I’m standing here in the Kingsway Tram Tunnel.
This Grade II listed cut-and-cover tunnel is the only one of it’s kind in Britain and
is a unique part of London’s transport history. Built to connect one of London’s earliest
transport networks, the tram tunnel operated from 1906 to 1952 taking passengers from Holborn
to Waterloo Bridge, providing a link between the north and south London Tram networks.
Following the ending of the tram services in London in 1952 this unique tunnel lay largely
unused for some 60 years. Crossrail took over the Kingsway Tram Tunnel
temporarily in 2012 to allow us to access the Elizabeth line tunnels which are being
built six storeys directly below us. We excavated a shaft within the tram tunnel
to allow engineers to pump a cement like substance called grout into the ground to provide stability
whilst a 30 metre deep temporary access shaft was built nearby.
And while two of our 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machines – Phyllis and Ada – passed below.
Now that we’ve finished our work we are restoring the tunnel to its former glory, even putting
back some of the iron rails that were removed. When we’ve finished our work we will hand
it back to the London Borough of Camden. Meanwhile, six storeys below our feet teams
of engineers are working 24/7 to complete the fit-out of the Elizabeth line tunnels,
ready for opening at the end of the year.