The lost tunnels of Euston Station
Last month I took advantage of a family Christmas present and went with Joe on a London Transport Museum photographic tour of some tunnels around Euston Station. These tunnels closed to the public in 1962, leaving us with a small time capsule of London life left in the posters on the walls.
The tour started in Melton Street, opposite the present Euston Station in a glazed brick building designed distinctively by Leslie Green. This was once the station of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway, or the Hampstead Tube. This line opened in 1907.
In 1907 another tube line also served Euston, the City and South London Railway with a station building (now demolished) on the other side of the mainline Euston Station to the Melton Street one. These two separate companies decided that they would come together for the convenience of passengers and build an interconnecting passageway with its own ticket hall and lifts to the mainline station. Both companies were taken over by the Underground Electric Railways of London in 1914. The lines were amalgamated to become the Northern Line and the two separate station buildings closed. However the interconnecting walkway was kept.
In the 1960's Euston Station was refurbished and the passenger services rationalised. In April 1962 the old interconnecting passageway and ticket hall were closed and are now just used for internal servicing of the lines.
We started the tour in the old station building in Melton Street. Here there is an air-conditioning unit for the tunnels. You can see some of the old tiling and dado rails that decorated the original building.
From Melton Street we walked across, into Euston Station and on to the Victoria line. A door at the end of the northern platform was opened for us and we stepped through into the tunnel system, a little Harry Potter like.
There were about 16 of us and we split into 4 groups, each doing a different section at a time so we didn't fall over ourselves. We were given round 20 minutes to photograph each section which was plenty. The light levels were very low but we could use tripods.
There is evidence of the tiles and posters in the passenger sections. There are also areas that were used for service access and some that are still used for ventilation. A lot of cabling has been added to the walls over time and the area is also used for storage. The HS2 line will take out the Melton Street station when Euston is expanded.
The old ticket booth, with and without Joe.
Below is a picture of the remains of the passenger lifts, now walled up
A ventilation shaft used for the original tunnel system and still in use today.
Other tunnels shown below designed to provide air flow to the passenger tunnels.
The view through a grid of the Victoria Line below, a train is being boarded.
When it came for the time to go, Joe went back to the Victoria Line and stood on the northern platform to catch the train home, looking at the grid above us and imagining that lonely dark tunnel running over our heads.
I made a video while I was in the tunnels, mainly so that I could capture the sound of life going on underneath our feet.