GES253 - Jubilee Line Extension
I've covered many facets of the London Underground system, The DLR, Overground, Tube and Crossrail. However I'd not got around to checking out the Jubilee Line Extension (JLE). The current newest bit of the tube, built in the 1990s and opened on the cusp of the new millennium. The Jubilee Line offered the joy of non-zero clearance tube tunnels. Removing the opportunity to be smeared down the tube walls if caught by a train. Getting into the JLE proved tough. All the vents were modern, impenetrable and alarmed. The only way to do it was via a portal that sat across from a 24/7 active crossrail site, or entering at Green Park. The final option was the least insane and desperate option. This meant climbing over the platform barriers, and hoping there was somewhere to hide. And obviously hoping we weren't seen. This required us grouping up with people who weren't going to be able to join us. In return, we'd help them get in. It took 3 weekends of attempts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Crawling up to the station on the last train, waiting for everyone to disappear, and then boosting two people over the perimeter barrier, tightly in the corner of the station. Finally on the 3rd Saturday we got our break, and the platform was briefly empty. Both GE063 and I were popped over, and the others walked off to see if they'd been spotted. A quick wave a few minutes later, and we knew we were likely to be ok. It was now a case of squeezing into a tiny gap and waiting for the right moment to emerge. We sat there for over an hour until the lights finally flickered on. Checking the platform carefully through the door, I quickly leaped out for this shot, as GE063 then took his. We then quickly shuffled off into the tunnel.
The tunnel headed off around a bend. The tunnel boring machine (TBM) installed tunnel walls evident. All the pieces slotted in like a boring repetitive jigsaw puzzle.
After a fast paced walk, we finally got to the intervention point. We knew we could exit here, but also knew it was going to be alarmed and flush with cameras. This shows the tunnel going East to the next station, just around the bend in the distance.
I'd recently bought a new 40mm lens, and wanted to try it out. I was really pleased at the lack of lens flare it produced. Apologies for those that have gone blind from this pic, it just felt like one of those experiences you can't buy.
Clothed, we walked through the emergency door, and noticed that it was alarmed, although to us silent. We didn't want to hang around. I figured I'd have time for 2 mins of photos, and 3mins to get out and clear the building. So one quick light paint of the vent. A funnel vent is hidden by the walkways above, but can just be made out in the centre of the pic. There wasn't time for a second attempt.
And this shot shows one of the open vents to the tracks. The other side was similar, but the vent flaps closed.
And with that I picked up my camera without packing it away, and passed through a door into the stairwell to the surface. GE063 was waiting for me out of breath and keen to get the hell out. We pushed the final door to the street and briskly walked off into the night. It was good to see something different, but even better to see how well my new lens worked.
Thanks to GE063 for putting up with me, and also to our climbing partners at the station!