More on the Waterloo & Whitehall Railway

Long term readers may recall that I am slowly researching the history of the Waterloo and Whitehall Railway – a short lived attempt to build a pneumatic railway in an iron tube running under the River Thames between Great Scotland Yard and Waterloo Station.

I haven’t been able to do much with the project frankly as I got somewhat diverted, but I haven’t completely forgotten it.

I was therefore quite excited to get an alert that a document had come onto the market, and one which is not in the National Archives – so I brought it and it arrived last week. The document is a short 4 side document which is the Authorisation by the Board of Trade to wind up the failed company in February 1871.

In addition to being a nice addition to my collection of relics from the railway – it also added a few extra notes which I was unsure of. Most notable was that while I knew that the construction of the iron tubes had started by the Samuda Brothers in Docklands, I was unable to get any further information – save a lithograph from an issue of Scientific American which confirmed that at least part of one tube was built.

A drawing of a tube for the Waterloo and Whitehall Pnumatic Railway

I now know that one entire length (out of four) was indeed completed in full – with the brick linings etc., and a second length of tube was cast, but not assembled.

Due to the complete lack of any detailed information about the shipyard, I have been unable to find out what happened to the iron tubes once the firm was wound up – alas.

I still aim to do a write up one day – and the arrival of this document in the post has encouraged me to post off some letters (again) to various possible sources for information in the hope that a second letter might get answered.

Related postings:

Waterloo and Whitehall Pneumatic Railway

How the Bakerloo Line created a Water Jet in the Thames

2 thoughts on “More on the Waterloo & Whitehall Railway

  1. Congratulations! Great to see you’re pushing ahead (slowly, but possibly more reliably than the railway in question!).

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on this. Looking forward to hearing more.

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