Strand Underpass: From Disused Tram Subway to Modern Vehicle Tunnel

Inside the Strand Underpass in central London(Image: Sixthland. Inside the Strand Underpass today)

Take a trip through the Strand Underpass in central London and you’ll find a vehicle tunnel like any other. But this tunnel, which connects Waterloo Bridge to Kingsway, near Holborn, is notable for being housed within part of the abandoned Kingsway Tramway Subway, which has featured before on this blog and has been largely deserted since the late 1950s.

The road dives into London's Strand Underpass, once an Edwardian tram tunnel.(Image: Nevilley)

The original Kingsway tram subway allowed for streetcars to pass in both directions due to their relatively narrow width. But at just 17 feet wide (and under 13 feet high), the Stand Underpass usually serves only northbound vehicle traffic.

Fortunately an ‘electronic eye’ is in place to warn drivers of taller vehicles, who are then directed to an “escape route” to the left of the entrance before the road plunges into the Edwardian tunnel.

(Image: Nigel Cox)

The Strand Underpass was built by London-based John Mowlem & Co and opened on January 21, 1964, some seven years after the original Kingsway Tramway Subway had closed. The road sits inside a concrete shell at the original track level, and passes through the original Aldwych tram station site on the north side.

Abandoned tram tracks on approach to the disused Kingsway Tramway Subway(Image: Tony Hisgett. Diving into the disused Kingsway Tramway Subway)

Though nothing now exists of the Aldwych tram station (not to be confused with the more famous London Tube ghost station of the same name), the eerie platforms of Holborn tram station endure within an untouched stretch of the original Kingsway subway, before its forgotten tracks emerge into the daylight of Southampton Row.

Read Next: 8 Abandoned Tram Tunnels and Trolley Graveyards

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