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Report - Aldwych - Disused Underground Station - London

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by MarkR, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. MarkR

    MarkR 28DL Member
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    didnt think id get to see this but someone had a spare ticket at the last minute. visited on the Blitz experience run by the London Transport Museum last week. they had gone to loads of effort to bring the station back to how it looked during WW2 and even bringing down a 1938 stock tube train to make it authentic. shame we couldnt access everywhere and use tripods (hence the wierd angle photos off the floor!), but the staff were great letting me hang back a bit to keep away from the crowds.

    History:
    Aldwych originally opened as Strand in 1907. The station was the terminus of a short Piccadilly line branch from Holborn. The branch was the subject of a number of unrealised extension proposals that would have seen the tunnels through the station extended southwards.

    In March 1908, the off-peak shuttle service began to use the western platform at Strand and the through platform at Holborn, crossing between the two branch tunnels south of Holborn. Low usage, led to the withdrawal of the second peak hours shuttle and the eastern tunnel was taken out of use. On 9 May 1915, three of the Underground stations in the area were renamed and Strand station became Aldwych. Sunday services ended in April 1917 and, in August of the same year, the eastern tunnel and platform at Aldwych and the bay platform at Holborn were formally closed. A German bombing campaign in September 1917, led the disused platform to be used as storage for 300 pictures from the National Gallery until December 1918.

    Wartime efficiency measures led to the branch being scheduled for temporary closure in 1940. It closed on 22 September 1940, shortly after the start of The Blitz, and was partly fitted-out by the City of Westminster for use as an air-raid shelter. The tunnels between Aldwych and Holborn were used to store items from the British Museum, including the Elgin Marbles. The branch reopened on 1 July 1946, but patronage continued to be low. In 1958, the station was one of three that London Transport announced would be closed. Again, the station survived, but the service was reduced in June 1958 to run only during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday morning and early afternoons.The Saturday service was withdrawn in June 1962.

    After operating only during peak hours for more than 30 years, the final station closure announcement came on 4 January 1993. The original 1907 lifts required replacement at a cost of £3 million. This was not justifiable as only 450 passengers used the station each day and it was losing London Regional Transport £150,000 per year. Permission was granted by the Secretary of State for Transport on 1 September 1994 and the Aldwych branch closed on 30 September.

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