The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

Deep Level #3 – Northern City Line

with 4 comments

February 2011

Sitting in an almost pitch black tunnel stripped of  rails and sleepers, the only light we can see is from some tunnel lights barely visible through a doorway a hundred or so metres up the line. Any rustling, kicking of ballast or movement is met with a curt and whispered “shutthefuckup!” We couldn’t sit there forever, we certainly couldn’t wait until the end of the tube service.

Within a minute of this photograph being taken, I was alerted by Gary as to the presence of a team of track inspectors bobbing up the tunnel behind. Fortunately we were at a crossover point between the two tunnels, so  promptly moved up the parallel tunnel towards the disused sections.

Twenty minutes previously we’d dropped onto the tracks and gingerly made our way up the mouth of the tunnel. 5 strong, we were perhaps on the heavy side and had to be careful as 5 people don’t move particularly quickly.

A brick arch is walled off and two deep level tube tunnels lead the tracks under a hill in North London. Cut and cover wouldn’t work here, so the techniques deployed in the first deep level tube constructions were used again here, at a greater scale.

Finding ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, the decision was made to vacate the abandoned tunnels and to depart this section, chancing our arm as to whether we came across workers or not. This was a delicate affair, interrupted by a passing freight train before we could finally depart the railways.

Sometimes when you’re in the underground, you’ve got that urge to get out, the feeling that time is up on that trip. In the pitch black tunnel, I’m sure all 5 of us felt that.

Written by Winch

February 14th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Trains

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4 Responses to 'Deep Level #3 – Northern City Line'

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  1. Great words and photos as ever. I have had that feeling more than once on the railways. Obviously, though, it’s a LOT easier to vacate a rail yard…


    14 Feb 11 at 5:42 pm

  2. Thanks mate, I know you’re chomping at the bit to get down into these places. It’s a funny feeling, a mix of adrenaline, excitement and dread. Not one we look for, but something that we seem to relish but only once it’s over.


    15 Feb 11 at 1:18 am

  3. @Winch
    It’s not having the opportunity to grace London as frequently as I’d like to that is starting to piss me off, something else always seems to come up.

    My time will come, I am sure…


    15 Feb 11 at 11:51 am

  4. I love this blog, you’re very inspirational. How did you get down there anyway? What station was it?


    19 Feb 15 at 11:58 am

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