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London Underground: The posh street with fake houses that hide an incredible secret | UK | News

London Underground: The posh street with fake houses that hide an incredible secret | UK | News
London Underground: The posh street with fake houses that hide an incredible secret | UK | News

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Two fake houses in Bayswater reveal a massive secret about the London Underground.

The London Underground, which allows for well over a billion journeys each year without clogging up London’s already busy streets, is truly a modern marvel.

When work first began on this great underground railway more than 150 years ago, it operated quite differently. There were no electric trains back then, only steam trains served the first lines and they have left their mark on the city.

If you were to walk down Leinster Gardens in Bayswater, you might not notice anything unusual about numbers 23 and 24. But despite looking like their neighbours, the windows give away that they’re not real.

Instead of glass with rooms behind them, from the street, you see just painted plaster. In fact, the entire buildings are fake. Numbers 23 and 24 are just facades designed to match their neighbours.

Behind this facade is an exposed section of the Metropolitan line. This strange trick was used to cover a very necessary part of how Underground trains ran in the late 19th Century.

Steam trains served the Metropolitan Line which runs beneath Leinster Gardens and was fuelled by coal.

Despite the use of smart devices called condensers to prevent tunnels from filling with smoke, the engines still needed a place to release the fumes.

That’s why there were open-air sections. In these areas, the driver could let out the smoke and condensation that had accumulated in the long underground stretches.

Because Leinster Gardens was such an upscale area, the railway builders didn’t want to alter the street’s character.

So, they built a facade to conceal the workings of the Metropolitan Railway (which later became the Metropolitan line) running beneath them.

If you stroll down Porchester Terrace, the next road along from Leinster Gardens, you can see the back of the facade and the open section of railway. This view also reveals how the line was constructed.

The tunnel is just below the surface because it was built using the ‘cut and cover’ method.

This involved digging a trench, sinking the railway into it, and then building a ‘cap’ over the top to cover the tunnel.

This allowed for more buildings to be erected above. The Metropolitan, District and Circle lines were all built using this technique.

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