Canals, spies & politics – the Crossrails that weren’t built

A very interesting article from the Ianvisits blog.  Crossrail under London is nothing new…..

018 will be the year that Crossrail is completed, and the Elizabeth line is born, yet it could have looked ever so different had previous plans been built.

It’s been a long time arriving, much longer than most realise…

When it launches on 9th December 2018, the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) will increase central London’s underground rail capacity by around 10 percent. To put that into context, it’s equivalent to lengthening every tube train passing through central London by an additional carriage.

But the process of getting to 2018 has not been an easy one. The path was long, strewn with politics, spies, and debates about whether railways were even needed at all.

But first we start with a predecessor of Crossrail.
Liverpool Street railway station

For a very short period of time it was possible to catch a Metropolitan line train from the mainline platforms at Liverpool Street station and travel to Paddington via the Underground.

Built in 1874/5, a tunnel creates a link from the underground railway to platforms 1 and 2 on the mainline — to create a temporary terminus for the Metropolitan line while their underground platforms were still being constructed. Intended to allow the Met line to run out to Walthamstow, it ceased use just six months later, and fully closed in 1904.

The tunnel’s name is interesting. It used to be simply the Great Eastern Railway (GER) Connection Tunnel, until a Queen used it, as it is said that the Queen Victoria Tunnel was used for special after-hours services carrying the Royal Train from near Buckingham Palace to interchange with services to Sandringham.

The tunnel still exists, and was used for a staff canteen and storage, and for a while by the City of London police. The remainder of the tunnel will eventually accommodate a passageway from the existing London Underground station to the Elizabeth line station.

But to build a proper mainline railway crossing central London, we first turn to the canals.

Read more here.

And here’s a report about the GER Connection Tunnel, prepared during the Crossrail work.


I’ll be looking out for articles on two of the other projects completed over Christmas – London Bridge and Redhill Platform 0.  It will be interesting to see how they perform on 2 January…..

About snitchthebudgie

Secretary of the East Surrey N Gauge railway club
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Out and about, Prototype and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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