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Report - Camden Rathole, London - April 2015

WildBoyz

Is this the future?
Regular User
#1
Camden Service Tunnel, otherwise known as the ‘Camden Rathole’ or the ‘Camden Catacombs’, which runs from south of Primrose Hill Tunnel where it connected to the Broad Street line, served as an empty carriage line between Willesden and Euston. It lays hidden beneath mainline tracks that run directly above and the distinctive sound of these trains can be heard from within the tunnel. There are two particularly interesting features within this small network of passageways. The first is a Grade II listed stationary engine vault that was once used to house two steam engines which were used to pull trains over a steep incline and the nearby canal. This, however, is almost completely flooded and is currently sealed; although it can still be viewed by peering through gaps in the gate. The second is an abandoned railway tunnel at the base of the network. The Camden Rathole is mentioned in a book published by Irwell Press in 1994, which is titled The Great British Railway Station, and the section states:

‘This burrowing 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’.

April 2015; the WildBoyz headed for the South! But, as we were a little unsure about what to expect since our initial plan failed epically, and in view of the fact that we were after all in very strange territory, we got the tube into London – after parking up in a nearby seaside town – to meet up with Slayaaaa (it was a pleasure to meet you). We met up in the middle of the London bustle and, after a bit of a wander around London as we were given a bit of a tour of the area, we were given some details about an abandoned tunnel nearby. Feeling that all too familiar buzz of excitement, minutes later we jumped back on the tube and made our way towards Camden in search of the fabled ‘Camden Rathole’. With such good directions we found it surprisingly easy to uncover. The tricky part was finding that we could just about manage to squeeze ourselves inside. Needless to say we managed it, and we were soon venturing into the dark damp depths of Camden.

Inside the temperature was considerably cooler and the busy sounds of London soon faded; yielding to absolute silence and the occasional roar of trains overhead. After a few seconds fumbling around for torches it wasn’t long before we found the ladder Slayaaaa had mentioned in our conversation earlier, and it was just as incredible as we’d imagined. I was very surprised though when we stumbled across the flooded section in the ‘ole, given that the rest of the system appears to be in fairly good condition. Cor, Blimey! It didn’t alf’ look deep! Soon after that we decided to venture down the ladder into the tunnel below and, sure enough, there it was, a long abandoned track underneath Camden. The tunnel itself vibrates with the sound of trains passing overhead, and yet the air, mixed with the stench of diesel and oil, remains unbelievably still. On the whole the line is relatively long, and it’s a decent walk from one end to the other; and combined with the small network above I’d say it is, without doubt, well worth a visit.

Explored with Ford Mayhem. *Thanks to Slayaaaa for the info.

1: Somewhere in Camden

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz1_zpsjeff4xbh.jpg


2: Entering the 'Rathole'

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz2_zpsv2unlag9.jpg


3: Service Tunnel

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz3_zpsxkkjd9cj.jpg


4: Flooded Section

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz4_zps4y3yjtrt.jpg


5: The Main Shaft

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz5_zpsiy20igey.jpg


6: Climbing Down

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz6_zpswdcnayn6.jpg


7: The Tracks

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz7_zps6btyrczt.jpg


8: Ground Level Track Shot

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz8_zpsyk0gn10q.jpg


9: Further Down the Line

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz9_zpse4dmzphn.jpg


10: Even Further Down the Line

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz10_zpspomoqbav.jpg


11: The End of the Line

Camden%20Rathole%20WildBoyz11_zpstqsdsi09.jpg

 

ACID- REFLUX

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#8
well i was going to say he never mentioned it too me when i was down, but as i couldn"t fit through there i"ll let it pass lol

Nice report mate :thumb, didn"t take you long to get bored with Sheffield ;)
 

WildBoyz

Is this the future?
Regular User
#11
well i was going to say he never mentioned it too me when i was down, but as i couldn"t fit through there i"ll let it pass lol

Nice report mate :thumb, didn"t take you long to get bored with Sheffield ;)
Haha. Mate, I only just managed it like. Pretty damn tight. Been wandering around Sheff and nothing had been standing out.

Nice stuff and some good pics too, only people who take pics underground know how hard it is,! Good jobs.:thumb
Cheers :thumb Took ages to get the shots. :p

Brilliant report, I like photos 5 and 10 :thumb
Thanks :thumb
 

Camden-Photographer

28DL Member
28DL Member
#15
I see the tunnel from the bridge, a locked door aslong the canal.. Asked the restaurant people but they said to come back at 10am as they where busy.. Isn't there another way in?
 

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