GES220 - Charing Cross, Disused Jubilee Platforms (Trip 1)
The Jubilee line used to run from Stanmore to Charing Cross, and was opened in May 1979. However Charing Cross was always supposed to be a temporary terminus, with the final destination of Cannon St Station. At the time it was called the Fleet Line, as it would pass under the Fleet River (now a sewer). There wasn't any money during the tough times of the late 1970's, only after the prosperous years under Thatcherism did money become available for the extension, and it was decided to take a different route, rather than to Ludgate Circus. The present Jubilee Line extension runs to Stratford. This meant that the line would run from Green Park to Westminster, bypassing Charing Cross. When the Jubilee Line Extension opened in November 1999, Charing Cross Jubilee Line Platforms became redundant. Many plans have been floated around, including a Jubilee Line Spur to Cannon St Station, as well as an extension of the Docklands Light Railway from Bank via also redundant Aldwych and into Charing Cross.
Of all the bits and pieces on the underground, here was always considered one of the toughest, along with Museum station. One access point tried by a number of people, would see a squad of cops arrive within seconds of breathing near it. Other options would have involved running down the tracks after service. And because this bit of the station is on a non-regular service branch line, it would be a 1000m run into what could be anything, a heritage train, service train, reversed train. All of which would leave the adventurous explorer smeared down the tunnel walls. Not a pretty site or way to go. GE077 loves his research, and had banded about a few possibilities. We'd looked at some of them, and they didn't seem possible. Eventually we happened to find a lid in a street not far away, that lead into a maze of cramped tunnels, carrying thick high voltage cables. A small gap existed that could get us into the vent shaft. It was so tight, that after GE077 managed to get through, I had to practically get naked to squeeze my longer body through. It's a scary moment when you are half way through and can't move back or forwards. I calmed down, and managed to twist up and down etc to get through.
Eventually we were in the huge shaft that lead into the heavens
One ladder down from the vent, there was a another steel ringed tunnel leading off to the Northern Line platforms ventilation grills. This was taken looking in from the shaft above.
A passenger walkway seen through a grill in the tunnel to the Northern Line Vents.
Walking a bit further, the tunnel went up a slope. The light opposite the white brick stump, is where the shot above was taken. It's also the point where the tunnel changes from the bit with large pipes leading out of the main vent shaft, changes to the open one in the pic below.
Turning around from the pic above, there were a couple of floor grates and some electrical cabinets. This is looking down on to the Northern Line Platforms.
We walked back to the main vent shaft, and headed further down the shaft. The landing we walked from can just be seen at the top of the picture.
Turning around from the pic above, one sees the short ventilation tunnel, similar to many other stations. The lit up portals lead to grill openings above the disused Jubilee platforms.
Looking through one of the portals into a ventilation grill and the prize beyond. We had one stumbling block left, how to get down to the platforms. The only way would be to squeeze through the tiny opening on the side. That would leave the problem of getting down to the platform. Also the fact that the grill dropped onto the tracks, not the platform. We had with us a rope ladder to complete the job. We had to attach it to the grill and check it didn't touch the live rail. We also shook hands, if we were caught, the repercussions would be that we wouldn't be allowed to talk to each other. We'd had a pretty good ride, so it wasn't a sad moment. Going down the ladder first, I tried to go as quickly but stable as possible. Without risking hitting the rope tails of the ladder on the live rail. When down, I held the ladder over the platform for GE077. The remaining small problem was that the station is rigged with cctv cameras, including dome cameras, which would have been installed after the station closed. We gave each other 5-10mins to grab our shots and get the hell out.
I quickly ran up the steps to Trafalgar Square and Bakerloo line access, which would have been at the end of the this tunnel, instead one can see the white wall at the end. The Embankment sticker on the wall is a recent addition since closing.
The steps and non working escalators from the shot above.
Looking at the bottom of the steps/escalators above.
From the circulation area to the platforms. The Circulation area wasn't that long, certainly shorter than the platforms. Note the dome camera above the poster beneath the last strip light on the left.
A platform with the original station guide on the far wall, the Jubilee line extension runs from Green Park to Westminster now. Running up the tunnel at the top of the platforms would lead to Green Park.
An explanation for the short circulation area, an alcove area leads to a door into a sub station.
Looking the other way up Platform 3, the tunnel at the top with the lights on is the overrun tunnel.
A shot inside the overrun tunnel, it bends round to the right after 20 odd metres. Sadly I figured it to risky to go have a look around the corner. It's said the tunnel runs to within a short distance of Aldwych (originally Strand station), however never linked up. Two full tube trains can be stabled here. (Trip 2 will cover this area more).
Looking back into the station from the overrun tunnel.
The top of the opposite escalators, that lead to the Northern Line.
Looking down the escalators (of which there are 3 on this side, rather than 2 and a central set of steps on the Bakerloo side) from the above shot.
An area of offices in the middle of the circulation area. The 3 escalators in the background are above.
Having watched the latest James Bond flick a few months before coming here, I couldn't help but add a little nod to one of the scenes from Skyfall, which was filmed here.
And after this shot, I raced back to the platform. As I looked left and right, I couldn't see the rope ladder that GE077 had already left a few minutes earlier by. I thought briefly he'd done the dirty on me and left me stranded to await my fate. However after a few puzzling moments, realised I was on the wrong platform! It's confusing down here when everything is so symmetrical. I went to the correct platform, climbed back up and eventually got back to the street. Meeting up with GE077 some streets away. We were both wild that we'd pulled it off, and quickly left the area.
Continued in Trip 2...