A bit of an update in my researches into this rather odd nuget of railway history.

I am building up quite a good picture now of what happened and am picking up snippets of information from a wide range of sources to pad out the story.

There seems to be some references to parts of the river structure remaining for at least a decade after the railway firm collapsed, and even a possibility that the Whitehall tunnel was considered for reuse by the Baker Street and Waterloo (Bakerloo) railway when it was being planned.

I am now digging deeper into archives held by various government authorities to try and find more detailed records, as there is limited information at the Public Records Office – to flesh out the story.

I also now think I know who the construction firm was that had been contracted to build the cast iron tubes which would have lined the river bed – and wrote to the Museum of Docklands to see if they have copies of the contractors records this morning.

The difficulty with this project is that there seems to be limited direct information about the railway, so much of my reading now is based on reading up on other projects which may have overlaped or somehow run into the strutures constructed – for example, I found a reply to a letter from a surveyor on the Bakerloo line noting a long depression in the River Thames at the point where it was dredged for the pneumatic railway – now to find the original letter!

Overall, it is quite an exciting project and each time I find something new it just motivates me further to keep researching.

I would guess that I might settle down to do the main write up maybe in Decemeber over the Xmas break and seek a publisher for it in the New Year.


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One comment on “Waterloo and Whitehall Pneumatic Railway
  1. Hello Ian,

    I have been fascinated by so many of the topics on your blog, especially those of a subterranean nature. London is fascinating underground and theree is so much of it, I doubt if has all been documented.

    What I’m writing to you about is the snippet you posted on the Waterloo & Whitehall Railway. Many years ago whilst serving in the military, I spoke with someone who told mehad by special invitation been taken down into the Met Pols ‘Black Museaum’. This would have been when the Met were at their former headquarters, close to Portcullis House. He related to me of seeing either the entrance, or part of an entrance to a tunnel leading under the river. He went on to say that no one went in there as it was flooded. Sadly, this is all I know and all he ever told me. His visit would have been before 1963(ish).

    About 12 years ago I read a small article in the Questions & Answers column which the Daily Mail use to publish every Saturday (I believe). Someone had asked about this railway and a reply stated that there may still be a loco and carried still abandoned within the long disused tunnel.

    Personally, I really don’t know, though I am an extremely keen railway enthusiast. I wonder if it would be possible to plot the precise line of this railway beneath the Thames at then see at which point it reached dry land on the northern bank.

    Obviously the Old ‘New Scotland Yard’ building must have changed and been altered considerably now that the MetPol have long left. I would imagine it has been seriously refurbish inside and within its basements to accommodate the new parliamentry offices etc.

    I’m enjoying your blog website and photographs very much indeed Ian and am slowly perusing the contents with great interest. Both you and I seem to have a great deal in common. London is a fascinating place to explor both above and below its streets and rivers. I’m sad I not longer live nearer to it. I grew up in Wembley and Harrow and now live in Huntingdonshire.

    My best wishes and kind regards to you from


2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Waterloo and Whitehall Pneumatic Railway"
  1. […] Waterloo and Whitehall Pneumatic Railway […]

  2. […] the Illustrated London News, and is the very same image that originally got me interested in the Waterloo and Whitehall Pneumatic […]

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