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25 massive metro systems that run the world

25 massive metro systems that run the world
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.

#25. Berlin U-Bahn - Germany
2/Pixabay

#25. Berlin U-Bahn - Germany

Year opened: 1902

System length: 94.3 route miles

#25. Berlin U-Bahn - Germany
3/Roger W // Flickr

#25. Berlin U-Bahn - Germany

Year opened: 1902

System length: 94.3 route miles

#24. Tianjin Metro - China
4/Lancerman // Pixabay

#24. Tianjin Metro - China

Year opened: 1984

System length: 100.0 route miles

#24. Tianjin Metro - China
5/Kuailong // Wikicommons

#24. Tianjin Metro - China

Year opened: 1984

System length: 100.0 route miles

#23. Chicago "L" - United States
6/Allen McGregor // Wikicommons

#23. Chicago "L" - United States

Year opened: 1897

System length: 102.8 route miles

#23. Chicago "L" - United States
7/BorgHunter // Wikciommons

#23. Chicago "L" - United States

Year opened: 1897

System length: 102.8 route miles

#22. San Francisco BART - United States
8/Jack French // Wikicommons

#22. San Francisco BART - United States

Year opened: 1972

System length: 112.0 route miles

#22. San Francisco BART - United States
9/Train2104 // Wikicommons

#22. San Francisco BART - United States

Year opened: 1972

System length: 112.0 route miles

#21. Hong Kong MTR - China
10/Estial // Wikicommons

#21. Hong Kong MTR - China

Year opened: 1999

System length: 123.0 route miles

#21. Hong Kong MTR - China
11/MTR

#21. Hong Kong MTR - China

Year opened: 1999

System length: 123.0 route miles

#20. Washington Metro - United States
12/Ingfbruno // Wikicommons

#20. Washington Metro - United States

Year opened: 1979

System length: 116.4 route miles

#20. Washington Metro - United States
13/Washington Metro

#20. Washington Metro - United States

Year opened: 1979

System length: 116.4 route miles

#19. Chengdu Metro - China
14/Colegata // Wikicommons

#19. Chengdu Metro - China

Year opened: 1976

System length: 118.0 route miles

#19. Chengdu Metro - China
15/Sd4002991 // Wikicommons

#19. Chengdu Metro - China

Year opened: 1976

System length: 118.0 route miles

#18. Tokyo Metro - Japan
16/Negative Space // GoodFreePhotos

#18. Tokyo Metro - Japan

Year opened: 2010

System length: 121.0 route miles

#18. Tokyo Metro - Japan
17/Tokyo Metro

#18. Tokyo Metro - Japan

Year opened: 1927

System length: 121.2 route miles

#17. Tehran Metro - Iran
18/Ninara // Flickr

#17. Tehran Metro - Iran

Year opened: 1927

System length: 121.2 route miles

#17. Tehran Metro - Iran
19/Tehran Metro

#17. Tehran Metro - Iran

Year opened: 2010

System length: 121.0 route miles

#16. Singapore Mass Rapid Transit - Singapore
20/Calvin Teo // Wikicommons

#16. Singapore Mass Rapid Transit - Singapore

Year opened: 1987

System length: 124.0 route miles

#16. Singapore Mass Rapid Transit - Singapore
21/Singapore MRT

#16. Singapore Mass Rapid Transit - Singapore

Year opened: 1987

System length: 124.0 route miles

#15. Paris Métro - France
22/Ed Webster // Wikicommons

#15. Paris Métro - France

Year opened: 1900

System length: 133.0 route miles

#15. Paris Métro - France
23/Paris Métro

#15. Paris Métro - France

Year opened: 1900

System length: 133.0 route miles

#14. Mexico City Metro - Mexico
24/Pixabay

#14. Mexico City Metro - Mexico

Year opened: 1969

System length: 140.7 route miles

#14. Mexico City Metro - Mexico
25/Mysid, Battroid // Wikicommons

#14. Mexico City Metro - Mexico

Year opened: 1969

System length: 140.7 route miles

#13. Wuhan Metro - China
26/Hui // Wikicommons

#13. Wuhan Metro - China

Year opened: 2004

System length: 147.0 route miles

#13. Wuhan Metro - China
27/Howchou // Wikicommons

#13. Wuhan Metro - China

Year opened: 2004

System length: 147.0 route miles

#12. Delhi Metro - India
28/Aze0098 // Wikicommons

#12. Delhi Metro - India

Year opened: 2002

System length: 156.6 route miles

#12. Delhi Metro - India
29/Delhi Metro

#12. Delhi Metro - India

Year opened: 2002

System length: 156.6 route miles

#11. Chongqing Rail Transit - China
30/ming chen // Wikicommons

#11. Chongqing Rail Transit - China

Year opened: 2005

System length: 164.0 route miles

#11. Chongqing Rail Transit - China
31/MR.xun // Wikicommons

#11. Chongqing Rail Transit - China

Year opened: 2005

System length: 164.0 route miles

#10. Shenzhen Metro - China
32/AndyLeaunHK // Pixabay

#10. Shenzhen Metro - China

Year opened: 2004

System length: 176.5 route miles

#10. Shenzhen Metro - China
33/DeBit // Wikicommons

#10. Shenzhen Metro - China

Year opened: 2004

System length: 176.5 route miles

#9. Madrid Metro - Spain
34/Benjamin Nunez Gonzalez // Wikicommons

#9. Madrid Metro - Spain

Year opened: 1919

System length: 182.7 route miles

#9. Madrid Metro - Spain
35/Jesusmarinetto // Wikicommons

#9. Madrid Metro - Spain

Year opened: 1919

System length: 182.7 route miles

#8. Seoul Metropolitan Subway - South Korea
36/Kys951 // Wikicommons

#8. Seoul Metropolitan Subway - South Korea

Year opened: 1974

System length: 189.2 route miles

#8. Seoul Metropolitan Subway - South Korea
37/IRTC1015 // Wikicommons

#8. Seoul Metropolitan Subway - South Korea

Year opened: 1974

System length: 189.2 route miles

#7. Nanjing Metro - China
38/Shuichi Aizawa // Wikicommons

#7. Nanjing Metro - China

Year opened: 2005

System length: 216.0 route miles

#7. Nanjing Metro - China
39/SSYoung // Wikicommons

#7. Nanjing Metro - China

Year opened: 2005

System length: 216.0 route miles

#6. Moscow Metro - Russia
40/Moscow Metro

#6. Moscow Metro - Russia

Year opened: 1935

System length: 223.4 route miles

#6. Moscow Metro - Russia
41/Sameboat // Wikicommons

#6. Moscow Metro - Russia

Year opened: 1935

System length: 223.4 route miles

#5. Guangzhou Metro - China
42/chensiyuan // Wikicommons

#5. Guangzhou Metro - China

Year opened: 1997

System length: 242.7 route miles

#5. Guangzhou Metro - China
43/H2NCH2COOH // Wikicommons

#5. Guangzhou Metro - China

Year opened: 1997

System length: 242.7 route miles

#4. New York City Subway - United States
44/Sracer357 // Wikicommons

#4. New York City Subway - United States

Year opened: 1904

System length: 246.0 route miles

#4. New York City Subway - United States
45/NYC Metro

#4. New York City Subway - United States

Year opened: 1904

System length: 246.0 route miles

#3. London Underground - United Kingdom
46/Daniel Chapman // Wikicommons

#3. London Underground - United Kingdom

Year opened: 1890

System length: 253.0 route miles

#3. London Underground - United Kingdom
47/Sameboat // Wikicommons

#3. London Underground - United Kingdom

Year opened: 1890

System length: 253.0 route miles

#2. Beijing Subway - China
48/Jakob Montrasio // Wikicommons

#2. Beijing Subway - China

Year opened: 1971

System length: 372.4 route miles

#2. Beijing Subway - China
49/Beijing Subway

#2. Beijing Subway - China

Year opened: 1971

System length: 372.4 route miles

#1. Shanghai Metro - China
50/xuanzi86410527 // Pixabay

#1. Shanghai Metro - China

Year opened: 1993

System length: 413.0 route miles

#1. Shanghai Metro - China
51/Shanghai Metro

#1. Shanghai Metro - China

Year opened: 1993

System length: 413.0 route miles

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