Kingsway Tram Subway

The Northern entrance to the Kingsway subway, near the end of its life Services 31, 33 and 35 used the subway .It looks like car 1932 has had a bit of a knock.

Service 31 Battersea - Hackney
Service 33 West Norwood - Manor House Station
Service 35 Forest Hill - Highgate Station.
The 31 was diverted to Islington on 10 December 1939 with trolleybus 555 covering from Red Lion Square to Hackney. It was withdrawn at stage one on 30 September 1950.

The southern portal of Kingsway subway on 24 April 1908 shortly after opening through services to the embankment. It can be seen emerging onto the Embankment next to Waterloo Bridge. The new bridge was built next to the old one and the subway emerged underneath it. At first it was for single deck cars only, but was enlarged for double deck car use.

One of the LCC single deck cars either F or G class built for the subway. 

The Kingsway subway was opened as far as Aldwych by the LCC on 24 February 1906, using specially built single deck trams. They won the right to run trams over Westminster Bridge and along the embankment later in the year, which they did from December 1906. The link between Aldwych and the embankment didn't open until 10 April 1908.

There were two stations in the tunnel at Holborn and Aldwych. As the platforms were in the middle of  the two lines passengers had to board at the drivers platform on the offside. The tunnel was later enlarged to take double deck trams, by lowering the floor. It was closed on 3 February 1930 and re-opened on 14 January 1931. When the new Waterloo Bridge was built in 1939 the subway entrance was included below the bridge.

.The trams used were of all metal body construction to lessen the likelihood of fire in the tunnel. Routes 33 and 35 were withdrawn at stage seven of the tramway replacement programme on Saturday 5 April 1952. Now all the remaining trams were south of the river, except for the Embankment. The subway was deemed unsuitably for use by buses and was closed. The Northern Portal remains to this day complete with rails behind locked gates. Part of the subway from the top of Waterloo Bridge to half way up Kingsway was later turned into an underpass. Aldwych station disappeared in this operation, but Holborn station still exists.

The slope at Southampton Row and the Embankment entrance still exist. Around 1970 single deck Red Arrow buses used the new subway on service 501.

The North portal to the Kingsway tunnel in September 2003. The ramp, tracks, and conduit slot are still visible beyond  locked gates . At the tunnel entrance there are also locked gates, with lights beyond in the tunnel. 

Part of the tunnel is used by the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority.

Photograph. John King.

The remains of the Southern portal of the tunnel, from Victoria Embankment under Waterloo Bridge also seen in February 2001. All there is to see is a locked metal door and a narrow drive up to it. The notice on the door just says 'Do not obstruct'. But what lies beyond?

Photograph. John King.

This page was designed and is maintained by Toby and John King, I would accept any comments or questions  See Index Page

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