Published on : Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Sydney Trains has a whole new world hidden underneath, that few commuters ever get to see, since public access is forbidden. There are abandoned tunnels that lie beneath the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a dark labyrinth of tunnels that extend out from St. James station, which is at the end of Hyde Park. Presently used by around 13,000 people per day, St. James was opened in December 1926 and was one of the first underground stations in Australia.
Inside there are unused platforms with decorative tiles and spaces for ad billboards. The end of the platforms has further tunnels, completely shrouded in darkness. These tunnels have knee-high water and one needs to wear boots to trod through them. It’s like another city hidden underground.
There was a set of caverns used as a secret bunker and planning post during World War II, with facilities for monitoring radar stations, weather signals and airport traffic. One can still see graffiti from soldiers posted there during the 1940s.
The St James tunnels like others across the city were projected to form part of Sydney’s railway network but were never completed. It was due to poor planning decisions, lack of funding and interruptions. Now they form an eerie network of underground caverns. In recent years, the tunnels have attracted much interest with occasional public tours.
There have been talks to convert them into permanent attractions and the state government is attempting to publicize the tunnels and ensure their historical value.