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Report - River Westbourne (Ranelagh Sewer/Storm Relief), London 2012 - 2015.

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by Ojay, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    River Westbourne (Ranelagh Sewer/Storm Relief), London

    head.jpg

    WARNING.. Another excessive self indulgent pic heavy thread, look away now if you don't like DRAINS :p:


    I first set foot in the Westie in 2012 on a whistle stop drain tour of London with MJS

    The above pic was captured by the massive bulb as I shone the search blaster for the last time, it was a funny night

    The plan was to walk upstream, however the flow wasn't ideal so I didn't go too far, instead we headed down to the 'Egg' on that particular evening

    After seeing that junction I naturally wanted to explore more of the system, but other things always seemed to get in the way

    It wasn't until 2014 I really started to put some effort in having already completed the other 2 of the big 3 'Lost Rivers'

    I set out with adders to see what all the fuss was about :popcorn


    The Ranelagh itself is quite a busy system, and a quick look at the main drainage map confirms just that

    Incorporating the Ranelagh Sewer and Ranelagh Storm Relief, I'll attempt to cover both of them separately

    We headed upstream in the Ranelagh as far as Kilburn

    The main drainage map shows two branches here heading towards the original source of the River Westbourne


    Here, a North Easterly branch of the sewer which runs to the original source at Hampstead Heath

    2.jpg

    It became a real stooper quite quickly as you can see from the above pic I struggled to grab in the confines of said steamy shit pipe

    Further down, the sewer widens as construction changes from horseshoe to an extended brick arch

    3.jpg


    Ahead, it was quite noisy, the source of all the racket a small tumbling bay, which I certainly had no plans to tackle :eek:

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    5.jpg


    Thankfully a side entry led to a staircase, which in turn leads up to a manhole chamber which was a curiousity in itself..

    (Here is the chamber looking back towards the North Eastern branch of the Ranelagh)

    6.jpg


    From the passageway, 2 further side rooms both with laddered shafts down

    Naturally we went for a look, keen to follow the Ranelagh downstream as no way we were negotiating that tumbling bay!


    One set of ladders drops into what appears to be an overflow setup

    Heading beyond some boarded weir section and through some nasty porridge is a junction where we once again meet the Ranelagh

    7.jpg

    As you can see we are now below the tumbling bay as seen earlier

    The left hand pipe appears to have little or no flow, a quick look at the main drainage map shows a short section that doesn't go too far..

    The far right, is the overflow we just walked down, you can just about make out the oak dam boards in the distance

    Doing a 180 and behind us is the Ranelagh as it surges downstream

    8.jpg

    I did attempt to walk down, but having managed 2ft and nearly swept off my feet, I gave that up as a bad idea also!


    Curious to see what the overflow offered we went for a closer look at that before deciding how best to tackle the Ranelagh downstream

    From the main chamber above, another set of ladders leads to a dropshaft which in turn carries spill flows from the Ranelagh to the NWSR below

    9.jpg


    From the inspection chamber which incorporates the dropshaft, another long ladder allows access to the NWSR below

    This is where the Ranelagh interacts with what is essentially the source of the North West Storm Relief

    10.jpg


    Heading downstream can be found another branch of the Ranelagh (left), heading North West towards Brondesbury and then onto West Hampstead

    11.jpg


    The pics turned out rubbish as my camera had taken a knock and was also steamed up to f**k :banghead

    12.jpg


    I assume the additions of concrete strengthening are more to do with the Bakerloo line that runs close by here

    13.jpg


    Back in the mainline, it proved impossible to walk safely downstream from here

    I nipped back to the next point where the Ranelagh interacts with the NWSR, as adders hadn't seen this before

    Known as 'Shelf-life' junction; another point in which the Ranelagh overflows into NWSR via a large single sided weir/CSO chamber when the system is at capacity

    14.jpg


    Here the Ranelagh exits the CSO and heads further downstream towards Maida Vale

    Again, the flow proved too treacherous so we headed out and picked up the sewer a short distance down..

    15a.jpg
     

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  2. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Continuing where we left off, we headed back under at Maida Vale

    Here the Ranelagh is intercepted by the Middle Level Sewer No.2 which was constructed 1906 - 1911

    I also noticed the recent knocks to the lens were greatly noticeable, oh well you'll have to make do as cba going back to any of it!

    16.jpg

    Looking back upstream

    17.jpg


    As usual, after an interception the line remains dry a short distance

    18.jpg


    It isn't long before side pipes dump their load and the flow picks up once again

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    The next 400m stretch provides some interesting construction and shape changes

    The RBP soon changes to Horshoe

    20.jpg

    21.jpg


    And eventually back to RBP

    22.jpg



    Ahead, construction changes to a 7ft RCP as it heads underneath Westbourne Green and the Paddington branch of the Grand Junction Canal

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    It wasn't long before the brickwork returned once again, here a smaller side pipe joins we called it a night at this point and bailed

    24.jpg


    On our next outing, we were joined by Intrepid from the cave clan, who was over visiting friends and family, I'm not sure what he made of LON fresh :D

    We picked up the Ranelagh beyond Little Venice as it heads underneath Ranelagh Bridge through a mist filled slippery RBP

    25.jpg


    Thankfully, the construction soon changes to an extended brick arch, and was much easier going underfoot!

    26.jpg


    Along the way further side pipes join..

    27.jpg


    As well can be seen some disused sections of sewer here and there

    27a.jpg


    The sewer widens and the flow becomes a bit more intense as more smaller sewers join the downstream line

    28.jpg


    Underneath Bayswater the height of the Ranelagh sewer needed to be lowered to accommodate the route of the Metropolitan Railway

    A slide was used, instead of the typical tumbling bay's associated with London drainage which is prevolent in most systems here

    It's all a bit bodgit & scarper really

    29.jpg


    Looking back up

    30.jpg

    Further down a couple of busy side pipes join

    31.jpg

    The flow beyond here makes the walk down tricky, it's silted and fast flowing too!


    The stretch between Bayswater and Hyde park certainly has seen some major alterations over the years

    A side exit we once used to enter the system leads to one such alteration

    32.jpg


    A double decker section of tunnel exists for a short stretch here, up top is a section of the now dis-used 1834 Ranelagh Sewer Diversion

    33.jpg


    The odd ventilation shaft has since been added to serve the sewer below

    34.jpg


    A small aperture towards the end of the bricked up tunnel allows one to sample the delightful aromas from a lesser sewer below

    35.jpg


    Continuing downstream the flow is tough going, balls deep and silted makes it difficult

    Here, a single sided weir into an overflow which joins the Ranelagh Storm Relief further down (see later on)

    601_3.jpg


    Round the corner, we hit a junction where the Ranelagh mainline joins up with the Mid Level Interceptor No.1 constructed 1861 - 1864

    (just about visible on the right)

    602.jpg

    At this point in the proceedings I really did question where the hell we were going with this silly hobby!


    A CSO chamber has since been added to alleviate the system

    The Ranelagh now becoming the ML1 and it's original course beyond the overflow weir now the Ranelagh Storm Relief constructed 1860 - 1862

    603.jpg

    604.jpg


    Looking down into the overflow chamber from above

    600.jpg


    After climbing back down, we followed the Ranelagh Storm Relief downstream

    Here the overflow chamber from below..

    605.jpg


    One of the 3 weirs which during capacity serve the Ranelagh Storm Relief

    100.jpg


    And here it is a bit further downstream

    The spur on the left is an overflow from the curved overflow weir before the Ranelagh hits the Mid Level No.1 as seen further above

    101.jpg


    Technically the stretch through Hyde Park from Lancaster Gate to Knightsbridge is officially the Ranelagh Storm Relief..

    But just take a look at some poo that joins a lot further up the offical route

    I'd say the continuation of the Ranelagh Sewer within it's original course re-starts a lot sooner these days, but we'll refer to it as the storm relief all the same

    102.jpg


    As you can see it's pretty clean for a storm relief :rolleyes:

    103.jpg


    Further down and 10 URBEX points if you can spot addersUE doing ANDRAIN

    104.jpg


    Even the trees prefer it down here

    105.jpg

    In all honesty it's the most uneventful 1600 metres I've ever encountered in a drain, but it's a means to an end and it needed looking at
     
  3. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Now then, remember the pic from the start of the thread, this is where things start to get interesting again...

    1.jpg

    > Far left - Serpentine Overflow > Middle - Ranelagh Storm Relief > Right - Tyburn Brook/Disused 1834 Diversion

    At this point the storm relief becomes the Ranelagh sewer again


    > The spur on the left serves an overflow from the Serpentine


    Inlet

    400.jpg


    Overflow chamber

    401.jpg


    Outlet/connection with the Ranelagh CSO

    402.jpg


    > The spur on the right leads to the Tyburn Brook and the disused 1834 Ranelagh Sewer Diversion

    500.jpg


    Eventually we arrive at a junction upstream where the Tyburn Brook joins the now disused section of the 1834 Ranelagh Sewer Diversion

    501.jpg


    Tyburn Brook

    The line is truncated and and a further overflow weir from the Mid Level Sewer No.1 has since been added

    502.jpg

    503.jpg


    Disused 1834 Ranelagh Sewer Diversion

    504.jpg


    Heading back downstream, the next significant piece is a junction where the Ranelagh & K.S.P relief (aka Eggs End) joins below

    106.jpg

    We'll come back to that..


    For now we'll continue downstream in the Ranelagh

    107.jpg

    ^ The pic is taken below Knightsbridge Road, you can just about make out the faded sign..

    Not somewhere you can grab a bag of Kronies at 2am either I hasten to add


    We trundled on down for some distance, along the way more side pipes dumping their collective loads

    In the distance we could here the roar

    It wasn't long before the Ranelagh was once again intercepted this time by the Northern Low Level No.2 sewer - Constructed 1904 - 1912

    108.jpg

    Misty as hell here as to be expected so we didn't hang about


    The Ranelagh sewer now takes a line below Lowdnes Square to the West of Belgravia

    Once a swampy wastelend known as the Five Fields, the area is now home to the internationally loaded unlike myself and adders

    109a.jpg

    110a.jpg


    There are no late night off licences either, the local corner shop here being Harvey Nicks!


    Heading down towards Eaton Terrace an overflow on the right drops into the Western Deep Sewer which was constructed in the early 90's

    111.jpg


    The multi level shaft leads to a deep pit at the bottom

    I assume it has the ability to serve as a detention tank if required, pretty sure something this size has it's uses

    112.jpg


    Further down, a change in construction, just watch how you point your torch when light painting these places, as sometimes you end up with a drain penis :D

    113.jpg


    As we approached Sloane Square we encountered another one of those remotely operated hydraulic flaps

    They scare the shit out of me, especially knowing there is no usable lid beyond here and the next obstacle

    I decided it was adders turn to man up on this one as I braved the Tyburn one, he dithered about that much I just carried on regardless

    114.jpg

    These aren't the sort of flaps you'd want a close encounter with I can assure you!


    Beyond the flap, a short section of 'stainless steel' pipe

    115.jpg


    Now, If you ever have the mis-fortune to be stuck on the district line platform at Sloane Square tube station look up..

    You will notice a large iron conduit overhead that intersects the station at a 48 degree angle

    Sloane.jpg


    It now carries the Ranelagh sewer since construction of said district line station circa 1868

    116.jpg

    It's slippery as hell and and I'm surprised we both made it through without incident


    From Sloane Square, the line now follows Holbein Place

    117.jpg


    A short distance down and we are thwarted by a large steel flap, just like the one in the Tyburn there was no easylift out either so we retreated

    118.jpg


    What is it with LON and flaps!

    Keen to press on, we found ourselves back on the streets, this time in Chelsea

    I eventually located a suitable lid that dropped us just beyond the flap, allowing us to carry on downstream of the Ranelagh from the otherside

    119.jpg


    The line now takes a turn as it crosses beneath Pimlico Road and heads below the once Chelsea Barracks

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    121.jpg

    122.jpg


    A point where the brickwork changes, somewhere below Chelsea Bridge Road

    123.jpg


    Continuing a short distance, the Ranelagh takes a dog leg and heads underneath Ranelagh Gardens

    A young Mozart once played here in his youf, so the story goes :thumb

    (pic looking back)

    124.jpg


    Some engineering brick Pr0n

    125.jpg


    And here, beyond the boards the Ranelagh Storm Relief (Eggs End) runs parallel behind at this point down to the Thames

    Roland rat was running in all directions, desperately attempting to avoid the mighty cree

    126.jpg


    Further down the source of all the racket, the Northern Low Level No.1 sewer - Constructed 1864 - 1870

    127.jpg

    128.jpg
     
  4. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    And finally, the Ranelagh & K.S.P Storm Relief (aka Eggs End)

    Apologies if you have lost the will to live by this point, but earlier on in the thread I made reference to the junction of the Ranelagh & K.S.P relief

    Here it is again to jog your memory :p:

    106.jpg


    Dropping down the ladder is

    the EGG

    129.jpg


    It's here both the Westie (Ranelagh) and the Tyburn (King Scholars Pond) sewer's interact by way of an overflow between the two

    The main overflow chamber is right outside the French Embassy

    130.jpg


    Siologen organised a quick get-together over the 2014/15 festive period, here is the group pic he took

    group.jpg



    ^ The 7ft RBP on the right forms part of the relief from the K.S.P as seen below

    131.jpg


    From the Egg chamber,
    a continuation of a large diameter egg shaped brick overflow heads towards the Thames between Knightsbridge and the Chelsea Embankment

    133.jpg


    The storm relief now continues a line below Sloane Street

    132.jpg


    As we approach Cadogan Place Gardens, the Egg construction now changes to a brick arch

    134.jpg

    135.jpg


    Below Sloane Square is another of those scary remote controlled hydraulic flaps, you've always wanted to pass beneath :rolleyes:

    As the manholes either side chime from the traffic overhead, a loose chain rattles..

    After jumping from my skin and realising the flap wasn't about to close shut on me I managed to grab a pic

    136.jpg


    Just like the Ranelagh sewer, it wasn't long before we hit another large steel flap

    137.jpg

    138.jpg

    As usual there is no easy way past and no handy easylift so we had to back track, head out and drop back in beyond the flappage around Sloane Square..

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    Heading downstream

    301.jpg

    *Note the tidal fudge (see below)

    302.jpg


    Not forgetting this last stretch is tidal, we dropped into the downstream section late one afternoon

    200.jpg


    Sadly the tide was rolling in and the overflow was filling fast

    We headed a good way down before a knee height concoction of Thames water and slippery tidal fudge thwarted progress

    I had the best idea; GTFO.. with that, we turned around and headed out for the safety of the nearest off licence :thumb

    201.jpg


    Keen to get the job done, we returned a few day's later, this time at a lower tide

    Now this isn't a game of spot the difference, but between this and the above pic there's a world of differences

    202.jpg


    The large diameter RBP was quite chilled this time, just slippery as f00k!

    A short distance down and the brickwork quickly turns to re-inforced concrete as it heads below Chelsea Bridge Road

    203.jpg


    The concrete shows sign of distress along it's route

    204.jpg


    Further down, an interaction with the Ranelagh Sewer behind some oak dam boards (right)

    205.jpg


    Just like the Ranelagh Sewer, the Storm Relief now takes a dog leg as it heads under Ranelagh Gardens

    206.jpg


    Here, the final outfall chamber underneath Chelsea Embankment

    207.jpg


    Behind the flaps is Father Thames, best not hang about here!

    208.jpg


    Outta Here

    209.jpg

    Thanks for looking and apologies for the size of the the thread :D

    R.I.P Samyang
     
  5. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
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    Brilliant mate, love reading and seeing these drain reports. Its clear a lot of effort went into it. Cheers for sharing it :)
     
  6. GAJ

    GAJ Mr Muscle
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    Another amazing report on a pretty epic drain once you move away from the tourist spots in it :thumb

    This is draining with a capital DRAINING :thumb
     
  7. Squirrell 911

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    Good report there mate. :thumb. The older stuff with the engineering bricks shows that they built them to last. 150 years on and they still look good.
     
  8. fb

    fb big in japan
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  9. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Stunning report again, quality pics too :thumb

    Almost tempted to discover the joys of the fresh stuff having read that, almost ;)
     
  10. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Awesome report, really enjoyed looking at that :thumb
     
  11. Squirrell 911

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    Embrace the fresh, it's calling you. :)
     
  12. Lenston

    Lenston Bajo Tierra
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    Epic stuff mate :)
     
  13. Adders

    Adders living in a cold world
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    TL-DR :p:

    There's definitely been some good trips down there, along with some utterly shit filled ones.
     
  14. concreteJungle

    concreteJungle 28DL Regular User
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    Some nice stuff in there, good effort.
     
  15. TheVicar

    TheVicar Loyal to the Drain
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    Excellent and detailed as always Ojay!

    So many shots of the system that I haven't seen before.
    I look forward to returning to the Westbourne again some time. :)
     
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