Subterranean Streetcar: Abandoned Holborn Tramway Station

(Image: Reality Trip, reproduced with permission)

In a disused streetcar tunnel beneath Kingsway in central London lurks the abandoned Holborn tramway station.  Built in 1906 as part of the Kingsway tramway subway, Holborn was one of two stations along the subterranean route linking the streetcar networks of North and South London.  Today the southern end of the subway has been adapted as a road underpass routing traffic beneath the Strand, while the northern end remains intact, complete with ageing tram lines (below).

(Images: Reality Trip, reproduced with permission; David Merrigan, cc-nc-3.0; Nigel Cox, cc-sa-3.0)

Known as Great Queen Street when it opened, Holborn tramway station was first used by passengers on 24 February 1906.  Services ran from The Angel, Islington, to Aldwych, the next station in the Kingsway tramway subway (reportedly with a connecting passage to the now abandoned Aldwych tube station).  From 1908, services continued east to Tower Bridge and south to Kennington Gate.

(Images: Matt Brown, cc-3.0)

Holborn tramway station closed in 1952 when buses succeeded trams as London’s main form of street-bound public transport.  Much of the station still exists and  while there is no public access, the subterranean tunnel has become a favourite haunt of urban explorers.  It was, however, opened for a 2009 public art exhibit, Chord, by Conrad Shawcross.

(Images: Cnbrb, cc-sa-3.0; Matt Brown, cc-3.0)

Kingsway Tramway Subway and the abandoned Holborn station stood in for a fictional London Underground station called “Union Street” in the 2008 film The Escapist.  Decaying film props including a fake tube map and Union Street tube roundel can still be seen today, although the heavy iron gates remain firmly locked.

Next: The Disused Kingsway Tram Subway

Related Articles:
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A Streetcar Named “Abandoned”
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