GES224 - Euston Disused C&SLR Station
In the Mission Impossible franchise, the Mission generally gets completed. Meaning the mission wasn't that impossible after all. Having already completed one section of the disused areas at Euston, we were left with that nagging feeling to complete the other section. The only problem was that the other section, the C&SLR Station didn't have any easy ways in. The only obvious way was via an access point on the roof of the main rail station. We'd checked all angles on mapping websites, and walked around. However no easy ways up presented themselves. The fact that the main station floor was patrolled by policemen tooled up to the eyeballs, including a rather large sub machine gun, made this really something of a mission impossible. However, as this write up confirms, it wasn't that impossible.
We were assisted by the fact that Network Rail had looked to have their roofing repaired, and scaffold had been set up here and there to facilitate putting new felt on the roof. Unfortunately, they had kept all the scaffold in areas it would be tricky to get to. Except one. It sat right next to the side entrance to the station, just inside which was the main police office for the station. A hoist sat next to the side entrance and reached the roof. Getting up it would prove a nightmare. Whatever time we turned up would involve either station staff and cops during the station being open, and then track workers, cleaners and deliveries during the night. If this wasn't bad enough, a hotel sat opposite the station with people smoking constantly outside all day and night. And, there were always people sat in cars next to the side entrance. Waiting to pick up passengers or those clocking off at work in the station. It being near xmas, we opted to wait for xmas day. Surely then it would be deserted and empty. As xmas eve crossed over into xmas day, it was 2am, and there were track workers walking in and out of the side entrance!! There were also cars with people sat in them waiting for something. On xmas day morning!! Bahh.
We waited, and it didn't look like it was going to happen, so we went off to check out some other points of interest in the capital. We came back 3 hours later, and miraculously all looked quiet. I took the initiative and hopped over a wall and whizzed up the hoist tower. Once on the roof I checked for security problems, and then made my way across the roof to the access point. It opened no problem, and I looked around below. All looked good, and just as we envisaged from bits and pieces on the internet. I gave GE077 a call, and he followed the same route as myself. He got to the top access point, and we both dropped down, and continued further down through the station, until we walked across to the top of the old lift shaft. It was lit up and looked a long way down. The other main issue was that the ladder in the shot below didn't reach the top of the shaft. How inconsiderate! We didn't' have anything with us that would help us to get down, but that wasn't the main issue. The main issue was that we could hear voices coming from somewhere below. However many attempts we'd made, even on xmas day, it was looking like it would never happen, due to the 24/7/365 days that workers were about.
Seeing it as a dead cause, we left back the way we came. As expected, outside there was now someone sat in a car. We came down anyway, and hopped over the wall, quickly disappearing into the night.
This now left a nagging feeling inside, we'd come so close, but at every turn we appeared thwarted. I felt that the best time to do it would be when the station was open, but quiet. And before the night workers turned up. So we met up at 6 on a Sunday evening, a cold Sunday evening as it turned out. Things were pretty much as expected, a slow dribble of passengers coming and going from the side entrance. The usual work-shy station staff lighting up cigarettes outside. As I stood pretending to smoke (dirty filthy habit) next to GE077, we observed their patterns, and looked for breaks when we could shoot up the hoist. We only needed a single minute for each of us. Confident such gaps would appear, we split up. I hopped over the wall, and hid in the shadows, waiting for a nod from GE077. The station staff appeared on the ball, and looked suspiciously at us numerous times. Eventually I got the nod from GE077, and whizzed up the hoist. I was seen by numerous people, but not station staff. It's a great help to us, that people in the UK don't want to get involved if they see something suspicious. In the US, we'd have been busted hopping over just the low wall. Even so, I then spent an hour on the roof, waiting for GE077 to just hop over the wall, such was his fear of being busted. Finally over, I got a text to say he was below, and then looked out for station staff or cops. When all looked clear, I whistled. I thought I then saw a station staff chap walk out for a fag, but before I could really see, GE077 was climbing onto the roof. Job done.
Now to try to get to past live windows to the access point. All appeared fine, but there was the problem of the canteen. We could see people coming and going regularly, and we had an exposed section of roof to cross. We set off lying flat and shifting across the roof, but in the end just bent double and legged it. Thankfully no one saw, the blurred screen on the bottom half of the window helped. We were now back at the top of the vent shaft. This time though it was pitch black, apart from some light below. We couldn't hear voices, so assumed this was a good thing. GE077 set about rigging up a rope, i started to panic about the abseil down. It's not a secret I'm not good with heights. All done, I harnessed up, and opted to go first. We only had one descender between us, so had to share.
I clipped into the rope, and GE077 checked it. I then knelt on the edge and slowly slipped down. As happy as I was going to be, I let go of the rope overrun, and was now fully on the rope. I gripped the Petzl stop, and started a slow descent. As I did, bits of the slowly rusting lift shaft walls fell off, crashing below and making a noise. I tried my best to avoid the wall, using the silver pipe. The descent seemed to take forever, the point between slow and super speedy descent seemed to be as finite as between hot and cold in a hotel shower. Fears over whether the rope would be long enough proved unfounded as I saw a metre or so of it curled on the floor. Finally down, I removed the descender, and allowed GE077 to pull up the rope. I checked around the immediate area to make sure all was cool. I heard bits falling down the vent, so quickly stood in the passageway as GE077 dropped down. Off the rope, we set off out the back of the vent, towards the Victoria line vent. Just behind the camera in this pic is the lift shaft. The lit up corridor leads to the vent.
Looking from inside the vent to the lit up section of corridor seen above.
The vent was pretty short, about 30m, and then it split. The right hand side of the split went on to a section of vent slots in the floor. The other side of the split ended at the first vent slot.
GE077 takes a shot down one of the vents. The vent tunnel shrank and ended about 10m behind the camera with a small wooden door. Four vents, two on either side, lead down to the Victoria Line tracks. The end of the split can be seen in the distance. The shot isn't as well lit as I'd have liked, as I didn't want to have the light bouncing out onto the Victoria Line platforms.
We wandered back to the lift shaft, and into the main passageway. This shot is down the side of the lift shaft, the start of the passage to the Victoria Line vent is in the lit up section.
We then climbed up the ladder inside the lift shaft. I had never seen pictures from inside, so was curious as to where it went. It turned out to be a short very dusty vent that hadn't been accessed in years. The vent slots in the floor lead down to the Northern Line tracks, just before the train pulls into the station platforms. This shows that the Victoria Line tracks are lower than the Northern Line here.
Turning 90 degrees, one can see back out into the lift shaft vent and the ladder down.
Back down, this is the front entrance to the lift shaft. The next shot down is taken by the 'Times Cut' poster in the background.
With the front entrance to the lifts on the left, this looks down to the two different platforms. The two doors would have lead to a passage down to Charing Cross Platform 1. The longer passage leads to a T junction. One half of the T junction leads to the City branch platforms, the other leads to Platform 2 of the Charing Cross branch. The wooden door on the left was openable, the one on the right locked. We didn't want to risk opening the left hand door.
Posters promoting rail journeys from the main line station above.
Looking down the passageway to the T junction, the lift shaft front entrance behind the camera.
The passageway up the yellow steps is the one above, leading to the lifts. The steps lead down on the right to Platform 3 on the City Branch. A door sits just below the two lit up bits down there. The light is from the platforms. It was possible to watch trains come and go from there. Behind the camera are steps up to what's known on the light-switch as the 'caged area.'
The steps at the far end of the shot, lead down to the picture above. The deep level ticket office here, has a small void space behind it for what was the office. Passengers swapping between the two branches of what would become the Northern Line used to pay to use the other line at this office. It was only used up to 1913, as the two competing lines came under the same owner, The Underground Group.
Further up the passage, the ticket office is at the far end of this photo, and beyond the stairs down to the platform. Old posters litter the wall for the whole length.
90 degrees to the right from the above shot, the stairs that used to lead to Platform 2 of the Charing Cross branch. Note that 3 short flights of stairs show the difference in depth between the two lines.
Posters on the wall, as the passageway curves around to the stairs above.
Job done, it was time to head out. We were keen to get out before the workers started, but it was looking like it would be pretty close. GE077 clipped in, and ascended first.
I took a few more photos as he ascended. When clear, I clipped on, and started my own ascent. It might only have been about 25m, but it seemed to take forever. I took a couple of short breaks on the way up, but was keen to leave, as the harness was cutting into my left thigh. Finally at the top, I pulled myself over, as GE077 began pulling up the rope. We packed up, and went to go to the access point. Unfortunately, there were workers walking about on the upper roof. Not good, not good at all. Being down below, we'd forgotten just how busy the station is, and the number of opportunities to get seen and heavens forbid, caught. So instead we made our way to a door that lead into the station. We knew from research about 5 cameras covered it. We breathed deeply, opened the door, and casually as possible, walked out of the station, through the bus station, and off into the night. All the way expecting a firm hand on the shoulder, but nothing. Yet again we'd considered it a mission impossible, but we had made the impossible possible. Thanks to GE077 for rope tying skills, very much appreciated!