Tunnel entrance from Wapping
This past bank holiday weekend, I and thousands of other Londoners got a rare opportunity to visit the 8th Wonder of the World: the Brunels' Thames Tunnel.
Started by Marc Isambard Brunel and completed by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the tunnel finally opened in 1843 after nearly 20 years of work. On top of being the first tunnel under a navigable river, it was also the first underwater shopping arcade and underwater dining hall. And it remains the oldest part of TFL's infrastructure.
50,000 people are supposed to have walked through the tunnel on opening day in 1843. However, these days it's a bit more difficult to get access, as it now forms an integral part of the Overground network. Fortunately, a confluence of engineering works allowed myself and others a rare walk through.
This was an extra treat as I've previously walked the East London Line above ground and it's the first time while walking the Underground/Overground that I've actually been able walk directly between two stations along the track. You have no idea how times people have asked me if that was how I was doing my walks.
Here are just a few of my photos:
Rotherhithe Station from track level
One of the original arches
Possible ghost sighting
Old arch next to the preserved one
Gives you an idea on the height of the Tunnel
Clear view down the tunnel
This used to be part of London Underground's East London Line
Looking down the tunnel from Wapping
Wapping Station from track level
The irony is this sign can only be read when on the tracks
Just to be sure, the red signal was still turned on
Very glad the power was switched off
Roughly the middle of the tunnel
Rotherhithe, that way
There are a lot of arches
Original section next to a preserved one
If this pumping equipment wasn't there, the station would quickly fill with water
A different view of a landing at Rotherhithe Station
Just some of the water that has to be constantly pumped from the tunnel
Seems a little unnecessary to state this
Thames Tunnel Plaque
Original shaft down to the tunnel
You can clearly see where the spiral staircases used to be
Just be advised that the entrance to the original lift shaft is not for the claustrophobic
Learn more about the Thames Tunnel:
More pictures of this past weekend's visit from other blogs:
BBC - Thames Tunnel: Rare access to 'eighth wonder of world'
Do Not Alight Here: Thames Tunnel Visit
Walking through a Tunnel under the Thames — Part 2
London Reconnections: In Pictures: The Thames Tunnel