Sedentary Psychogeography

Walking between Holborn Underground Station and Russell Square, I have often wondered about this tunnel:


Recently my curiosity built up to such a level that I conducted an internet search of the phrase: tunnel tramtracks near holborn. Insultingly, my search engine corrected my spelling of tramtracks to tram tracks and directed me to an article about the (frankly crassly named) “Kingsway tramway subway” on the Simple English Wikipedia. My pride was wounded by this species of pedantic, arbitrary and apparently tasteless rules about compound nouns, which I had never before encountered.

However, I was confirmed in my suspicion that this tunnel near Holborn with tramtracks was exactly that.  This is where a part of central London’s tram network, disbanded in the early 1950s, would dive underground, emerging again at Waterloo Bridge. There is something particularly exciting, to my mind, about the idea of a tram emerging from the bowels of the city to seamlessly join the realm of the living. This is probably for the same reason that I find myself walking from Holborn to Russell Square in the first place:  because I can’t stand using the lifts on the Piccadilly Line. However, a secondary factor is a fond memory from my youth of the (admittedly) pie-in-the-sky public transport proposal for the city of Newcastle, to install a ‘diving tram’ network as an extension the current Metro system in the run up to the area’s bid for European City of Culture. However, for some reason Liverpool won the bid and the fantastically named Project Orpheus (as the plan was genuinely called) turned out to be doomed to failure!

For those of you who don’t quite get the sense of adventure, mystery and majesty that I have come to associate with this half-cetury dead transport conduit: just watch this!

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