/ Delhi Metro

    #12. Delhi Metro - India

    Year opened: 2002

    System length: 156.6 route miles

  • ming chen // Wikicommons
    30/ ming chen // Wikicommons

    #11. Chongqing Rail Transit - China

    Year opened: 2005

    System length: 164.0 route miles

  • MR.xun // Wikicommons
    31/ MR.xun // Wikicommons

    #11. Chongqing Rail Transit - China

    Year opened: 2005

    System length: 164.0 route miles

  • AndyLeaunHK // Pixabay
    32/ AndyLeaunHK // Pixabay

    #10. Shenzhen Metro - China

    Year opened: 2004

    System length: 176.5 route miles

  • DeBit // Wikicommons
    33/ DeBit // Wikicommons

    #10. Shenzhen Metro - China

    Year opened: 2004

    System length: 176.5 route miles

  • Benjamin Nunez Gonzalez // Wikicommons
    34/ Benjamin Nunez Gonzalez // Wikicommons

    #9. Madrid Metro - Spain

    Year opened: 1919

    System length: 182.7 route miles

  • Jesusmarinetto // Wikicommons
    35/ Jesusmarinetto // Wikicommons

    #9. Madrid Metro - Spain

    Year opened: 1919

    System length: 182.7 route miles

  • Kys951 // Wikicommons
    36/ Kys951 // Wikicommons

    #8. Seoul Metropolitan Subway - South Korea

    Year opened: 1974

    System length: 189.2 route miles

  • IRTC1015 // Wikicommons
    37/ IRTC1015 // Wikicommons

    #8. Seoul Metropolitan Subway - South Korea

    Year opened: 1974

    System length: 189.2 route miles

  • Shuichi Aizawa // Wikicommons
    38/ Shuichi Aizawa // Wikicommons

    #7. Nanjing Metro - China

    Year opened: 2005

    System length: 216.0 route miles

  • SSYoung // Wikicommons
    39/ SSYoung // Wikicommons

    #7. Nanjing Metro - China

    Year opened: 2005

    System length: 216.0 route miles

  • Moscow Metro
    40/ Moscow Metro

    #6. Moscow Metro - Russia

    Year opened: 1935

    System length: 223.4 route miles

  • Sameboat // Wikicommons
    41/ Sameboat // Wikicommons

    #6. Moscow Metro - Russia

    Year opened: 1935

    System length: 223.4 route miles

  • chensiyuan // Wikicommons
    42/ chensiyuan // Wikicommons

    #5. Guangzhou Metro - China

    Year opened: 1997

    System length: 242.7 route miles

  • H2NCH2COOH // Wikicommons
    43/ H2NCH2COOH // Wikicommons

    #5. Guangzhou Metro - China

    Year opened: 1997

    System length: 242.7 route miles

  • Sracer357 // Wikicommons
    44/ Sracer357 // Wikicommons

    #4. New York City Subway - United States

    Year opened: 1904

    System length: 246.0 route miles

  • NYC Metro
    45/ NYC Metro

    #4. New York City Subway - United States

    Year opened: 1904

    System length: 246.0 route miles

  • Daniel Chapman // Wikicommons
    46/ Daniel Chapman // Wikicommons

    #3. London Underground - United Kingdom

    Year opened: 1890

    System length: 253.0 route miles

  • Sameboat // Wikicommons
    47/ Sameboat // Wikicommons

    #3. London Underground - United Kingdom

    Year opened: 1890

    System length: 253.0 route miles

  • Jakob Montrasio // Wikicommons
    48/ Jakob Montrasio // Wikicommons

    #2. Beijing Subway - China

    Year opened: 1971

    System length: 372.4 route miles

  • Beijing Subway
    49/ Beijing Subway

    #2. Beijing Subway - China

    Year opened: 1971

    System length: 372.4 route miles

  • xuanzi86410527 // Pixabay
    50/ xuanzi86410527 // Pixabay

    #1. Shanghai Metro - China

    Year opened: 1993

    System length: 413.0 route miles

  • Shanghai Metro
    51/ Shanghai Metro

    #1. Shanghai Metro - China

    Year opened: 1993

    System length: 413.0 route miles

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