London Transport Museum has a extremely attention-grabbing number of ‘Hidden London’ excursions that give us occasional entry to tunnels and stations on the London transport community which can be not in operational use.
The ‘Charing Cross: Entry All Areas’ tour appears on the out of service Jubilee line platforms and development tunnels left over from the excavation of the Jubilee line within the Seventies.
It’s all the time a deal with to go to areas not accessible to most of the people, however this tour consists of an space you can be telling your pals about for years.
The assembly level is close to the Ticket Corridor for Charing Cross Underground Station. I booked for a weekday morning and was stunned how most of the group have been from the US and Australia, which actually does present the broad enchantment of those excursions.
After donning hi-vis vests, we have been led into the station and down the primary escalators. However then as an alternative of left or proper in the direction of the Bakerloo or Northern line platforms, we bought to undergo a kind of doorways you see however don’t actually absorb as you’ll by no means be on the opposite facet.
(Apparently, in the event you ever hear music from behind a locked door at Charing Cross station it’s as a result of they use the realm for auditioning buskers.)
We went down extra escalators (this time not working, so we needed to stroll down) and have been met by the professional volunteers who shared their information all through the tour.
Earlier than going onto the previous Jubilee line platforms, we came upon extra in regards to the space, the station and why these platforms are not in use.
Charing Cross Railway Station
Charing Cross railway station opened in 1864. The station was constructed to increase the Southern Japanese Railway westward from London Bridge and to move passengers from Kent into the middle of London.
On the forecourt of the station stands the Eleanor Cross – one in all 9 put up by King Edward I in reminiscence of Queen Eleanor, following her demise in 1290.
Eleanor of Castile was solely ten years previous when she left her house in Spain and arrived in England in 1254 to marry Edward. As she was so very younger on the time of their marriage, Edward went away for the primary few years to proceed his conflict plans.
By 20 years previous she had their first youngster and went on to provide sixteen youngsters so there will need to have been some love. She died all of the sudden, so Edward put up the memorials on the 9 locations the place her physique rested on the best way from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey.
The Eleanor Cross right here is taken into account probably the most well-known and gave the realm – Charing Cross – its title. (Charing, is derived from the Outdated English phrase “cierring,” referring to a bend within the River Thames.)
The unique Eleanor Cross was manufactured from wooden and stood on the high of Whitehall, the place the statue of Charles I on horseback can now be seen. That is the purpose from which Britain measures its street distances to and from London.
The wood cross was destroyed within the Civil Warfare, so the current Victorian memorial was designed in 1863 to copy as intently as doable the medieval one. It was renovated in 2010 and is round 69 toes excessive.
Charing Cross Underground Station
The Underground station right here has gone by many title adjustments and merges to be the station we see right now.
The primary Underground station constructed on the Charing Cross web site was referred to as Trafalgar Sq. and opened in 1906. It served the Baker Avenue & Waterloo Railway which is now the Bakerloo line.
The second station within the space was referred to as Charing Cross and opened one 12 months later in 1907. It was positioned on the Strand and was the unique terminus for the Charing Cross Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR) which is now a part of the Northern line.
This second station was renamed Charing Cross (Strand) in 1914, and in 1915 it was renamed once more to Strand.
About half a mile away, there was one other station referred to as Strand, in order that bought renamed Aldwych. (It’s one other station the place you may get occasional excursions run by London Transport Museum.)
The close by 1870 Charing Cross station opened by the Metropolitan District Railway was lastly renamed Embankment in 1976 after a number of title adjustments.
I feel all of this highlights how the person underground strains weren’t constructed as a unified community however as separate transport strains by personal firms. There would have been completely different tickets wanted for every line and completely different reliability from every firm. We’ve our complaints about Transport for London now, however it wasn’t this difficult!
The Fleet Line
In 1971 development began on a brand new underground line which was to have been referred to as the Fleet Line. The title was used because of the anticipated extension of the road from Charing Cross, alongside the route of Fleet Avenue by to stations within the Metropolis, together with Fenchurch Avenue and Cannon Avenue.
The title modified to the Jubilee line was to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. (Apparently, it value £50,000 to vary all of the indicators!) It took two extra years for the road to open and it’s nonetheless the most recent underground line on the community.
As that is such a busy space of central London, there have been development tunnels used to load excavation waste to keep away from street congestion. Vans may then be loaded with the spoils away from the positioning. (See ‘Building Tunnel’ beneath for extra info.)
The brand new Jubilee line, initially operating from Stanmore to Charing Cross, opened in 1979.
Additionally in 1979, a brand new Charing Cross station opened combining Strand and Trafalgar Sq. stations as the brand new Jubilee line joined the Bakerloo and Northern strains.
So once you stand on the Bakerloo line platforms right here, you’re on the previous Trafalgar Sq. station. And if you find yourself on the Northern line platforms, you’re on the previous Strand station.
Air flow Shaft
Building of the Jubilee line additionally allowed for a much-needed air flow system to be added.
In 1973 a air flow shaft was sunk in to supply draft aid and air flow to the Northern and Jubilee line platforms. It’s practically 200 toes in depth (with 169 toes above floor) and 23 toes in diameter.
Recent air is pulled into the tunnel, and the trains push the nice and cozy air up and out of the air flow shaft. On this tour, we bought to enter a tough hat space to see among the tunnels used for the big air flow pipes and to see up contained in the colossal air flow shaft.
The air flow shaft might be seen on Craven Avenue, close to Benjamin Franklin Home, and appears to be an integral a part of an workplace block. It’s about the identical peak as Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Sq..
Jubilee Line Extension
Plans for important redevelopment and constructing throughout the previous London docklands resulted in a change of route for the Jubilee line extension. The numerous developments within the Canary Wharf space from the Nineteen Eighties meant further transport was wanted.
As a consequence of new tunneling methods, a special route was used for the deliberate Jubilee line extension, re-routing from Inexperienced Park station to Westminster, then alongside the south of the river, as much as Canary Wharf and eventually Stratford.
This left Charing Cross on the finish of a brief spur from Inexperienced Park. Bypassed by the extension of the Jubilee Line, the Charing Cross Jubilee line platforms closed a day earlier than the Jubilee line extension opened in 1999.
These platforms have been closed as they have been not wanted, so there aren’t any plans to reopen them. After being out of service for nearly twenty years, the platforms actually don’t look old school. Whereas some ‘tunnel excursions’ are darkish and dusty, these platforms appear clear and properly lit.
With the Jubilee line space not in operational use right here it meant the platforms, escalators and related tunnels (TfL name it all of the Jubilee Complicated) could possibly be used for filming TV programmes and flicks (in addition to coaching workout routines for the London Fireplace Brigade and Metropolitan Police).
Throughout the tour, there’s a brief movie with highlights of among the well-known motion pictures which were filmed right here together with the twenty third James Bond movie, Skyfall, the place Daniel Craig slides down between the escalators and the chase scene for Matt Damon’s Bourne Ultimatum.
The primary Paddington film additionally had scenes filmed in Charing Cross in addition to the primary episode of Sequence 3 of BBC’s Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
It has additionally been used for music movies comparable to Madonna’s Hung Up in 2005 and Alex Park’s Cry in 2004.
Posters get modified for filming so those I bought to see are fakes to allow them to’t be seen to be promoting one thing in a TV programme, particularly on the BBC. It was attention-grabbing to identify the pretend cellphone numbers and web sites on the posters.
Any further you’ll be trying extra intently at movies which characteristic a London Underground station as it’s prone to be the Jubilee line areas of Charing Cross station. (If it’s a extra old school station then will probably be Aldwych.)
A giant clue is that these are the one platforms the place the roof lining panels have been eliminated. (All wanted to be modified throughout the community after the King’s Cross station fireplace in 1987, however there was no must go to the expense of including new panels right here.)
And don’t be fooled by completely different signage as we noticed a pretend Circle and District line signal which were added for the filming of Skyfall because it was imagined to be at Temple station.
We additionally noticed indicators for ‘British Rail’ (to the mainline railway station). BR resulted in 1997 with Railtrack operating the railways till 2002 when state-owned Community Rail took over.
The Jubilee Complicated space can also be used for testing by Transport for London.
The tactile flooring that’s now on all platforms to assist visually impaired passengers was trialed right here first. And the raised platform sections to extend accessibility have been trialed right here too.
Lighting on the edges of escalators was trialed right here, however that didn’t get used elsewhere. And the big yellow sections on the partitions reverse the platforms to point out the place there are exits additionally wasn’t used after trialing.
I discussed initially that there’s a a part of this tour you can be speaking about for years, and that is it. The development tunnels dug for eradicating the spoils from the Jubilee line excavation go proper underneath Trafalgar Sq.!
These tunnels have been by no means supposed for passenger use, so it is a actual behind-the-scenes second. We entered through a kind of doorways you cross in a hall and by no means actually discover.
That is the darker and dirtier a part of the tour however probably the most fascinating. It’s not a straight tunnel because it has to curve across the foundations of Nelson’s Column. The tunnel passes underneath the fountain on the best as you look in the direction of the Nationwide Portrait Gallery then slopes down to finish about underneath the Fourth Plinth. It used to proceed straight forward with a slim gauge tramway taking spoil out through a shaft to the floor to a worksite the place the Sainsbury Wing of The Nationwide Gallery is now situated. This tunnel has now been sealed, and further struts have been added down right here to assist the constructing above.
On this tunnel, we may clearly see the eight sections of every tunnel protect. This tunnel may have been smaller, however it was constructed to the identical dimension as practice tunnels so London transport may use tunnel protect inventory they already owned. You possibly can see the date of manufacture on the tunnel protect sections right here, and it’s clear they have been leftover from the development of the Victoria Line within the Sixties.
These occasional excursions have been operating since 2015, and you’ll e book on the London Transport Museum web site: www.ltmuseum.co.uk.
There are 20 locations obtainable on every tour, and it is advisable put on sturdy strolling boots.
The tour lasts round 75 minutes and, I promise you, the time goes in a short time.
All in all, it’s an enchanting tour and extremely advisable.
LONDON UNDER: Exploring Hidden London’s Deserted Charing Cross Station – Londontopia – The Web site for Folks Who Love London