BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 471

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 471

IELTS Academic Reading Test

LONDON’S SUCCESSFUL SUBTERRANEAN SUBWAY SYSTEM

In London, the best way to get from point to point is to take the tube, boasting 11 lines and carrying approximately 1.34 billion passengers per year. It is the world’s eleventh busiest metro system and was ground-breaking both in concept and construction at the time of its first proposal and development, becoming the world’s very first underground railway. From humble beginnings back in the 19th century, the system now runs 402km of lines (55% over-ground interestingly) serving 270 stations. The idea of an underground railway system was first proposed in the 1830s, with the very first line opening in January 1863, and more recently London Underground celebrated 150 years of operations in 2013.

One of the standout positives of this form of rapid transport is that it is much faster than taking the public bus, and much cheaper than taking the iconic but costly black cabs. Possibly the most famous transport system in the world is the London Underground system, with its miles of lines, distinct sounding station names and the characteristic tube map. The schematic Tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931, was voted a national design icon in 2006.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

The system’s first tunnels were built just below the surface using the cut and cover method, which is a relatively simple process of construction for more shallow tunnels where a trench is excavated and roofed over with an overhead support system strong enough to carry the load of what is to be built above the tunnel. Whilst being comparatively cheap and straightforward, a major disadvantage of cut-and-cover is the widespread disruption generated at the surface level during construction.

This, and the availability of electric traction, brought about London Underground’s switch to bored tunnels at a level much lower towards the end of the 19th century. These circular tunnels – which give rise to its nickname ‘the Tube’ – were dug through the London Clay at a deeper level.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

There are numerous hidden lines, strange uses and disused stations down there under London. It is a labyrinth down there of lines – both in use and not in use. For example, the postal system uses special lines that are not well known about, but are in fact a very efficient way of moving both parcels and letters around.

One of the reasons for the success of this modern day metro is in the simplicity of its ticketing system, which is a ticketing system that is thankfully straightforward to use in London. Locked in with the London Oyster Card system whereby one can top up their Oyster travel cards, it is very much a user-friendly concept, widely praised by commuting Londoners and travelling tourists. A day pass or a week pass is the most affordable, efficient, and practical way for tourists to get around London. Simply handover your payment for your travel card and you can get from The British Museum to Hyde Park to Wembley Stadium even if you don’t know the city’s layout.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Unfortunately, the system is not perfect as it does suffer from some unpleasant socio-economic aspects that offset the obvious benefits. Primarily there is the issue of strikes, which are highly frustrating and annoying to those affected at the time. Many travellers have been in London and suffered from this before trying to attend a football game or a theatre show when a city wide strike was in operation. It is at these times, that London really struggles, and folks of all walks of life struggle to get to their destination using other modes of transport on those days.

Getting lost on these subway systems is another secondary imperfection on the lines as they can be hard to navigate for those unaccustomed to using them, which tends to affect the tourists much more than the local citizens. There are maps, of course, but they can often look like a plate of spaghetti for those not familiar with using them.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Being a very well used system – one of the fundamental problems is over-crowding on the trains and platforms – in particular during rush-hour. So how can we ease congestion and make it train travel a less stressful experience for commuters? This may be achieved through extending the hours of usage (which at times is limited), or alternatively increasing the frequency of the trains themselves, and of course in the construction of brand new lines. In addition, phone signal and WIFI access are next in line to drag the system screaming and kicking in to the modern techno-focused world. Substantial fund investment has been committed and numerous research projects commissioned by major telecommunications companies to accomplish this latter issue.

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 1–7 on your answer sheet write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

IELTS Academic Reading Test

1. The design of London’s metro system was based on other busy metros.

2. The system is mostly underground.

3. In the original tunnel construction process, ditches were dug and then covered with load supporting structures.

4. UK government departments readily provide citizens with information about all the unusual uses of the Tube.

5. Tube strikes sometimes happen when metro workers stop work to demand more free time.

6. London Underground maps are difficult for non-residents to use.

7. Today, the London Underground is attractive to fans of communication technology.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Choose ONE WORD from the passage for each answer.

The Tube is arguably the most 8._________ commuting scheme on Earth. The 9._______ of the underground system won a national award more than 70 years after was created. The Tube plays an effective, if very low profile role as a part of the 10.________ service. Purchasing a 11._________ for a short, fixed period is the best subway option for holiday visitors to the U.K.’s capital. An immediate priority for London’s subway is to reduce 12.__________, thereby making city journeys more pleasant. There has been major 13._________ in the modernisation of electronic communication facilitation due to the involvement of key corporations in this field.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 471

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IELTS Academic Reading Test

1. FALSE

2. FALSE

3. TRUE

4. FALSE

5. NOT GIVEN

6. TRUE

7. FALSE

8. FAMOUS

9. MAP

10. POSTAL

11. PASS

12. CONGESTION / OVERCROWDING

13. INVESTMENT

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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