London’s Disused Ghost Stations: How to Tour Secret London Underground Stations
Tour the alchemic realm of London’s abandoned tube stations.
Although there are 270 functioning stations across the London tube network, there are at least 40 Overground and Underground stations, which still exist but are no longer used. These disused underground stations were closed for a variety of reasons, from low passenger numbers to re-routing, these stations have had interesting histories, with some providing vital refuge throughout the wars. During World War Two many stations were used as public shelters and underground offices for London Underground and government staff. Down Street station was transformed into an underground facility with phone lines, and even hosted a meeting of the War Cabinet. Another, Brompton Road, was sold to the war Office in 1938 and is still used by the Ministry of Defence t oday. Stations have also played a part in Britain’s cultural life. Aldwych station, for example, was used to house the National Gallery’s collection during WWI and British Museum artefacts (including the Elgin Marbles) during WWII. In more recent years Aldwych has doubled up as a filming location for productions as diverse as The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ music video, and zombie movie ’28 Weeks Later.’ There has been a revived interest in the mystique of these abandoned lairs, and now Londoners can finally take a ghost tour of these subterranean worlds.
London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum is making your subterranean dreams come true by putting on another round of behind-the-scenes tours at some of London’s disused tube stations. As well as the well-established Aldwych station tour, you can also explore the depths of Charing Cross station and for the first time, they’re offering tours of Down Street station so you can see where Prime Minister Winston Churchill held cabinet war meetings and took refuge during the Blitz. Tickets turn up occasionally and sell out fast. You can find out about forthcoming tours on the London Transport Museum website. This is the closest you’ll get to a ghost tube London underground museum.
This tour group offers bi-monthly tours of the most famous station in underground London. Aldwych station is a fascinating location with a rich and varied history which stands as king of the older tube, being an apex of the old tube maps. It opened to the public in 1907, never reached its planned potential and eventually closed in 1994. They provide the rare opportunity to take a tour of the now disused Aldwych Underground station in the Strand. Led by expert guides, you will be able to see the ticket hall, the original lifts, abandoned platforms and inter-connecting walkways – including some that have very rarely been seen by the public. The station provided shelter to Londoners during the Blitz and also starred in its own right in productions including Superman IV, The Krays, Patriot Games, V for Vendetta, The Good Shepherd, Atonement, 28 Weeks Later, Mr Selfridge, Sherlock and much more. Aldwych Station Tours are available on a very limited basis. Dates are released a few weeks in advance and tickets will then be released on a first-come-first-served basis.
Disused Tube App
If you prefer to go it alone and have your own vagabond adventure, you can now download The Disused Tube App and plunge into the rich history of these stations on your own time. The Disused Tube app lists over 50 abandoned London stations, as well as Tube stations that were never finished, and old railways that are no longer part of the network to provide an active old underground map. Select the disused railway stations you’re interest in from the list and you’ll find its history, an above-ground map so you can find it and an audio commentary with bonus nerdy facts. There are also two walking tour maps, and a complete ‘network map’ showing you the location of every station if it were still on the Tube map today.