Site Records

Site Name: Euston Underground Station (Northern Line): Disused tunnels and subways

Drummond Street
OS Grid Ref: TQ294826

Sub Brit site visit 2008

[Source: Nick Catford]

C&SL entrance on Seymour Street c.1908
Euston underground station was opened by the City & South London Railway on 12th May 1907 with the opening of their extension from Moorgate Street. Euston is not to be confused with Euston Square which opened in 1863 as Gower Street on the Metropolitan Railway. The entrance building, designed by Sidney Smith, was at the junction of Seymour Street (now Eversholt Street) and Doric Way from where lifts and stairs took passengers down to the west end of the narrow island platform within a large diameter station tunnel; identical
to that at Angel. The street level building on Seymour Street was Moroccan in style faced in white tiles, topped with destination boards with mullioned windows set high in the walls. The building was demolished in 1934 and Euston House, the headquarters of the British Railways Board, now stands on the site.

Photo:The lower lift landing from the Seymour Street entrance for the City & South London platforms; the lifts were taken out of use in 1914. The lift shaft has now been filled in. The subway turns left to reach the other side of the lifts and the emergency stairs up to Seymour Street.
Photo by Nick Catford

On 22 June 1907, the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (CCE&HR, now the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line) opened between Charing Cross, Archway (then called Highgate) and Golders Green.

Original plans for the route were for it to bypass Euston on a straight alignment to Camden Town. However, the wisdom of bypassing a busy railway station and the large number of customers that it would provide was soon questioned and the route was revised to serve the mainline station. The station building was constructed to the west of the mainline station with the characteristic
red glazed terra cotta elevations typical of stations designed by Leslie Green for the CCE&HR.

Photo:Deep level interchange ticket office in the subway between the C&SLR and CCE&HR platforms
Photo by Nick Catford

Although built and initially operated as two separate stations by the two companies, the C&SLR and the CCE&HR platforms were sufficiently close together that a deep level interchange was constructed between platforms shortly after opening. A passage was built from near the C&SLR lifts to the east end of the CCE&HR platforms. Unusually this led up from the lifts as the C&SLR platforms were lower than those of the CCE&HR.

At the same time, another passageway was created, leading from the connecting passage to a new set of lifts (and emergency stairs) which surfaced within the mainline station itself. Though the companies continued to maintain their own separate entrances and lifts, it soon became clear that maintaining three entrances so close to each other was unnecessary. The station buildings were closed leaving the entrance within the mainline station to serve

New combined entrance on the main line station
concourse in 1915
both routes.

A small underground interchange ticket office was provided in the new subway for the convenience of passengers changing between lines. In early days railway companies only sold tickets to stations on their own line so the ability to buy through tickets to another companies line was a new phenomenon that in time was to become common place.

The original exits continued to exist for ventilation reasons until the elaborate Moroccan design of the C&SLR building was demolished in 1934.

The interchange subway and lift shaft to the combined entrance on the main line station forecourt.

In 1913 the two lines came under joint ownership when the Underground Group who were already owners of the CCE&HR. Plans were made before World War I to extend both lines and provide additional connections at Camden Town and Kennington so that trains could run from either of the two northern termini via either branch to the southern terminus.

Works to modernise and enlarge the C&SLR tunnels which had been originally constructed to a smaller diameter than the CCE&HR closed the line between Moorgate and Euston from 8 August 1922 to 20 April 1924. The new link to Camden Town was opened with the rebuilt C&SLR tunnels. The extensions to Edgware in 1923/24 and to Morden in 1926 lead to the
combined line adopting the name Morden-Edgware Line. This changed to the Northern Line in 1937.

Photo:The former C & SLR island platform in September 1950
Photo by Dewi Williams fromDewi's Trains, Trams and Trolleys web site

To the east of Euston is a connecting tunnel from the northbound City branch to the northbound Piccadilly Line tunnel just south of King's Cross St. Pancras. Via this connection, called the 'King's Cross Loop', a train in the northbound Piccadilly Line platform at King's Cross St. Pancras can run south and enter the northbound City branch platform at Euston.
Alternatively, via a junction, called the 'Euston Loop', between the old section of the northbound City branch and the southbound City branch, trains can enter the southbound platform.

This exchange between lines can be operated in both directions and was created when the C&SLR became part of the Underground group in 1913 to facilitate train stock transfers. At that time the C&SLR had no surface depot and train carriages were lowered into the subterranean depot at Stockwell by a large lift. At first the junctions concerned were controlled from a signal
cabin sited over the headwall of platform 6 (southbound Northern line on the City branch); this cabin still exists, but is now operated remotely as an interlocking machine room from the Northern Line control centre at Cobourg Street though facilities remain for manual control of the signals. Presently the junctions are only used during train reversals and to facilitate the passage of engineering trains between the Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Photo:Drummond Street lower lift landing for the Charing Cross line platforms, taken
out of use on 1st October 1914.
Photo by Nick Catford

Use of the Kings Cross and Euston loops is considered a movement into and out of sidings according to the London Underground Working Reference Manual, and as such is done without passengers on board. However, until relatively recently, trains terminating northbound at Euston did carry passengers from Kings Cross to Euston via the loop line. Now, any such trains detrain
passengers at Kings Cross and then proceed empty to Euston. This may also have been done to prevent passenger confusion, as the northbound terminating train would arrive in the southbound platform at Euston, having passed through the loop. The northbound and southbound platforms on the city branch are not adjacent at Euston, and so any passenger wishing to continue northbound would have to endure a lengthy walk to reach the northbound platform. When there is a scheduled service suspension north of Euston, trains do still proceed to Euston via the loop with passengers, since this is still a passenger signalled move. Once at Euston, they can change to other services.

Click here for further information and pictures of Euston Station

[Source: Nick Catford]

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