London Underground decided to open up Aldwych Station for tourists recently, luckily we got hold of some of the tickets and headed down with some friends and paid it a visit. Very rarely, unless you want to run the rails, does London get to see behind the scenes of the Underground Network. It would have been amazing to see this place without the guides, the crowds and the ban on dSLR’s, but running down the tunnels isn’t something we fancy. Although, the guys over on SilentUK and other sites deserve some respect for their exploits on the Underground.
It was an interesting trip, although London Underground had decided to ban dSLR cameras, as they have a sensor that is too higher quality for their liking. So we skirted round that rule by loading up an old 35mm camera with some ISO1600 film. Bizarre decision from TfL that didn’t entirely make sense.
Like most tours, we were split into two groups and herded like sheep. Quickly being guided through each section with the promise of time to take photographs afterwards. Invariably, there wasn’t. So we did our best, stopped paying full attention to the guides and wandered off to take photographs.
Never mind, eh? We still had a good time and saw a little part of London that many people don’t get to see. The station, even though closed, still leads a relatively busy life. The western platforms are used for Emergency Services training as it offers a section of the network where in tunnel scenarios can be simulated. It is also used as a filming location.
The western platform is used to trial architectural and engineering prototypes – the posters on the wall date from the seventies, when the trialed a new glue!
So after a whirlwind tour, we headed off for a brew and then the train home.
For a full history and set of photos, we have another write up here.