When I got a newsletter saying Hidden London was doing tours again I splashed out another £42 and ended up going for the Charing Cross Tour: exploring what’s behind the doors of the former Jubilee Line platform. It did not disappoint!
I previously did the Subterranean Shelter Tour, which was great, but mainly focused on one particular bit of the history. The one at Charing Cross is very different. Charing Cross is a functioning station, so we got to go through a few doors that are usually closed for the public. and take a sneak peek at everything that happens there.
Aside from the Hidden London Tours, they do a lot of user experience testing on these areas before new features are implemented on the actual stations. For example, over the years, the tactile floor bumps for visually impaired people, digital advert displays on platforms, and also higher platforms (in the future we might not hear the famous mind the gap announcement once these get implemented at all stations). These prototypes were all approved and were rolled out across the network. But we were also shown glow-in-the-dark floor lighting for emergencies that did not work – showing not all the tests work out as planned.
The other big thing that happens on these platforms is filming! If you’ve seen Skyfall, Paddington or Killing Eve you’ll recognize the orange / yellow/green platform and if not … keep an eye out for scenes in future films.
The announcement board is kept on and actually displays what’s happening at Green Park station. Which is practical when filming to ensure a sense of realism.
Fun fact … the ads and posters are dressed for each film. It took me a while to realise it was fake brands I was looking at on the platform.
It also stands in as the New York Subway. This was a leftover from the upcoming MCU Morbius movie and the ads used were Disney’s Broadway musicals, there is some great marketing. In the background, there’s also an ad for blood donation. Not sure if that’s related to the plot (vampires) or for just an ad to go and donate blood.
Then the tunnel (also featured in Skyfall) and a shaft. It was used to transport the construction waste via Trafalgar Square to avoid road congestion on the strand.
Also these air vents overlook the platform. Next time you’re at a station … do look up!