Hidden London Euston Lost Tunnels Tour

May 28, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

7Tunnel Light Tunnel Light Tunnell Light
 

On Friday 27th May I went on on one of the London Transport Museum Hidden London Tours. This one was of the secret tunnels under Euston Railway Station. These are abandoned areas of the London Underground. This Tour is a new one starting 2016 and I was on the second day they were running the Tour. First how do  you get on these Tours. It should be understood that these are 75 minute Tours of 20 people each running 4 days a week over about 8 weeks spread between a set in the spring and another in the Autumn. They sell out very quickly. It is essential to sign up to the London Transport Museum Website. They then release tickets a day in advance for subscribers. They email to give advance notice of the date and time when the email will go out releasing bookings. They did a queue system on their website. When I got on a minute after their email opened the floodgates there were 250 ahead of me and a 7 minute wait. I got in and made my booking. I checked as a matter of interest an hour later and there were 4000 in the queue and over an hour’s wait.

On the day our Tour Group met at 16 Melton Street which is the street immediately west of Euston Station. The building is on the junction with Drummond Street. The guides checked our E-Tickets and Identification and handed out high viz jackets. These were intended to help keep track of us especially in the darker tunnels and to give free access at the Underground Ticket barrier.
 

Meet Point Meet Point Meet Point High Viz
 

The building at Melton Street was originally  an Underground Station entrance for the  Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway opening in 1907 and closing in 1914 when all stations were consolidated at Euston. The building only survived because it was required for a ventilation shaft. Inside we started with a side show giving some of the complex history of the competing Underground Companies in the area. Euston overground station was the first intercity railway station in London and was built in 1837 as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway. The building was demolished in the 1960s and replaced with the present building. The demolition included a great Doric Arch and provoked a big outcry at the time but too late. Ironically the railway was built to provide fast transport between London and the Midlands and north due to be repeated when HS2 is built at Euston.

Next it was on to the current Underground station where we headed for the Northern Line, Bank branch platform and disappeared into a normally closed and locked gate at the end of the Platform.
 

Enter Door Enter DoorNorthern Line enter door
 

The following picture of a plan on site gives an idea of where we were. The pale pink tunnels are the closed off ones. They were originally connecting tunnels between old competing underground lines and their different booking halls and platforms. These were closed in the 1960s.
 

Plan Euston Lost TunnelsPlan Plan Euston Lost Tunnels
 

Within the tunnels can be seen remnants of advertisements dating back to the 1960s  providing a sort of time capsule.
 

Signs Time CapsuleSigns Signs Time Capsule
 

Some of the tunnels were quite well lit and other parts much less so requiring the use of torches by the organisers. On this tunnel we are heading towards the site of an old lift shaft.
 

TunnelTunnelTunnel
 

The Lift Shaft has now been opened up and is used for ventilation.
 

Old Lift Shaft Old Lift Shaft Old Lift Shaft
 

Further on and photographically the lighting made this shot ideal.
 

Tunnel Light Tunnel Light Tunnel Light
 

Next it was on to an area where a number of ventilation grills looked down on the passengers, platform and train below. Next time you go on the underground it might be worth looking up sometimes at who is looking down at you.
 

Vent To Platform Vent To Platform Vent To Platform
 

The cost of the Tour was £35 or £30 with concession. Well worth it for a unique experience. There are a number of other Hidden London Tours including the abandoned Down Street Station and Tunnels at Clapham South. Aldwych and Charing Cross Tours are currently not available due to planned works. More details at https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/hidden-london

Edwin Jones
 


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