GES036 - Magic Door (W Lane Service entrance)
So the story goes, a certain explorer was cycling to work past a flapping door begging to be looked behind. The door lead into a service entrance to a tube line in East London. It began the exploration of the tube that inspired others to check it out. As one might imagine, it got sealed up when the chaps at LU discovered the hole in their armour. This taster of tube access lead explorers to want to probe further into the forbidden underworld of the LU. Move forward a few years, and having visited a few stations ourselves, GE077 had worked out the location of the Magic Door and kept trying to gain entrance. Eventually it paid off, when the door had been found unlocked. GE077 popped down and checked it out, only to have a close call with the authorities. A few days later, and GE007 and myself went to have a go. Knowing how quickly things get re-sealed, you have to move quickly. We hopped, squeezed and gently pressed the door handle, and it opened without drama.
We didn't hang around and headed down the layers of steps to the bottom. We were faced with two parallel passages and went for one with a gate at the end, this looks from the gate back to the stairs up.
We then came up against the door that the tracks sat behind. We were cautious as to whether it was alarmed, and decided there was only one way to find out. Luckily it wasn't and we were presented with the tracks. The tracks were very much live, as every 5 or so minutes a train whizzed by.
Most tube trains run in parallel tunnels next to each other. Depending on the location and the line, there are crossovers, basically passages between the two tunnels. GE007 was used to the tracks as he had past history with the underground. He hopped over the tracks into the crossover area. My eyebrows rose at the danger he had exposed himself too, and didn't plan on following him.
Emergency facilities and information next to the track doors. In the event of an emergency, passengers could be evacuated from the train up to the surface here.
A train passes by the other side of the track door. The sign 'Danger beware of trains' never more clearly demonstrated.
The parallel tubes that lead from the stairwell to the surface, down to the tracks. The right hand passage lead to wooden panelling sealing off the tracks.
Looking up the infrastructure, the stairs sit in a huge cylinder. I wasn't quite sure the purpose of the ladder with no means to reach it.
Looking to the tracks as a train goes by with the door open using a fisheye.
The top of the cylindrical shaft down to the track tunnels. The stairs in the background lead to the surface. Behind me lead a passage off to some equipment areas, however it a padlocked door prevented access.
The surface stairs, and a no unauthourised persons beyond this point sticker. Ruthlessly ignored.
GE007 still hadn't returned from below, so I went down to be greeted by him emerging. he filled me in on a side exit on the opposite side of the tunnels that lead to a sub-station. I then decided I needed to cross the live tracks, a mixture of thrill seeking and knowledge awareness. I waited for a train to pass, so i knew i'd have a few minutes. And then stepped John Cleese style over the live rails, using huge accentuated steps. I stood in the crossover for a bit, and then gingerly repeated the process to get back. Glad to be alive.
The escape route map to the surface, although only one of the bottom level tubes is shown.
And with that, we quickly exited the service entrance and ran off into the night.
A few weeks later, and GE031 was in town and hungry for some explore opportunities. I knew as a family man he wouldn't want the risk of getting caught down here, but persuaded him it should be straightforward. We did a few other sites, and then headed over to here. He told me that a friend of his, a well known long time explorer would be coming. He was GE004, a young chap that had done pretty much every cool explore going, from NY bridges to Niagara Falls tailrace tunnels. GE031 and I sat waiting and waiting, GE031 send texts back and forth. GE004 saying he was there etc. It was then that we realised. The actual Magic Door was on the other side of the dual carriageway. We weren't using the actual Magic Door to get in. GE004 whizzed across the road and eventually showed up. He selected what he thought he might need and we plodded off.
I tried to be clever and access the site from the road, less time seen clambering around the site. However it turned out not to be as easy as I thought as the road went lower all the time, increasing the height to climb. GE004 saw no problem and seemed to leap up the height like Spiderman. GE031 being similarly rock climbing au fait, walked a little further back and got up. Me being not the best climber, had to walk quite a way back before getting up. Anyway, we all got in, and nipped to the bottom. I went out the door first and hopped the rails to the crossover. GE004 clearly the professional also walked out to the tracks no problem and set his tripod up over the live rail. This is the Westbound tracks (the Westbound being closest to the track doors) looking at the second crossover East of the track doors.
Crossing onto the Eastbound tracks, this shows the side exit opposite to where we'd entered and lead up to a sub-station on the surface. GE007 had been there when we first visited and the tracks were live. You can just about see it where the green light blur occurs on the left hand wall of the tunnel.
Looking through the crossover to the Westbound tracks and the track door. GE031 crouched down, and GE004 stood up going about his business.
The tracks past the crossovers.
Passing under various pipes and a low entrance door, i exited from the tracks on the other side, and was met with a set of stairs rising up to some ladders.
These ladders then went up to the surface in a sub-station. GE007 had already been up and checked it out on the last trip, so I didn't climb up. We wanted to check out another tube location nearby, so time was pressing.
We got to the surface door, but GE004 was concerned about a helicopter outside and whether it was there for us. After a few minutes it disappeared and we scuttled out.
A year later, in July 2012, a water pipe burst and flooded this area out under 1.5m of water! The shaft has been used for passenger evacuations in the late 1960s and mid 1980s