Ghost Stations: 10 More Eerily Deserted Subways of the World

ghost-stations-tunnels-sydney-australia-3 (Image: Jonathan Berry)

Abandoned underground stations are truly eerie places, sitting unused and often unknown to commuters on the subway lines of the world’s major cities. Once, subterranean stations and the tunnels that housed them were symbols of the future, true innovations in the world of rapid transit. But many were unable to cope with the ever-evolving demands of modern transportation. Others, meanwhile, were the victims of poor design and never served a single passenger, having been abandoned before they were even completed. This article examines 10 ghost stations, from Antwerp and Madrid to San Francisco, Sydney and beyond.

Washington State Subway Station, Chicago

washington
(Image: Andrew Bissett, AndrewBissett.net)

Washington/State, an abandoned station on the CTA Red Line of the Chicago ‘L’, lies silent amid a defunct superstation development which has been indefinitely mothballed. Originally built in 1943, the subterranean facility was a sprawling series of staggered stops that made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest subway platform. More than 3,500 feet in length, it stretches for seven city blocks and has three mezzanines – one at Lake-Randolph, one at Randolph-Washington and another at Washington-Madison.

concourse
(Image: Andrew Bissett, AndrewBissett.net)

The station has closed for updates and remodeling several times throughout the course of its history. In 1971, a series of booths were added that made it easier for passengers to transfer between lines, while 1982 witnessed the introduction of new cars on the subterranean railway, along with the cosmetic overhaul of tiling, lighting, signage and benches.

no loitering
(Image: Andrew Bissett, AndrewBissett.net)

The final blow to Washington station came after an ambitious remodeling project went way over budget. In late 2006, the station closed for a major renovation designed to enable local businesses to take advantage of heavy foot traffic passing through the station daily. The project included a complete renovation and remodeling not just of the station, but of the block above it. Shops and offices, along with a hotel, restaurant and residential tower block would create the so-called Block 37, offering immediate access to Chicago’s rapid transit system through the station.

way out
(Image: Andrew Bissett, AndrewBissett.net)

Plans were also in place for an airport access point, but several years after the project began it had run $100 million over budget with no end in sight. Unforeseen problems – including the necessity of upgrading the station’s infrastructure – led to the superstation’s ultimate demise. The transit hub may yet be reopened by a private firm, but for the time-being, Washington/State is a $250 million ghost station. Signage was removed in 2009 and the station’s name erased from CTA maps.

Chamberi Station, Madrid

Chamberi-ghost-station-Madrid (Image: Daniel Dionne)

Officially opened by King Alfonso XIII in October of 1917, Chamberi was one of the first stations on the Metro de Madrid. The line, with its original eight stations, was such a success that the network was extended only two years later, and unlike other subway stations, Chamberi has served in a variety of different roles throughout its active life. During the Spanish Civil War, the station also served as an air raid shelter and storage facility.

Chamberi-ghost-station-Madrid-2 (Image: Leticia Ayuso)

The usefulness of Chamberi was limited, though, with the development of longer trains and a need for larger stations. Not only was it impossible to widen Chamberi or lengthen it – it was built on a curve – but it was too close to its neighbouring stations to be economically viable. It was closed in 1996, and for several years existed only as an abandoned, graffiti-covered ghost station until a new project gave it a rather interesting new life.

Chamberi-ghost-station-Madrid-3 (Image: Daniel Dionne)

In 2008, the abandoned station was reopened as a metro museum. Part of the Anden 0 (Platform 0) museum group, Chamberi Station is one of two locations in Madrid dedicated to preserving the history of the city’s industry and transportation. After a two-year renovation program, Chamberi was transformed from an abandoned underground railway station into a fully restored time capsule. Offering a mesmerizing glimpse into the history of subterranean Madrid, the former ghost station features original furniture and replicas of old advertisements that once lined the walls when Chamberi was active.

Nevins Street (Lower Level), New York City

nevins-street-ghost-station-nyc-2 (Image: Ilya Abramov)

The construction of Nevins Street Station was difficult from the outset, in large part due to a change in plans for the entire line partway through construction. Designed as part of the Brooklyn Line, the system was originally supposed to be a double-track line switching to three at Flatbrush Ave. That was in 1904, though, and by 1905 – after tunnels had already been dug – it was decided to increase the number of tracks.

nevins-street-ghost-station-nyc (Image: via Untapped Cities)

As a result, tunnels which had already been dug were no longer wide enough to accommodate the track layout. But rather than widening Nevins Street, another station was dug beneath the first. This lower level was to be equipped with one track, two platforms and two connections, but it was never used.

nevins-street-ghost-station-nyc-3 (Image: Ilya Abramov)

The only part of the lower level ghost station that was ever used was the underpass; because the station itself was too close to ground level for a mezzanine to be built above it, the lower level was used for passengers walking from one platform to the other.

nevins-street-ghost-station-nyc-4 (Image: Jon Keegan)

The upper level of Nevins Street station was opened in 1908, extended first in 1922 and again in 1964 to its current condition. At one point, it was possible to see the lower level from the active station above. The ghost platforms and the tracks are still extant but no longer visible.

Valkyrie Plass, Oslo

valkyrie-plass-ghost-station-oslo-3 (Image: The Winchester – website: thewinch,net)

It’s said that Valkyrie Plass station was accidentally built and opened in 1928 – perhaps the oddest sentence ever written in conjunction with a major construction project. Originally, there had been no plans to build the station, but when a large part of the road above collapsed into the tunnel, it seemed like a good place to put one. In the end, however, it was located too close to the neighbouring Majorstuen to be financially viable, and it was closed in 1985.

Valkyrie-plass-oslo (Image: Anders Beer Wilse)

Like many old stations that ultimately fall into abandonment, proximity problems were exacerbated by the advent of longer trains. Its platforms were too short to accommodate newer trains carrying more passengers, and there was no room to expand.

Valkyrie-plass-ghost-station-oslo (Image: LutexUK)

Above ground, the ghost station’s entrance building has been repurposed as a fast food joint, but the tunnels below remain in occasional use. Maintenance and emergency personnel still use the tunnels, platforms and exits, although the hustle and bustle of mass transit has long since dissolved into the murky air of Valkyrie Plass. Now, there’s only the eerie sound of distant trains and the surreal, ghostly glow of the emergency lights. (Related – explore more Oslo ghost stations.)

Merkland Street Station, Glasgow

scotland-glasgow-subway (Image: Dazza; site of the abandoned Merkland Street Station)

Merkland Street Station was opened on December 4, 1896 on the Glasgow District Subway (later renamed Glasgow Underground and finally Glasgow Subway). Located just north of the Clyde river, the station played a key part in the transportation of dock workers and other shipping personnel back and forth across the river, which led to its first renovation. Wood platforms were replaced with concrete and electric haulage was installed. But it wasn’t long before the station’s proximity to the shipyards would make it a dangerous place.

scotland-glasgow-subway-2 (Image: Dazza)

Allied shipping was a prime target during World War Two, and the shipyards of the Clyde were no exception. A bomb dropped from a German aircraft in 1940 closed the station for several months while repairs were being carried out. Miraculously, no one was killed in the raid. By 1977, the entire subway system was in need of a major overhaul. Each station on the network was evaluated, and it was decided that five were to be excavated and completely rebuilt while the others were simply modernized. Except for Merkland Street…

scotland-glasgow-subway-3

(Image: map via Disused Stations)

Merkland Street was officially closed when it was determined that the station’s design made it extremely difficult to update with all the modern equipment – like escalators – that was needed. Trains still pass through Merkland, though, and the observant passenger may discern the remains of the old ghost station just before reaching its replacement – Partick station – which was constructed just 25 metres away. Some of the Merkland Street’s memorabilia – like the clock and destination gantry – have been preserved by the Glasgow Transport Museum.

Eureka Valley Station, San Francisco

eureka-valley-station-san-francisco-abandoned (Image: Eric Fischer; pictured in 1917, the year before Eureka Valley Station opened)

Eureka Valley station is an abandoned underground streetcar station, which opened in 1918 and was closed down in 1972, after decades of service to residents in the San Francisco area. Located inside the Twin Peaks Tunnel, the streetcar station was originally only two staircases and two underground platforms, designed to provide a point of transfer between Twin Peaks and the Sunset Tunnel.

eureka-valley-station-san-francisco-abandoned-2 (Image: Goodshoped35110s)

When the Sunset Tunnel was ultimately built, though, it was unconnected to Eureka Valley station. By 1972, plans were in place to build a new station, Castro Street, which was designed to serve the same area as Eureka Valley. At the time, building a new facility would prove far cheaper than performing all the upgrades to the old station.

eureka-valley-station-san-francisco-abandoned-3 (Image: Eric Fischer)

In spite of the fact that it took eight years for Castro Street to open and become fully functional, Eureka Valley remained closed. The tunnels leading to it aren’t blocked off, and passengers can still see the remains of the old ghost station when passing through on the Muni Metro. Occasionally it’s still used as an emergency exit, with doors leading out onto Market Street.

The Antwerp Premetro, Belgium

antwerp-premetro-unused-abandoned (Image: Martino Zegwaard)

In the mid 1970s, Belgium had the time and the money to look ahead to the future. Infrastructure is crucial to any city’s survival no matter what the decade, and the authorities decided to lay the groundwork for a subway system that would be fully realised at some point in the future. Hence, the premetro, a network of tunnels, railways and tramways built with the idea that in the future they’d be fairly easy to upgrade to full metro status. The project met with some success as tunnels were opened for the mass transit passengers. Others, however, still sit empty and unused, unfulfilled ghost stations connected by ghost tunnels.

antwerp-premetro-unused-abandoned-2 (Image: Martino Zegwaard)

The first sections of the Antwerp Premetro opened in March of 1975, with more following in 1980. The early to mid-’80s saw another period of expansion, but funding soon dried up. Seven stations had been built by the time the money was gone; track was never installed and the plan to connect the city to its easternmost suburbs via a subterranean railway was never realised, and the stations never even made it onto the metro maps.

antwerp-premetro-unused-abandoned-3 (Image: Martino Zegwaard)

In 2004, a plan was put in place to revitalize the system and put long stretches of the abandoned tunnels to use. And in 2015, another station is slated to open that will do the same – for some parts of the tunnels. Since they fell abandoned, circumstances have changed for the seven unused stations. It’s cheaper to build an above-ground extension to the system that bypasses the underground stations, meaning that it’s unlikely they’ll ever be used.

Abandoned Tram Tunnels & Platforms, Sydney

ghost-stations-tunnels-sydney-australia-6 (Image: Jonathan Berry)

Sydney’s City Circle railway was built in a series of stages in a massive construction project that spanned three decades. In an attempt to plan for the future, concessions were made as the railway was built, in a bid to help future generations of engineers add to or expand stations when necessary.

ghost-stations-tunnels-sydney-australia-2 (Image: via Sydney for Everyone; St James Station)

The tunnels and stations of the City Circle Line have a history that goes far beyond simply shuttling commuters that back and forth to their destinations. During World War Two, the tunnel that led from St. James to Circular Quay was converted into a series of bomb shelters; only a portion of the bomb shelters were removed, and some still remain. At one point during the war, steps led to an above-ground pillbox that were installed, but those have long since been removed.

ghost-stations-tunnels-sydney-australia (Image: via Sydney for Everyone; Wynyard Tram Tunnel)

According to rumour, General MacArthur once had a wartime headquarters somewhere in the area, but there’s no concrete evidence of where it might have been – although there’s some speculation about the use of an abandoned side tunnel, or a stretch of boarded-up tunnel, that was used for such a purpose. While there hasn’t been any sign of the general, graffiti left by the soldiers who were involved in building the bomb shelters can still be seen.

ghost-stations-tunnels-sydney-australia-4 (Image: Jonathan Berry)

Some of the abandoned railway stations were originally intended for use by the Eastern Suburbs Railway, but these plans were never realised. Two platforms at Central Station – 25 and 26 – were also never used. They sit above the disused Eastern Suburbs Railway tunnels, and in spite of proposals that were unveiled in 1947, these parts of the station remain dormant – although the plans did put others to use.

ghost-stations-tunnels-sydney-australia-5 (Image: Jonathan Berry; Platforms 25 and 26, Central Station)

There are several platforms and tunnels at North Sydney and Wynyard that were never used for their intended purposes, and have been adapted for other needs with a little creativity. One abandoned tram tunnel was repurposed as a hotel car park, while another was used as a police shooting range.

Hollywood Subway (Hill Street Station), Los Angeles

hollywood-subway-abandoned-los-angeles (Image: Alissa Walker)

The original Hollywood Subway line of Los Angeles, California opened in 1925 and officially closed only three decades later. Stretching between the Westlake District and downtown LA, the ghost tunnels of the original subway, and its abandoned Hill Street station, had something of a prolonged afterlife following the line’s decommissioning by the Pacific Electric Railway.

hollywood-subway-abandoned-los-angeles-hill-street-station (Image: Alissa Walker)

Not only were the tunnels home to countless people who had nowhere else to go, they also served as a film set for movies like MacArthur and While the City Sleeps. It was briefly used as a storage facility for vehicles impounded by local law enforcement officials, and was used for other storage purposes throughout the Cold War. The entrances to the tunnels were only sealed in 2006, and by that time, the decades had taken their toll on the ghost station.

hollywood-subway-abandoned-los-angeles-9 (Image: Alissa Walker)

The underground subway system was originally suggested at the turn of the 20th century as a way to relieve ever-increasing traffic problems above. But it had competition – the Red Cars. Pacific Electric had also been building more than 1,000 miles of above-ground track for streetcars and trains, carrying passengers all over the area from the downtown to the beach. Commuters had already found the above-ground cars were doing the job just fine, cutting down on travel times no matter what time of the day it was.

hollywood-subway-abandoned-los-angeles-6 (Image: Alissa Walker)

And once the automobile began to gain a foothold in commuter’s hearts, there was even less of a need for the Hollywood Subway. Today, Hill Street station is still there, and it’s an eerie step back in time – starting with the signs, written in a font that, oddly, perhaps just suggests an aura of the 1950s. Rails were removed long ago, but the signs still point the way; the years have not been kind to the tunnels, though. Curious urban explorers could once tour the abandoned railway, but today, the handful of tunnel entrances have been sealed off.

Haxo Station, Paris

haxo-ghost-station-paris (Image: dsankt – website: SleepyCity.net)

One of several enigmatic Parisian ghost stations, Haxo is another abandoned underground station that was never anything but. Built in the 1920s, Haxo was a single-direction station with one platform, located on a track running between Porte des Lilas and Le Pré-Saint-Gervais. With its limited capabilities, opening the facility as a regular, working station was soon deemed to be impractical and unprofitable. That’s not to say that it can’t open in the future, and a handful of plans have been put forth to transform Haxo into a working station. But only time will tell.

haxo-ghost-station-paris-2 (Image: Gonioul)

It certainly wouldn’t be without considerable renovations, as the ghost station has been a favorite target of graffiti artists. It was also never entirely finished, either. Access points and emergency exits for potential passengers to get to street level were never built, and would need to integrated into the original infrastructure. Nowadays, Haxo is occasionally used to store trains and has also been used to demonstrate new models.

haxo-ghost-station-paris-3 (Image: Gonioul)

Like other Paris ghost stations, Haxo helped to shelter the city’s homeless and served as an air raid shelter during World War Two. While other stations that were closed before or after the war still have their distinctive, Art Nouveau character, along with their signage and a sense that at one time, they were an integral part of the Paris landscape, the eerily silent Haxo – as one of two unopened stations – had only an air of eerie silence.

Related – 13 Abandoned Stations & Disused Platforms of the London Underground

 
 


 
 
 

Popular Posts

 
 

Latest Articles

 
 


 
 

Explore Urban Ghosts

 
 

Abandoned & Urbex

 
 
 

Send this to friend

Urban Ghosts uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and to serve you with advertisements that might interest you. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close