En route to my favourite bookshop in town, Ian Allan obviously, I pass round the back of Waterloo station with the dominant triangular glass roof occupying the horizon. Nestled in between this and the main road is a blue crane, poking its head just above the surface of the street. With the Waterloo & City line being completely isolated from the rest of the tube network, this winch is the only way to get trains, one car at a time, in and out of the depot buried beneath the roadway.
Or at least so I thought.
This is actually a common myth, and the crane seen below is merely used as a goods lift. *
This naturally seems incredibly awkward but, as is the way with so much of London, it didn’t always used to be the way. When the Waterloo & City line was constructed a similar hoist was provided with direct rail access to the low level sidings along side the station allowing tube cars to be hauled away for maintenance. The original Armstrong lift was powered by hydraulics.
These days the only way to get cars in and out of the depot is via a mobile road crane.*
*Thanks to @MoreToJack for the corrections.
Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk