In Pictures: The Connaught Tunnel

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 99 months ago
In Pictures: The Connaught Tunnel
The approach to the tunnel; the buttresses will be retained for Crossrail.
The approach to the tunnel; the buttresses will be retained for Crossrail.
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Tag in the tunnel.
Tag in the tunnel.
Pieces of old rail track.
Pieces of old rail track.
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The disused Silvertown station; it was part of the Silverlink network until it closed in 2006.
The disused Silvertown station; it was part of the Silverlink network until it closed in 2006.
Emerging toward Silvertown
Emerging toward Silvertown

A piece of Victorian railway engineering is being brought back from the dead as part of the Crossrail project. Built in 1878, the Connaught Tunnel was part of the railway between Stratford and North Woolwich, and passed along Silvertown, beneath the passage that connected the Victoria and Albert docks.

It remained in continuous use until December 2006, when the railway (by then operated by Silverlink) was shorn of the stations between North Woolwich and Stratford; the route is mostly covered now by the DLR extension to Woolwich and the forthcoming new link to Stratford. However, after some modifications it will become part of the infrastructure for Crossrail when it opens in 2017.

Though a long-time favourite of urban explorers (as testified by the sheer number of graffiti within), official tours are virtually nonexistent. However, the website London Reconnections was recently invited by Crossrail to accompany them during an inspection; a selection of their photographs are presented above. See many more photos, and an excellent piece on the history of the tunnel and how it will be upgraded to accommodate Crossrail, at the LR website.

All pictures copyright London Reconnections.

Last Updated 23 September 2010