Now, you know that feeling when you’re so excited that your bladder suddenly goes too full? If you’re here in the subway, it might prove tricky, because there are generally no bathrooms around. Why’s that?

Or how, for that matter, can you even breathe so deep underground? Why is it warm in the subway in winter and cool in summer? Why do escalator handrails move faster than the stairs? There are so many questions about the subway waiting to be answered, so off we go!

-Subway tunnels use supports that don’t allow the soil above them crumble.

-When it’s summer, all the heat inside a station goes up, while down below it’s much more pleasant. In winter, the heat from all the electrical appliances makes the stations warm.

-You feel a gust of wind when opening the door of a subway station because of a difference in pressure: within the station it’s higher than in the street to better get rid of fumes.

-The third rail is there to provide electric power to the train. The main rails aren’t electrified, so nothing will happen to you if you touch them.

-Overhead power lines use a very high voltage, which isn’t safe for underground trains — the power lines would just be too close.

-Maps are drawn this way because underground it doesn’t really matter where exactly you are.

-When a train arrives to the station, it pushes the air in front of it, creating strong gusts of wind. And since trains come and go pretty often, the air doesn’t really stop moving at all.

-Air shafts are constructed outside the main station building to provide fresh air down below.

-Cellular reception in the subway is possible thanks to the small antennas installed within the tunnels.

-First, bathrooms are ridiculously expensive to maintain. Second, it’s a security concern, since there can be no cameras installed in the bathroom, and any kind of suspicious activity would go unnoticed.

-Handrails and stairs are supposed to move at the same speed, but handrails wear down faster than the stairs, so they are set to a more energetic pace from the start.

-The problem is that a human operator can’t control the train so precisely as to fit the doors to the gaps in guardrails.

-If there’s another train closing in from another direction, the safety equipment will warn the operator, and the second train will stop to let the first one pass.

-There’s always a big and obvious marker on the wall of the tunnel that tells the operator to start braking, and if they do it correctly, they slow down and crawl to the right spot.


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