With the London Underground having been neglected by so many for so long, the ever prolific Siologen’s excellent tales of hitting up the LU began to surface around March 2010. The community began to sit up and take notice of the accessibility of these tunnels and stations, and as such, knowledge about Mark Lane station began to trickle out and around, as if it was the only one out there to see.
I headed in with Gary, Danny and Chris one night in May, and we were struck by the quality of both theexperience and the novelty of being somewhere we REALLY shouldn’t be. Rail trespass is a different animal to being caught in a derelict building. Firstly, rail trespass carries with it a fine of up to £1,000 pounds, and secondly, rail staff apparently don’t take kindly to people going on their lines for fun, and would push for maximum punishment.
Mark Lane is devoid of grafitti – it’s not visible from the roads and you only really know it’s there if you know. It’s unlike the well known Aldwych station which has the distinctive Piccadilly railway’s red tiled station entrance building, and it’s unlike many of the other stations which just have an anonymous metal doorway leading inside from the street.
Originally, there were stairs leading down from the top section, giant wooden things that looked like they belonged in a stately home. Abandoned Stations has perhaps the most thorough account of all London’s stations and lines, this is the first stop of many a tube explorer – something that’s provided us with leads that have led to adventures throughout the year.
The advertisements to be found in the station’s remains were an excellent relic of 1967, the year the station shut it’s doors in order for Tower Hill to open, shortly up the track. There’s a number of resited stations, however I don’t believe any are as complete as Mark Lane.
At the time we visited Mark Lane, I think we’d realised there was another world of London exploring to enjoy. Having recently hit our first sewer too, I don’t think we’d clocked that we’d be spending more time under the city exploring it than over it. Of course, the LU is fraught with many dangers, but the experience and the adrenaline is the reward here as much as the sights to see on arrival.