Site Records

Site Name: Moorgate Station - Disused tunnels and subways

London, E.C.2
OS Grid Ref: TQ327817

Sub Brit site visit 2008

[Source: Nick Catford]

Our guide at Moorgate was Customer Service Assistant Martin Davis. From the concourse we made our way down the emergency stairs towards the present ‘Great Northern Electrics’ platforms.  Nearing the bottom of the stairs, a nondescript wooden door on our right opened onto the abandoned subway to the lower lift
landing that was taken out of use in 1922; the subway is still used for ventilation and is lit. The white tiled walls are grubby but still in good condition with some signage including ‘Way out’, ‘To the City Line’ and ‘No Smoking’.

Photo:The abandoned subway to the lower lift landing
Photo by Nick Catford

Tunnel in the lift well to one of the Northern Line tunnels. Photo by Nick Catford (click to enlarge)
There were two lifts shafts, each with two lifts and an emergency spiral staircase in a third shaft . The lifts have been removed but both shafts are open and by looking up it was possible to see the doors onto the upper lift landing. The shafts are still in used for ventilation and one of the lift shafts has been turned into a machinery room with ventilation plant, electrical switchgear and a metal stairway down into the lift well from where a short passage (well grilled!) led into the Northern Line running tunnels. On the far side of the lift shafts, a grimy, unlit subway curves away to the left but is blocked by a brick wall after 80 yards. This subway has not been used since the
lifts were taken out of service in 1922 and although the brown tiles are still in place, the floor has lifted in places.

Photo:Emergency exit - stairs from the lower lift landing top the bottom of the spiral staircase
Photo by Nick Catford

Back on the lift landing, a wooden door opened onto another grimy, unlit stairway up to a landing at the bottom of the emergency spiral staircase.  The spiral staircase has been removed and replaced by a new metal stairway which has, itself, clearly been out of use for many years.  The stairway goes up to two landings where short subways are blocked at a point where they
presumably rejoin the existing subway network, the lower landing led to the sub-surface Metropolitan Line platforms while the upper landing led to the booking office.  At the lower of the two landings there is a sign fixed to the tiled wall which says “To Metropolitan Railway for Aldgate, Essex Road, Drayton Park, Farringdon Street, Finchley Road, High Street Ken, Liverpool Street, Wembley Park”. Both landings are hot and humid with no through ventilation.

Photo:There are two landings at the top of the emergency stairs. This subway now blocked a few yards behind the photographer led to the sub-surface Metropolitan Line platforms.
Photo by Nick Catford

Returning to the current emergency stairs we made our way down to the Northern City line platforms 9 and 10.  Both tunnels extend for about 50 yards beyond the station, these tunnels were part of the incomplete extension to Lothbury, which was abandoned in 1903. The station was the site of the infamous Moorgate train crash in 1975 when a southbound Northern City line
train ploughed into the buffers beyond the station killing 46 people and injuring 74.

We made away along a walkway along one side of the opposite tunnel where, at the end, the Greathead shield was left in place when the extension was abandoned in 1903. The shield is still in situ and is in surprisingly good condition.  Just before the shield, a pedestrian bridge crosses the track and enters the Moorgate sub-station which is still in use and was not part of our visit.

Photo:Looking north towards the Northern City Electrics Platform 10 from the bridge to Moorgate sub-station. The Greathead shield for the Lothbury extension is a few yards behind the photographer.
Photo by Nick Catford

Looking south along Platform 10

We made our way back along the walkway and just before the platform we turned left into a long abandoned pedestrian subway that once led to the Metropolitan Line platforms. The tiling is very dirty but it was still possible to make out a number of old posters. The subway is now used for ventilation with ventilation trunking suspended from the ceiling at one side.

Part way along the subway there is a vertical shaft. It has been suggested that this was another lift shaft, but it seems more likely it was

built for ventilation and there is no evidence of lifts ever having been installed. At the end of the subway there was a large fan filling the tunnel which, luckily, was not working on this occasion.

Photo:One of the two large fans for ventilating the Bedford line tunnel
Photo by Nick Catford

It was now gone 6pm and we assumed that this was the end of our visit to Moorgate, but we had more in store. Having got special permission, we climbed back up the emergency staircase and out on to the sub-surface platforms comprising the Metropolitan Line and the First Capital Connect service to Bedford (now closed). We walked along one of the Bedford line platforms and

The present entrance to Moorgate Station. The C & SLR building is still recognisable
along the track (there was no service on a Saturday!) before descending a ramp below track level. Having passed through a number of low doorways we entered a series of plant rooms on two levels; these contained pumps for de-watering the Moorgate Spring. Our guide jokingly said they were going to bottle it and sell it. After climbing a stairway back up to track level we entered a ventilation plant room with two huge fans for ventilating the Bedford line tunnels. A further stairway led to a tunnel with a small grille door at one end.
Passing through the door we found ourselves at ceiling level in one of the underground loading bays beneath the Barbican Centre. A cleaner working below seemed shocked when I emerged into the loading bay high above his head.

Other web sites: For further photographs of South Kensington station see Pendar Silwood's Abandoned Tube Stations web site. See also Moorgate (Widened Lines Platforms) Closed 3.2009

Tickets from Michael Stewart


[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated: 04 01 2011
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