The pneumatic railway was built near Crystal Palace in South London, around 1864 and was effectively a vacuum-driven train that ran for about a year. The power came from a giant steam-powered fan and the fan was reversed for the return journey where the carriage used brakes at each end. Remnants of the tunnel were uncovered around 1992 in the Crystal Palace Gardens.

In 1978, 19 year old Pamela Goodsell claimed she had found the tunnel and within it was an old railway carriage. Her story also included the bizarre details that the occupants were in the train still and were skeletons still dressed in their Victorian garb. The tunnel however was not found at that stage, some believe it was destroyed by construction work in 1911 for the Festival of Empire celebrations. The celebrations were to celebrate the coronation of King George V.

The story may have more origins as a creepy tale in the 1930’s from local school children, the exact origin of the story does not seem to have been found however. The children’s tale says the tunnel was shut down as a commuter train was trapped when the tunnel collapsed. The local tale goes that they couldn’t get out the train or the passengers and so walled it up with the souls left trapped inside. From looking around on the internet if there ever was a train there then it was more likely retrieved and used for scrap not left buried with people inside.

I cannot help but think it’s more likely a themed ride at Disney than an actual event! It makes for a good story… but I am going to go with urban legend on this one.

Crystal Palace Athmosperic Rly.1864

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