Europe, London

The hidden tunnels of Charing Cross station

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may have read about the previous Hidden London tours I’ve done of Clapham South and Aldwych. On Easter Sunday I did a third tour – this time of Charing Cross station.

In 1971 construction began on a new underground line, originally called the Fleet line. The new line would take over the existing Baker Street to Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line and extend from Baker Street down to Charing Cross. The Fleet line was scheduled to be completed in 1977, the Queen’s Jubilee year, so it was renamed to the Jubilee line in honour of that event.

Originally there were plans to extend the Jubilee line from Charing Cross towards Lewisham however the developments in Canary Wharf meant that transport links were needed to support the increasing number of people travelling to the London Docklands area. The new Jubilee line extension routed from Green Park to Westminster before crossing the river and running via Waterloo, London Bridge and Greenwich, and terminating at Stratford. Consequently the Charing Cross Jubilee platforms were no longer needed and closed to passengers once the extension opened in 1999.

The platforms are now sometimes used for filming movies and television. If you’ve seen Skyfall, you may recognise the escalators in the photo below as the ones Bond slid down (notice the “Stand on the right” signs have been removed).

In addition to seeing the Jubilee line platforms, we also walked through the tunnels that were used in the construction of the original Jubilee Line. These tunnels run underneath Trafalgar Square all the way to the fourth plinth.

The last stop of the tour was the ventilation shafts. I’m a little disappointed that a train didn’t pull in while I was standing above the tracks.

London Transport Museum will be announcing a new programme of Hidden London tours sometime this month so keep an eye out if you’re interested in joining one of these tours. You can subscribe to their mailing list for priority announcements and access to the ticket presale – this is how I managed to secure my Aldwych and Charing Cross tickets so I recommend signing up to give yourself the best chance.

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