Award-winning design to transform disused Tube tunnels into underground cycle routes

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Simon11

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http://www.standard.co.uk/news/lond...s-into-underground-cycle-routes-10026687.html

The answer to making London safer and less congested for cyclists could lie underground, according to a leading design firm.

Gensler has come up with an award-winning plan to convert disused London Underground routes into subterranean cycleways and pedestrian routes.

The scheme, dubbed the London Underline project, has now been recognised at the London Planning Awards where it was named Best Conceptual Project last month.

Its designers say it would transform tunnels beneath the capital into vibrant subterranean streets, with shopping facilities, cafes and pedestrian paths running parallel with cycle routes.

The tunnels would be accessed via Tube stations and would be surfaced by kinetic paving at stations, which would use use footfall to generate energy, according to Gensler.


The designers say this would remove the need for the tunnels to be linked directly to ground level.

Ian Mulcahey, co-director of designers Gensler London, said: "Now that London has reached the highest level of population in its history we need to think creatively about how to maximize the potential of our infrastructure.

"The adaptation of surplus and underutilized tube and rail tunnels could provide a quick and simple addition to our infrastructure network."

Key routes covered by the tunnels would include the disused Piccadilly Line branch from Holborn to the abandoned Aldwych station.


Tunnel routes: How central London could be linked up under the plan (Picture: Gensler)
It would also link Green Park and Charing Cross along what was previously a Jubilee Line tunnel.

If the scheme were successful it could also make use of empty stretches of tunnel at Stockwell in south London and Goodge Street in central London.

The designers added: "With current pressures on London to cope with future transport capacity for pedestrians, cyclists and tube users, London is in desperate need for new types of public and community space, as well as affordable retail, commerce and entertainment spaces. Subterranean spaces present an excellent option for new uses."

Are they being serious! How can this be award-winning? There are so many flaws...
 
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Kristofferson

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Would be easier if the cyclists just got the Tube right?

Although if they did, they'd just get in everyone's way, walk into everyone then blame them, and walk round holding flashing torches in the name of "safety" :roll:
 

jopsuk

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The Jubilee lines from Green Park to Charing Cross are often in use a turn-back when there's disruption east of Green Park. Even if they were disconnected, the available tunnels wouldn't, of course, actually reach Green park. You'd need brand new shafts down to reach the tunnels.

Aldwych to Holborn is maybe a little more promising, but that's only about 500m, and you're still going to want a separate access route to the one used by the tube at Holborn, so that's another massive shaft.

At Goodge Street and Stockwell you've got the deep level air raid shelters, which are 370m long. The entrances are not at the ends of them (on the standard designs, they're at approx. 1/4 and 3/4 plus an additional access from the station platforms), so you've not got 370m of usable tunnel- the distance between accesses is closer to 200m.
 

Searle

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If they can make it work then it sounds like an amazing idea. The state of safety for cyclists in London is abysmal, and I'm for anything that can improve it.

That being said, with the ridiculous attitude towards cyclists, as seen above (and someone comparing cyclists to ISIS in the news earlier this week), we have a long way to go.
 

Kristofferson

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Everyone has their own attitude/opinion based on their own experiences - ridiculous as it may seem to you personally, it's equally valid.

Mine are based on my observations walking round London and seeing a disregard held by some (not all) cyclists towards red lights, one way streets, other traffic, pedestrian safety and their own safety.

No hard feelings and I'll close the can of worms now, for fear of derailing the topic :)
 

simple simon

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Have I fallen asleep and woken up on 1st April?

Surely an award winning plan would be to use trains in these tunnels?

For the CX tunnels the already proposed DLR extension from Bank would represent an optimal solution. For Aldwych, since the DLR extension would see that station being rebuilt so it should be possible to re-instate the single train service.

For filming (feature films which use the Underground) the second - hardly ever used - platforms at either Holborn or Alywych could be used.

Simon
 

edwin_m

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For the likes of Holborn-Aldwych and Green Park-Charing Cross, the time taken getting the bike down to the tunnels and back again would outweigh any time saved by getting a clear route down the tunnel between them. And for people wanting a traffic-free route most of Green Park to Charing Cross can be done through the parks anyway. The tram subway might be a better target for Holborn-Aldwych - have to avoid those rails of course... and there would be some big puddles between King William Street and Borough.

I'd go so far as to say the only place where this might conceivably work is the former Thamelink from Farringdon to Moorgate, which is a bit longer and being sub-surface it would be easier to arrange ramps. However I think the intention is to convert this into stabling sidings for sub-surface stock, and there has been talk of a DLR extension in the longer term.
 

Abpj17

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It does all look a bit pointless. Cycling along embankment isn't too awful for cyclists is it because of the space vs. the more crowded inner streets.

Like the idea of Farringdon Moorgate - that is where the streets are more dangerous. I'm not entirely sure how viable given the closeness to the circle/met etc. line.
 

Dent

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This is a poorly researched non starter.

Putting aside the fact that there are no suitable tunnels, the proposal is that you would access the tunnel through the normal station entrance then hire a bike when you get down to the tunnel.

So basically, you have to pay the tube fare anyway to get through the barriers, then you either walk to your destination or pay for bike hire on top of the fare and then cycle. While walking or cycling you have to work extra hard to power the electricity generation system.

Why would enough people do this to make it financially viable, when they can:
- Walk or use their own bike at street level and pay nothing and not work extra hard
- Pay only the tube fare and have a train do all the work for them
- Pay only for the bike hire at street level and not have to work extra hard
- Get a bus
 
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jopsuk

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It does all look a bit pointless. Cycling along embankment isn't too awful for cyclists is it because of the space vs. the more crowded inner streets.

Cycling along embankment is about to get much, much better anyway
 

Busaholic

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Fifty years ago these cycleways were all going to be in the air, when the then-being-constructed Barbican was the template for the future. Strikes me that's an eminently more sensible idea than tunnels, especially as old tunnels attract water. In any case, as mentioned above, there are either plans to bring these tunnels back into use, they are still in use (Green Park to Charing Cross) or there is no useful purpose for them, like Goodge Street. In particular, the ex-Jubilee must be maintained as its lack of regular usage for its original purpose is criminal. Holborn to Aldwych too, although it's never going to be a part of the Piccadilly Line again, does offer a basis for another North to South route when it's realised (as perhaps it already is) that Thameslink won't ever be able to cater for the number of passengers wanting to use it, and widening it is presumably totally out of the question.
 

edwin_m

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Fifty years ago these cycleways were all going to be in the air, when the then-being-constructed Barbican was the template for the future. Strikes me that's an eminently more sensible idea than tunnels, especially as old tunnels attract water. In any case, as mentioned above, there are either plans to bring these tunnels back into use, they are still in use (Green Park to Charing Cross) or there is no useful purpose for them, like Goodge Street. In particular, the ex-Jubilee must be maintained as its lack of regular usage for its original purpose is criminal. Holborn to Aldwych too, although it's never going to be a part of the Piccadilly Line again, does offer a basis for another North to South route when it's realised (as perhaps it already is) that Thameslink won't ever be able to cater for the number of passengers wanting to use it, and widening it is presumably totally out of the question.

The elevated cycleways idea surfaced (no pun intended) again a year or two back, with the idea of putting them above railways. Apart from the minor question of overbridges this didn't seem totally barking, though it wouldn't help with the city centre of course.

Crossrail 2 is the proposal on the table to provide relief to the Piccadilly and Victoria lines, as well as journeys such as Kings Cross Euston to Victoria and the Waterloo suburban network, so I don't think Holborn-Aldwych will ever have a genuine transport purpose again. But wouldn't Aldwych make a nice annexe to the London Transport Museum if they could ever find the money to do it?
 

Dent

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Holborn to Aldwych too, although it's never going to be a part of the Piccadilly Line again, does offer a basis for another North to South route when it's realised (as perhaps it already is) that Thameslink won't ever be able to cater for the number of passengers wanting to use it, and widening it is presumably totally out of the question.

The only new North to South tunnel currently being proposed is Crossrail 2, which is proposed to be a larger diameter tunnel and not proposed to go anywhere near Aldwych.

After building Crossrail 1 and 2 to take full sized trains I doubt they will go back to building any new tube sized lines, and we're talking a long way into the future before anything beyond Crossrail 2 ever gets planned.

Also any route that goes through Aldwych and doesn't then join the Piccadilly line would have to diverge from the current tunnel before Holborn, so wouldn't end up using much existing tunnel anyway.
 

Busaholic

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The only new North to South tunnel currently being proposed is Crossrail 2, which is proposed to be a larger diameter tunnel and not proposed to go anywhere near Aldwych.

After building Crossrail 1 and 2 to take full sized trains I doubt they will go back to building any new tube sized lines, and we're talking a long way into the future before anything beyond Crossrail 2 ever gets planned.

Also any route that goes through Aldwych and doesn't then join the Piccadilly line would have to diverge from the current tunnel before Holborn, so wouldn't end up using much existing tunnel anyway.

I've no real cause for thinking Aldwych to Holborn can or will ever be used again, though the proposal for a tram route from Kings Cross/Euston via Russell Square and Kingsway to Waterloo and beyond hatched in Ken Livingstone's days as Mayor show there was consideration being given to extra capacity on this corridor. Actually, Edwin M's idea for an Underground underground museum at Aldwych is an excellent one.
 

Dent

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Update on the BBC today:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-31298695

Campaign groups criticise Tube tunnel cycle route plan

Cycling campaign groups have criticised a concept design proposing cyclists use disused Tube tunnels to get around London safely.

Design company Gensler won an award for its concept using "an untapped surplus of disused space".

A cycling campaign group has called the Underline scheme "ludicrous".

Transport for London said there were no usable tunnels of significant length. On Sunday, a third cyclist was killed in less than six weeks.
Concept design Transport for London said there were no unused tunnels of "significant length"

The scheme follows previous designs proposed to create elevated and floating cycling routes as cycling in London has grown in popularity.
Map The blue dotted line marks the Underline concept route

Ian Mulcahey, of Gensler London, said: "The adaptation of surplus and underutilized Tube and rail tunnels could provide a quick and simple addition to our infrastructure network."

The idea received some support on Twitter, with one user for example, calling it "amazing".

But Jim Davis, who works for an architecture firm and founded the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain said: "Sticking cyclists in a tunnel is ludicrous."

He said he was frustrated progress lags behind other European countries such as the Netherlands and added: "It's a novel idea but find me an architecture firm that will design the perfect junction. The answer has been across the North Sea for 40 years."

Rosie Downes, campaigns manager at London Cycling Campaign, said: "Ideas to put cycles in the sky, or underground, rear their head every so often.

"They are completely counter to the principle that cycling should be made an attractive and convenient option, and perpetuate the incorrect notion that there isn't enough space above ground to provide Dutch-style solutions."

A Transport for London (TfL) spokeswoman said: "We welcome all ideas to support the mayor's vision to get more Londoners cycling.

"However, there are no disused tunnels of significant length that are not part of our operational railway."

Previous concept schemes have included Sir Norman Foster's SkyCycle - a 136-mile (219km) route utilising the space above railways.

A TfL spokesman said that scheme was "not being actively progressed"
 

STEVIEBOY1

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I've no real cause for thinking Aldwych to Holborn can or will ever be used again, though the proposal for a tram route from Kings Cross/Euston via Russell Square and Kingsway to Waterloo and beyond hatched in Ken Livingstone's days as Mayor show there was consideration being given to extra capacity on this corridor. Actually, Edwin M's idea for an Underground underground museum at Aldwych is an excellent one.

Yes it was a shame that tram route was not followed up, using the old tram route in Southampton row via Holborn to Aldwych would have have been a good north/south link, faster than the buses.
 

edwin_m

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Yes it was a shame that tram route was not followed up, using the old tram route in Southampton row via Holborn to Aldwych would have have been a good north/south link, faster than the buses.

It would actually have been almost exactly the same speed as the buses, as over much of the route it would have been stuck behind them. This sort of scheme requires major re-routeing of buses to use parallel streets or terminate where they can transfer passengers to the tram - probably unacceptable under our pay-once-per-vehicle ticketing system. It probably also need some restraint on the divine rights of taxis.
 

Busaholic

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It would actually have been almost exactly the same speed as the buses, as over much of the route it would have been stuck behind them. This sort of scheme requires major re-routeing of buses to use parallel streets or terminate where they can transfer passengers to the tram - probably unacceptable under our pay-once-per-vehicle ticketing system. It probably also need some restraint on the divine rights of taxis.

I agree broadly with you. In London especially with a flat fare system on the buses, a change to a tram where a 'through' bus was available before would mean at least a doubling of the fare. It has always been a bugbear of Croydon Tramlink that previous through facilities were ended in the Beckenham/Elmers End area, as well as New Addington, when free transfers would have been offered in most other countries.

I also agree with you about a Kingsway tram route - as a tramlover I want to see a lot more trams in the right places, but unfortunately this was not the right place, and neither would almost anywhere in Central London be so imo.
 

tranzitjim

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I would prefer these tunnels to become used by tube trains again.

Can anyone provide me with a map of all the dissused Tube tunnels in London?
 

jopsuk

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there's almost no disused tunnels. other than very long-gone sections (either filled in or flooded), what there is is shown here: the branch of the Jubilee from Green park to Charing Cross (used for turning back trains during engineering and disruption) and the branch of the Piccadilly from Holborn to Aldwych. There's no use for these, as it would mean putting more trains on the Jubilee north of Green Park capacity increase, if anything, are needed south/east of there) and the Piccadilly north of Holborn (when, again, capacity is sorely needed west of there). They're stubs, but especially the Charing Cross one is not operationally useless whilst the Aldwych branch is useful as a film set.
 

Mojo

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I agree broadly with you. In London especially with a flat fare system on the buses, a change to a tram where a 'through' bus was available before would mean at least a doubling of the fare. It has always been a bugbear of Croydon Tramlink that previous through facilities were ended in the Beckenham/Elmers End area, as well as New Addington, when free transfers would have been offered in most other countries.

Although if you use one of the official Tramlink feeder buses then the transfer is "free" provided the second touch is within 70 Min.
 

Greenback

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The idea form this design company seems to be more rooted in gaining themselves publicity and getting cyclists out of the way of their nice cars and taxis than anything else. It's an absurd scheme that is littered with so many practical problems that it can only be a joke or a wind up if it isn't self publicity.
 

Busaholic

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Although if you use one of the official Tramlink feeder buses then the transfer is "free" provided the second touch is within 70 Min.

Thank you, I didn't know that. I do know there are plans to scrap one of the feeder routes though (the T32) and provide a slightly increased service on the 314 in partial compensation. I know from family members living in the area that the loss of the 54 bus from Beckenham and Elmers End through to Croydon is still resented.
 

Dent

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There's no use for these, as it would mean putting more trains on the Jubilee north of Green Park capacity increase, if anything, are needed south/east of there) and the Piccadilly north of Holborn (when, again, capacity is sorely needed west of there).

The Aldwych line was run latterly as a shuttle terminating at a separate platform at Holborn, so didn't make any difference to the service on the rest of the Piccadilly Line.
 

Busaholic

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The Aldwych line was run latterly as a shuttle terminating at a separate platform at Holborn, so didn't make any difference to the service on the rest of the Piccadilly Line.

And the train came from Northfields depot each day: i.e. from the west?
 

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The Aldwych line was run latterly as a shuttle terminating at a separate platform at Holborn, so didn't make any difference to the service on the rest of the Piccadilly Line.

According to various Internet sources the service was run as a shuttle throughout its history and the layout of the tunnels made it impossible to run a through service to the north. This is probably because the two lines that made up the Piccadilly were amalgamated before it was built. The Great Northern and Strand railway was planning to build from Aldwych northwards but probably realised that a through service would not be workable and therefore built the branch to be run as a shuttle.
 

steamybrian

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there's almost no disused tunnels. other than very long-gone sections (either filled in or flooded), what there is is shown here: the branch of the Jubilee from Green park to Charing Cross (used for turning back trains during engineering and disruption) and the branch of the Piccadilly from Holborn to Aldwych. There's no use for these, as it would mean putting more trains on the Jubilee north of Green Park capacity increase, if anything, are needed south/east of there) and the Piccadilly north of Holborn (when, again, capacity is sorely needed west of there). They're stubs, but especially the Charing Cross one is not operationally useless whilst the Aldwych branch is useful as a film set.

Other disused tunnels are King William Street- Borough (closed 1900)
Moorgate- Farringdon a pair of the former Thameslink lines closed in 2007
Post Office Tube Railway lines although small diameter
 

bluegoblin7

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According to various Internet sources the service was run as a shuttle throughout its history and the layout of the tunnels made it impossible to run a through service to the north. This is probably because the two lines that made up the Piccadilly were amalgamated before it was built. The Great Northern and Strand railway was planning to build from Aldwych northwards but probably realised that a through service would not be workable and therefore built the branch to be run as a shuttle.

Through service *to* the north (eastbound) could run, but not *from* the north (westbound). To access the branch trains must depart Holborn on the east, pull up to the limit of shunt and then reverse onto the branch. This is after running to the Down Street siding to reverse, of course!
 

STEVIEBOY1

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The Aldwych line was run latterly as a shuttle terminating at a separate platform at Holborn, so didn't make any difference to the service on the rest of the Piccadilly Line.


I do seem to remember reading in an Underground history book along time ago, that many years ago, perhaps in the 1920s & 1930s there was a very limited evening service from northern Piccadilly line stations to and from Aldwych, manly aimed at the theatre audiences. There is or was a second platform at Holborn that allowed these services.


Re the Charing Cross branch of the Jubilee line. I think there was talk, of the line being extended eastwards under the Strand, to Aldwych and then towards the City. I think this was mooted as the Fleet Line, all being considered when the Bakerloo line was split and what is now know as the Jubilee line was formed.
 
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