GES135 - Battersea Steam Tunnels, London
GE077 had been after these tunnels for a long time, and I had joined him on a few occasions to try lids and what not, in the hope of getting in. I got a text saying he'd finally cracked it while I was gallivanting around Mongolia and Russia. When GE010 was in town with GE061, they were as keen as I was to tick this one off. And so we met up nearby, and gave the place the once over. A police car was parked with lights flashing further down the street, so we were a bit apprehensive. Luckily I spotted something we could do to easily get in, and GE010 took care of it. Soon we were into the site. The tall tower here is actually one really bloody huge boiling tank, similar to what one might find in an airing cupboard. It used to be heated by excess steam from the power station across the river.
The base of the tower. With no more steam coming from the long decommissioned power station, these newer pipes must play a part in keeping the water hot.
GE077 had supplied rough access plans, so getting in was merely a case of getting in. Easier said than done, but luckily Mastercard came to the rescue. GE010 bravely entered the control section of the building and let GE061 and I into the tower. In the basement below the control section, endless pipeage.
It was a brief hunt for the right door, and finally we were into the tunnels. The first section consisted of a narrow corridor beside some two large pipes. One smaller pipe can be found on the explorer on the left!
After the above section, we began to descend via a slight squeeze, which was bizarrely part of the official route. A drain above us occasionally clanged to great effect. And soon we were all at the base of the shaft down to where the pipes would begin to cross the river. This shot look up the shaft from the base. The orange light from the tunnels above just visible in the centre.
Another shaft up somewhere on the embankment. Note the old bricks, this was an original part of the system.
The round concrete pipe going under the Thames. I wasn't sure we actually had gone under the Thames, as it seemed too short, but my views were in the minority, so I guess this is under the Thames.
The end of the tunnels. The pipes disappear off somewhere. In theory this should be somewhere within the grounds of Battersea Power Station.
I climbed up with the vauge hope of exiting or at least a gps reference. But sadly it wasn't to be. It was a sturdy manhole, and I didn't fancy having my brains caved in.
Thanks to GE077 for intel, and GE061 and GE010 for company.