Report - - Camden Rat Hole - July 2012 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Camden Rat Hole - July 2012


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Well, after being completely obsessed with this place for the past two months, the Rat Hole was truly calling me. After an unsuccessful visit a couple of weeks ago, I decided to go back with Deathspell to give this place another look – survey the area a bit more and get our bearings with the maps.

Miraculously, we actually got in! ANDRENALINE RUSH!!! ;) I had only really been to Highgate Overground before and that was a long time ago.

Firstly, here’s a bit of histo quoted from a book "The Great British Railway Station, EUSTON"
published by Irwell Pres in 1994. isbn 1-871608-28-7. Page 40.

'The Up Empty Carriage Line served for empties (meaning ECS movements) from Willesden to Euston - the connection was from the Up Slow Main at Camden No 2 Box.(by Primrose Hill tunnel east portal) It burrowed underneath the mainlines opposite Camden shed and emerged on the Down side between Camden No 1 and Euston No 4 boxes; thence it converged with the Up Engine line No 1 into the station. Empty coaches from Willesden could also travel over the Up Slow Main to Euston No 4 crossing at that point to Engine Line No 1. (crossing all of the Up and Down passenger lines). This operation prevented trains leaving Euston by the Mainlines.
This borrowing line was the "rat 'ole" of evil repute and a crew would go to great lengths to ensure a clear trip through - stalling could be positively dangerous in its fume-laden close confines.
It was the scene of at least one "rescue" in late BR days, when a train of empty stock from Willesden with a Fowler 2-6-2T stalled in "the 'ole". Fortunately one of the "twins", 10000 or 10001 (LMS diesels) was available and a loco inspector (who was later commended) took the diesel in, using the nose doors to gain access and couple up, drawing the train out into the living world.'

Due to having no expectations whatsoever of actually getting in, we were armed with only a rather weak torch and a half-batteried phone. Fortunately, they both lasted JUST enough time for us to have a look and get out (alive – always a bonus). Also, our trainers got slightly raped with all the sludge down there.

We located the highly-anticipated shaft and descended the ladder with the aid of only the diminishing torchlight. This ladder seemed to go on and on, and the constant drip…drip… drip was certainly keeping us alert. I was also fearing at the back of my mind that a rat was going to poke its head out of one of the grooves in the wall at any time and make me lose my balance. It didn’t though – relatively rodent free. Climbing down in the darkness was probably the scariest part but the reward down at the bottom was more than worth it.

From the entrance... the shaft just ahead

Fresh decay


What's lurking down the drain?

The road goes ever on and on...


The control panel - hopefully everything's switched off

Shit, there’s a train coming – or is it just a trick of the light?


The ladder of doom

Flooded winding house

Ah, I can still smell the musty ratty stench down there and hear the rattling of the trains…

Overall an amazing visit and real adventure. However, word of warning - steer clear of this place, at least until after the Olympics. They’ve bumped up security down there.


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