The abandoned plans for an underground subway system in Leeds

Oh what could have been…

The debate of the Leeds trams feels as if it’s been going since the dawn of time.

As the largest city in Europe without a tram or metro system, it’s often thought that that city is missing out on key transport links, but since the closure of the old tram network in 1959, nothing has ever been developed.

This said, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been plans to do so- and one of the most exciting was the plan from Council Transport General Manager Vayne Moorland to move the existing tram network by taking it all underground, hidden from sight during the 1940s.

The plans to build a mass transit underground railway system, similar to the London Metro, were drawn up around the time of the World War using two single deck converted electric trams with a main station at City Square.

YouTuber, Adventure Me, explored the plans over the Christmas period to explain how the plans could have come to life.

There would have been seven entrances in total and two levels of services, including a large concourse area for purchasing tickets and it is rumoured that there were experimental tunnels and chambers that were dug out to see how the plans could come to life underneath City Square.

There’s photographs of the ‘excavation of Marsh Lane Subway’ that could have been for utility tunnels, or if you want to believe that there’s more to it, they could have been a part of the plans.

But one fact that has been confirmed is that there was even a prototype tram purchased for testing the subway in Leeds, which is still available to see today at the National Tramway Museum in Derbyshire.

Image: Crich Tramway Village, Jim Dignan

AdventureMe headed over to City Square to see if there were any hatches alluding to underground tunnels, explaining that there’s always evidence at these sites as access is still needed for emergency measures like flooding. The YouTuber concluded that they may just be electric substations, though he was still “filled with suspicion”.

So if you catch yourself walking through City Square wondering what could have been lying beneath your feet, you’re not alone.

Feature Image- Unsplash

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