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Siddy Holloway: My London Underground and railway secrets

Siddy Holloway shares her London Underground and railway secrets. As co-presenter of TV show Secrets of the London Underground with Tim Dunn, she is a master of her subject. A third series of the show has been commissioned and will be shown later in 2023

Why do you love underground trains?

The London Underground to me a living, breathing museum. The London Underground has lots of secrets. Being the oldest underground network in the world, the system has changed and evolved so much over its 158- year history. And the fact that it is still transporting millions of people through the ancient tunnels is simply remarkable. The trains themselves are so well designed and fit for purpose and I love that the tube trains still retain the tradition of cladding the seating in Moquette.

What’s your favourite underground station?

That is a tricky one as I have so many that I am fond of or have special memories from. But I would have to say Holloway Road as that is the origin of my name and it´s such a beautiful example of a Leslie Green Edwardian station.

What are the highlights of your TV show?

Expect to see a side to the Underground you´ve never seen before as we had unparalleled access to its hidden gems. Tim Dunn and I go to stations that have recently closed as well as stations that never even opened and have been largely forgotten. We get to delve into the history with help from experts from TFL and beyond. And we get to relate the secrets back to real objects we store in our London Transport Museum Depot in Acton Town. It’s a really fun and informative look into a side of the Underground most passengers never get to see.

Can you tell us a London Underground secret?

Did you know that there were floodgates installed in the Underground during the Second World War to prevent the Thames from flooding into the system in case of an attack? Many of them are still in place, and you may be able to spot them as you travel through the network. There are some amazing secrets of the London Underground.

What’s been your favourite rail journey?

The Eurostar between London and Paris is probably my favourite. I went on it first class on my birthday a few years ago and it was just gorgeous.

What country have you most enjoyed visiting by rail?

I once got the train from Trieste to Venice in Italy which was wonderful. I have really enjoyed travelling through Italy by rail.

Have you ever travelled by train overnight?

Yes, I took the Night Riviera sleeper train from London to Penzance and loved it. On board it is such a comfortable ride and you arrive in Cornwall refreshed and ready to explore.

Can you remember your first train trip?

I was born in Iceland which doesn’t have any railways, but when I was around 6 or 7 years old my family and I went to Denmark and I got on my first ever train. I can never forget that.

Where would you like to travel to by rail?

I would love to travel up to the Scottish Highlands and go on the West Highland Railway to visit Fort William and Mallaig.

Who is your ideal rail travelling companion?

I like travelling with my partner or family with plenty of backgammon and playing cards for the journey.

Are there any particular train trips you would like to take?

I would really love to travel on the Trans Siberian Railway as I’ve always wanted to see Lake Baikal (above).

What’s been your favourite meal on a train?

I remember getting the Eurostar back in 2010 and being served a lovely dinner with crisp French white wine whilst travelling back to London at dusk. It was a very magical experience.

What’s the best thing about travelling by train?

How stress-free and comfortable it is. To be able to take in the scenery whilst travelling and arriving in the centre of your destination. Plus, you can take more luggage on trains than you can on a plane. That’s very important if you are planning a varied holiday.

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