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]

Plan showing the reconstruction of Euston Station to accommodate the Victoria Line


In 1967, in line with the opening of the Victoria Line, and the construction of the new Euston main line railway station above, the station was substantially expanded and remodelled to cope with the increase in passenger numbers. The route of the Victoria Line was designed to provide the maximum number of connections to existing services and to relieve some of the pressure on

those other lines by giving an alternative route through central London. As such, interchanges were designed to facilitate quick transfers between lines by the use of cross-platform interchanges where possible. At Euston the single island platform on the Northern Line City branch was suffering from dangerous congestion, so a new City branch northbound platform was constructed some way to the south and the old northbound track was removed to provide a wider southbound platform. Two new platforms for the Victoria Line were excavated between and parallel to the original and the new City branch tunnels to which they were directly linked. This arrangement results in a peculiar feature of the station: a passenger changing from the Victoria Line to Northern Line City branch or vice versa will find that trains on adjacent platforms travel in opposite directions.

Photo:The remaining section of the northbound face of the island platform. The platform was extended across the northbound track to form a wide southbound platform for the Northern Line's City branch. The steps lead up to a signal cabin which closed in 1958 and the cabin
is now an Interlocking Machine Room.
Photo by Nick Catford

A new ticket hall was constructed below the concourse of the mainline station with two new sets of escalators to replace the lifts. The escalators gave access to and from an intermediate circulation level which gives access to the Northern Line Charing Cross branch platforms and two further sets of escalators; one set each serving the northbound and southbound Victoria and Northern

Line City branch platforms. Interchanges between the northbound and southbound Victoria and Northern City Line platforms are made via a passageway at the lower level so as to avoid the need to use the escalators. An emergency stair to the intermediate interchange level is located midway along it. On 1 December 1969 the whole new interchange system was opened and the old passages were closed off. Many of the old subways have been retained for ventilation.

Photo:Lift landing for the combined entrance on the main line station concourse. The lifts were taken out of use in 1969 during the construction of the Victoria Line.
Photo by Nick Catford

To start our tour of the disused passenger subways and lift shafts at Euston we made our way to Platform 1 which is the northbound Northern Line platform for the Edgware line. At the end of the platform we went through a door and up a short flight of stairs to a short subway that brought us onto the lower lift landing for the Drummond Street entrance. This subway has been

disused since 1st October 1914 and is very grimy and the tiled walls are now painted grey. Alongside the empty lift shafts which are now used for ventilation a third shaft was for the emergency stairs and although these have now been removed and the shaft capped at street level four steel columns that supported the steps still run up the centre of the shaft. There is a new emergency stairway in one of the old lift shafts but we made our way across a metal walkway over the lift well to reach the other side of the lift landing.

From there we went down a steep flight of steps which formed part of the ventilation route for the City Line and is now maintained as a staff walkway between the Charing Cross line platforms and the City line platforms. At the bottom of the stairs, we went through a trapdoor in the floor and down a ladder to reach the old northbound City Line which was taken out of

service in 1969 when the line was rerouted along what is now known as the Euston Loop (see station layout plan). We were now at the junction of the abandoned alignment and the Euston Loop and we were able to see Edgware bound trains through a grille. From the junction we walked back along the old running tunnel which, unlike the earlier subway, is clean and well lit.

Photo:The former northbound running tunnel, now used as a staff walkway between the Charing Cross line platforms and City line platforms.
Photo by Nick Catford

Half way along the tunnel we went through a door into a room that now houses the new signalling equipment for the northern line and then we were back in the old running tunnel again. Eventually we came out through a door onto Platform 6, the south bound platform of the City line. At the far end of the platform we passed through a door and down the ramp passing a stairway

up to a signal cabin located above the east end of the old island platform; this closed in 1958. To our right we saw the sand drag at the end of a short section of track which is all that remains of the old north bound City line, a short section of platform edge from the island platform is also visible here.

Looking east along the track the south bound city line was to our left with the old north bound city line to the right, this has been retained to allow trains to reverse at Euston.  The line leads to the Euston Loop from where there is access onto the Kings Cross loop which is used to transfer trains from the Northern Line onto the Piccadilly Line. A short distance along the abandoned

northbound line we could see a disused siding which originally connected to the northbound line just south of a scissors crossover. The 7-car siding was used until 1967 to reverse terminating Euston trains but is now devoid of track although it still retains a hydraulic buffer stop.

Photo:The bottom of the emergency stairs up to the Eversholt Street entrance. The shaft has been capped at the top. The side of the metal steps can still be seen on the tiled wall.
Photo by Nick Catford

We walked back a short distance along Platform 6 and through a door and up a steep and narrow flight of steps that brought us onto the lower lift landing from the original Eversholt Street entrance onto the City & South London line. This has been disused since 1st October 1914 but there are still some original posters on the wall from this time. The entrance into the two

lift shafts is now bricked up but the narrow shaft for the emergency stairs is still open although all evidence of the stairs have been removed and the shaft is capped at street level. The subway is maintained for ventilation and we could look down onto Platform 6 through a large metal grille.

We descended the steps back onto platform 6 and at the opposite end of the platform we went through a metal grille door and up a flight of steps that brought us into a subway. This led to the lower lift landing from the Main Line station entrance that replaced Eversholt Street and Drummond Street entrances. This entrance in turn was closed in 1969 when the station was

remodelled during the construction of the Victoria Line. There are many 1960’s posters remaining along the walls including one detailing the closure of this entrance and the reconstruction of the station. Close to the three lift shafts is the small underground ticket office that was provided for interchange between the C & SLR and the CCEHR, it was closed when the two lines came under joint ownership in 1914.  Continuing along the subway, there is a flight of steps that led up to Platform 2 on the Charing Cross branch; these have now been bricked up at the top.

Photo:Subway leading from the lifts (seen on the left) to Platform 6. This taken out of use in 1969 during the construction of the Victoria Line.
Photo by Nick Catford

Returning back along the corridor to the lifts a further subway leads to another set of steps leading up to Platform 1, these have also been bricked up at the top. One of the lift shafts is still open with daylight visible at the top; the shaft opens onto Platform 2 of the Main Line station above.  The other two shafts have been bricked up and utilised as equipment rooms. From the

lift landing we entered a ventilation tunnel that took us over the Victoria Line and out through a metal grille into a cross passage at the base of the emergency stairs. We returned to the surface and made our way across Cardington Street to look at the original Leslie Green entrance building for the Charing Cross platforms at the corner of Drummond Street. Externally this remains largely unaltered and is used as a fan chamber with a huge upright fan in the centre of the building. A modern iron stairway has been installed in the lift shaft for emergency egress. The ticket office was not in the building but was located below ground; this has now been converted into a sub-station and was not accessible to us.


Click here for more pictures of Euston Station

[Source: Nick Catford]

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