Secrets of the Underground


Open Weekend at London Transport Museum’s Depot, Acton

11:00 to 17:00 on 22 and 23 April 2017


A rare opportunity to see inside London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton, West London, will take place on 22 and 23 April 2017. Transport enthusiasts and family visitors to the Museum’s Secrets of the Underground Open Weekend will have the chance to explore this working Museum Depot, a treasure-house of over 320,000 artefacts from London’s transport history and which is usually closed to the public.


Visitors will discover more about the unexpected, the hidden and secret places of the Underground with this jam-packed weekend of activities.  The Museum Depot will showcase a fascinating and fun themed programme of talks, interactive displays, tours and family activities including a ride on a miniature railway, a closer look at tunnelling ephemera and tours of its stunning art and poster collection.


At Secrets of the Underground Open Weekend visitors can:

  • Hear stories from Hidden London, the Museum’s hugely popular series of tours of disused Underground stations, and get the inside track about the secrets of these hidden places and spaces
  • Join transport historian, Oliver Green, as he reveals the story behind a forgotten space below the streets of London – the Kingsway Tramway Subway. The only one of its kind in Britain, this listed cut and cover tunnel in central London sits below one of the busiest streets in our city
  • Marvel at the stories uncovered from London soil during the Crossrail tunnelling project, with author Gillian Tindall, who brings her infectious love of London’s history to these freshly revealed tales
  • Discover the underground Mail Rail with The Postal Museum
  • Travel back in time to 1825 with Robert Hulse from the Brunel Museum, and hear about the engineering brilliance of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the stories behind the construction of the world’s first under-river tunnel from Wapping to Rotherhithe
  • Get a behind the scenes look at Crossrail, with talks about designing for underground spaces, and stories from the engineers who have tunnelled under London’s soil.


With lots of activities for families, visitors can also:

  • Enjoy miniature train layouts
  • Meet the engineers and hear the stories behind tunnelling objects housed in the collection including machinery through to architectural models of Underground stations and tunnels
  • Watch demonstrations of original Underground signalling equipment and have a go at operating it for yourself
  • Take a ride on a miniature railway
  • Join a bitesize family tour of the Museum Depot looking at highlights from the collection
  • Get crafty in family make and take activities and create your own inventions inspired by the Depot’s collection of familiar and curious objects
  • Handle some of the Depot’s quirkier artefacts and discover what they are
  • View the underneath of a vintage bus from a mechanic’s pit
  • Climb aboard a heritage bus and take a scenic ride around West London
  • Hear the noise of the Gibson Ticket machine as we show how it dispensed tickets used on all London Transport buses between 1953 and 1993
  • Meet costumed actors and find out how a miner would have dug the first deep tunnel cut back in the 1890’s and the work of the army of unsung heroes, known as fluffers, who keep the Underground cleaned and maintained at night
  • Enjoy delicious street food and refreshments from Street Dot’s traders including a coffee bar in a converted Mini car and a real ale bar
  • Shop for unique transport related products and gifts in our Depot shop
  • Meet London Transport Museum Friends and find out how to get involved with the Museum.


The Museum Depot, which opens only occasionally to the public, is a hidden treasure trove of the capital’s transport history, housing a range of objects including posters, vehicles, maps, signs and models.  Other activities at Secrets of the Underground include:


  • Immersing yourselves in a special close-up look at the Museum’s art and poster collection, one of the world’s finest and most comprehensive collections of transport posters and artworks, rarely seen by the public
  • Viewing the largest collection of London transport signage in the world, which includes samples spanning over 150 years and from bygone eras, with examples of different font prototypes, layouts and design styles on display
  • Discovering vintage vehicles including
  • the Metropolitan Railway ‘Jubilee’ carriage, the only surviving example of a stock built by Craven Brothers of Sheffield in 1892 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee
  • buses in the Museum’s collection, including the fully restored 102 year old khaki green Battle Bus No. B2737. These B-Type London buses were used to transport troops to the Front during the First World War.


To buy advance tickets for Secrets of the Underground Museum Depot Open Weekend on 22 and 23 April 2017 go to:

Tickets cost £12 for adults and £10 for concessions and are valid for both days. Open from 11:00-17:00.  Last admission 16:00. Children and young people aged 17 and under go free (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult).