back to article Now everyone can take in the sights and smells of a London tram station shut for 70 years

One of London's tram stations – mothballed in 1952 to make way for diesel buses – is to be opened to the public. London Transport Museum is running hour-long tours of the Kingsway Tram Subway near Holborn as part of its Hidden London series of historical tours. According to transport buffs, the Kingsway Tram Subway was " …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £45 for an hour? Are they hoping to raise enough capital to reopen the tramlines or something?

    1. Ken G
      Trollface

      Haven't you travelled with Virgin Trams before?

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Since the tours are limited, they are pricing it to what the estimate the demand to be. What good does it do to price at £5 if that means they have 10x more people wanting the tour than there are slots available?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        So way to manage demand is to price the plebs out of the tour?

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          That price is hardly unaffordable for anyone who is really interested. Sorry you don't like capitalism, but price has been used for centuries as a way to balance demand with supply.

          Running a museum isn't free, the excess above what you THINK the tickets should cost will contribute to keeping it open and able to do more things like this in the future.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            As a one off, ie it's not a museum, what are they going to spend it on? And how do you know that people with a real interest can afford it? Maybe people who worked there or on the system and now have only a state pension to live on might like to go too? Sorry if you think capitalism and supply and demand are the only options.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              A museum is sponsoring this. It may be a "one off" but the museum is not.

            2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Perhaps there's concession tickets for disadvantaged people. Also, when you come down to it, a tour of a disused tram stop is not a thing that you actually need.

      2. Claverhouse Silver badge

        The 'Good' of charging a Just Price rather than gouging and profiteering ?

        There are other ways of dealing with under-supply.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Oh dear...

    According to my Mother, the closing of the tram lines in 1952 was a PITA for her as she was pregnant with me at the time. The replacement busses were not as convenient when she was working in Holborn.

    Apparently, I've been through the tunnels even though I didn't know it... As much as I like exploring old railway lines, stations etc, £45 quid is a bit steep. I guess it will all go towards bailing out TfL. (sic)

  3. steven_t

    Also in the Goon Show

    As well as the Avengers movie, the Kingsway Tram Subway also appeared in an episode of the Goon Show, although it was in the dark (and on the radio).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW8NNSqBjFU

    1. William Towle
      Thumb Up

      Re: Also in the Goon Show

      > Kingsway Tram Subway also appeared in an episode of the Goon Show, although it was in the dark (and on the radio).

      Radio 4 Extra broadcast version (and others) here. Although described as surreal I felt there was a reverential undertone to this one.

      I looked forward to their take on this event and enjoyed it thoroughly :)

  4. Warm Braw Silver badge

    There's a lot going on under Kingsway...

    Not just the tram tunnel, also the now-disused Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly Line and the not-terribly-secret Trunks Kingsway - as well as the usual gas mains and power cables. No wonder is has been known to belch forth flames.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's a lot going on under Kingsway...

      Kingsway telephone exchange is actually somewhere else completely. It was named to deceive. I was lucky enough to get in a tour down there with the Institute of Telecoms Professionals a few years back.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: There's a lot going on under Kingsway...

        Indeed it's built in High Holborn around Chancery Lane tube station. However, Kingsway Trunks is a separate tunnel: you can probably locate the relevant bit of information buried here where Aldwych is mistyped as "Aldworth".

  5. johnfbw

    Hidden London

    I've been on a couple of the Hidden London tours - Clapham and Down Street. They are interesting, but expensive. Apparently run by volunteers, so no idea where all the money goes

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Hidden London

      Probably on health and safety and risk management consultants, and the inevitable public liability insurance for places usually not properly maintained.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hidden London

        I've been on a couple of these too. Down Street is excellent. The costs do indeed go on health and safety. The groups are very small and while the tours themselves are run by volunteers, you do get full PPE and H&S training. In the case of Down Street you are in live running tunnels, although that's not going to be the case here of course.

        If you don't want to pay £45 then don't go. I think most people would prefer that TFL cash not be diverted to subsidise a day or in a tunnel for some transport nerds.

  6. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Reminds me of the pre-Metro

    In Brussels they still have lots of trams, but also a couple of the lines go underground through the centre of town and connect with the newer Metro system. I hadn't realised there was a whole interchange down there, I'd just read something about the kind of people who wander round London looking at the hidden underground bits, trying to get into the Kingsway tunnel. Plus the Goon Show episode, mentioned above.

    The strange thing to me in Brussels was how the rules were different. The Metro is just like any railway. But when you get to some of the pre-Metro platforms (often in the same station) - when you change from the Northbound to the Southbound platforms, you just walk across the tracks. There's no live rail of course, and they're going slower - but it still feels very wrong to wander across the tracks in an underground station.

    I also wondered how many times motorists ended up in the tunnel system. Because the tunnels are tram-only, but lead to the main roads, so the trams can rejoin the normal above-ground tram network. It's bad enough when a taxi takes you down one of the tramways in the middle of dual carriageways, to dodge the traffic. That was pretty worrying, would be much worse to get swallowed by a tunnel.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of the pre-Metro

      Also, although Belgian trams are right-hand running (same as the cars) the trains are left-hand running so you're not entirely sure which way to look!

      If you're into infrastructure-spotting, there's a whole category of public works in Belgium known as Grands Travaux Inutiles - useless major projects that were never finished, or barely started (not just in Belgium, of course, but it's a local speciality which resulted in the name gaining wider international currency). The original plans for the Metro were, shall we say, overly ambitious and a lot of "temporary" arrangements have persisted.

      There's also a "pre-metro" in Antwerp, though it's metre-gauge rather than standard gauge. The politics are pretty similar, though!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of the pre-Metro

        If you're into infrastructure-spotting, there's a whole category of public works in Belgium known as Grands Travaux Inutiles - useless major projects that were never finished, or barely started

        Given that Boris spent some time in Brussels as a correspondent for the Telegraph, may be that's where he picked the tendency to come up with infrastructure projects of dubious need and cost.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: Reminds me of the pre-Metro

          Your username is apt.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of the pre-Metro

      "I also wondered how many times motorists ended up in the tunnel system."

      My brother-in-law managed that in Prague some years ago! Fortunately, the section is quite short, and no trams (or police) were around at the time...

  7. Auntie Dickspray
    Pint

    Repurpose the Mothballed for Uses Better than City Junk Storage

    Ideas:

    Modern trams for tourists and the lower classes. Complimentary feed bag, if you promise to stay out of our restaurants.

    A "Go Green" rickshaw network, manned only by the Empire's imports. Historical and hysterical.

    For underground sections, flood them and add gondola rides manned by citizens who have or can affect an Italian accent. All the charm of Venice, but the option to bail immediately after paying your overpriced fare.

    For underground sections, add 24-hour sports bars with adjacent pissoirs, vomitoria, and fist-fight spaces. Turn around a bad reputation by burying the problem. Bonus points: A random cave-in every two years, to thin the herd of undesirables.

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