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Report - Western Horse Tunnels & The Rat Hole - Camden, London - July 2012

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by DeathSpell, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. DeathSpell

    DeathSpell 28DL Member
    28DL Member

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    I finally had the chance to explore some of the underground delights at Camden, and see for my own eyes the incredible tunnel that has been filling my dreams full of secret desires for months!

    Forum member elliot5200 and myself managed to visit the western sections of the underground horse tunnels and the infamous Rat Hole tunnel. It's certainly been explored to death by the number of reports here, but here is my contribution to this awesome location.

    -- Camden Horse Tunnels --

    I'm sure everyone knows the history of Camden intimately, but the the area fascinates me, so I shall indulge a little.

    When the Regent's Canal was built in 1816 and connected to the Grand Union Canal, Camden Town became the final stop for trade coming south from Birmingham to London. With the arrival of the first main line railway into London at Camden in 1837, the area became an important industrial hub where goods were bought into the capital.

    Horses were used to pull canal boats and provide a means of transporting goods around, which led to large stable areas where the horses lived and worked. They even had a horse hospital which still exists as part of the current Camden market. As the railways expanded, a number of tunnels were built underground connecting the stables to the goods yards, enabling the horses to traverse the busy area without any danger from the trains. Two separate tunnels currently exist, a western and eastern horse tunnel.

    The rat hole is the nickname given to a railway tunnel running between Euston and Chalk Farm called the Up Empty Carriage Line. It seems there is no clear date when the tunnel was built, but it was never electrified was used to bring trains back to Euston without having to disturb the main line track.

    The explore started as a simple snoop around Camden with a plan to understand the layout better. After hearing from reports on here that the tunnels had been secured with a padlock, we weren't expecting much initially. After gaining access pleasantly easily, it felt amazing to finally we enter the western horse tunnels. We found the flooded area which doesn't appear any different from recent reports from here, so moved into the larger horse tunnel and on to the shaft down into the Rat Hole. Despite the photographs I have seen of the shaft, seeing it in front of me was intense! A careful descent down into the abyss, a quick flick of the torch and I was there... that delectable dream of the Rat Hole right in front of me!

    We walked to both ends of the tunnel to get our money's worth, took the necessary photos and made our way back up the shaft to return to daylight.

    I'm really pleased to have visited and looking forward to completing the set by visiting the eastern horse tunnels soon. Photographs taken with a Sony NEX-5N.

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    ernest king likes this.

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