10 October 2010

9th October 2010

Aldwych Station has been closed since 1994. Now the station rarely opens, but when it does it is used for film sets and exhibitions.

Living in London does have a lot of benefits, as a Tomb Raider fan you would have a lot more. A lot of scenes from the first Tomb Raider film was shot here, as well as the HQ for Eidos/Square Enix Europe, and several Tomb Raider levels takes place in England. My first Tomb Raider game I played was Tomb Raider 3, and my favourite levels took place in London, so for me visiting Aldwych station was really exciting, especially since not a lot of people can go there any more.

The tour took place early morning on 24th September. Since the station rarely opens, me and my sister attended one of the Blitz experiences which recreated what it was like during the Blitz in London, since the station was used as a place of refuge.

Inside the station it was very much like the levels. The walls were made of cream coloured titles with a band of green titles half way up the wall. The entrance led down a few steps to wooden telephone booths, similar to the ticket machine designs from TR3. The design for the station was quite different to the games, instead of a main area leading to two escalators there is a main area which lead down to stairs.As for the size of the location, the real station is twice as small as it appeared in the game but the platform is much longer.

On the tour the group passed several areas which looked similar to the drill room that freaked me out the first time I played it. After the tour guide told us some history about the station during the second world war we were led to the platform.

The platform looked a lot like the level...Except there wasn't a mudslide, and there wasn't anyone from the Damned running after us with what looked like half eaten dogs, thank God! As we reached the end of the 160 stairs (It doesn't sound like a lot but walking up and down them killed your legs, that's probably why Core had escalators instead.) We were faced with a parked carriage on the station platform, that's a nice little connection to Tomb Raider 3 right there. There were four carriages in total, each with a different actor or actress telling the group about what the Blitz in the station was like. The station is a lot longer then it is portrayed in the level, with several lights placed along the platform the ends still managed to descend into darkness, it reminded me somewhat of when Lara runs down the tunnel to get into a red lit room and a tube train rushes towards her. 

As well as the tour, I looked up some history on the parts of the station we didn't get to see. The underground station has two platforms, one that was completed, and the other was mid way through construction however they didn't finish decorating it, I'm guessing the platform that is harder to get to in Tomb Raider is the undecorated, although both platforms were featured in the game.The station is also said to be haunted, there are still several ghost stories about the station available on the Internet, personally I didn't see anything down there.

It's hard to write about what a place looked like without photos, so I took photos for you :) I hope you enjoy them. View the gallery by CLICKING HERE.

I've also found a BBC article about the event which contains a video of the station, CLICK HERE. 

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  1. How cool is that!? Thanks for posting this. I wish I could see it, but seeing it through your eyes is the next best thing. :D

  2. Thank you Stella :) That comment made me smile.

  3. I am a fan of this blog and Tomb Raider, and someone on Stella's facebook page pointed out a connection between this station and Hudson Terminal in New York City. Well, back in the 1900's - 1965 or so, Hudson Terminal was a central station for lower manhattan. Eventually, the terminal was torn down and the World Trade Center was constructed. Many tunnels were converted into path ways for personal and some for service loading. The main platform of the lower part of hudson terminal became the Basement levels of both Five and Four world trade center. After the 9/11 attacks and destruction of the site, those areas, and a few old tubes existed up until at least 2011. If you look online you can see the photos of them destroying the platforms and tubes in prep for groundbreaking of the new Four World Trade Center tower.