Report - - Drain Of The Week | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Drain Of The Week



Introductory Note.

DOTW has been going on various other UE forums in the past. To see the archive, go to the Drainers Board on Darkplaces ( http://www.darkplaces.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4045 ) or join the Drainers board on UER. ( http://www.uer.ca/forum_showthread.asp?fid=1&threadid=23035 )

I decided to put this on 28days cos i need to spread the drain exploring word as muchly as possible, spesh in England... all those rad English Drains. Im Scottish, only been Australian for 17 years. N Scotland has NO DRAINS!, so its up to you pommy bastards to make up for it by finding more rad ones (other than the fuckin top shit Stoop, Jd n Drainrat n DDT keep finding) to make up for my homelands defiecit. The Archive has quite a few Mancunian, Warrington n London drains.

So get too it!


Re: Drain Of The Week.

Its been 10 months since i rounded out the first season of DOTW. With such a hiatus between now and then, its now time to start anew, and like the second season Of The Next Generation, the second season of DOTW has new special effects, a more realistic looking Enterprise D; Riker has kept his beard, Dianna Troi is wearing a push up bra, Wesley Crusher is slightly less annoying, Worf's headpeice looks less agressive and Jean Luc Picard is handsome as ever.

To start off the new season, we tackle one of Canadas best known drains, and i guess you could say the first world class drain found over there, PARK DRIVE.

Built in the 1960's, following one of Torontos largest ravine bound creeks, it seems in hindsite that the Park Drive Reservation Drain, or the Spadina Storm Sewer as the council call it, was bound to be big and full of sweet drain goodness, as the original creek made its way down a variety of waterfalls on its way to the Don River.

It wasnt however until mid 1999 that anyone realised this.

From a Cave Clan standpoint, there wasnt much else going on outside of Australia in regards to exploring Drains in 1999. I can recall drooling over obscure, mystery shrouded Minnesota drainage, but beyond Sewering In Minneapolis, drain exploration had little overseas representation in '99.

Ninjalicious, of Infiltration, made concerted efforts to change all this and while his 'First 8 Drains' werent much to write home about, i remember being impressed when i read about this Park Drive Drain he and two others explored. The article was published in Infiltration 16 and told of their trip to "investigate the mammoth drain emptying out at Toronto's Park Drive Reservation". Using a car jack to pry the outfall grille open, they found themselves inside a drain that they at the time considered to be "considerably larger than any drain any of (us has) ever seen." also mentioning, their encounter with the first ""waterfall chamber": a gigantic underground room (by Canadian standards, at least)" Ironically, those Canadian Standards grew after they found Park Drive, and drains all over the country proved to be of a similar or higher standard. Park Drive was simply the first. That particular expo ended in them getting caught emerging from a manhole and earned them a $65 ticket for tresspassing.

But despite the ticket, the finding and exploring of this large Toronto Drain, proved very much worthwhile, as i would say it was the first step that lead to Canada becoming the 'big drain' country its known to be today. From Mega Ganga in Montreal right thru to the old stone drains in Victoria, Canada is a drainers paradise (as long as you dont mind the tunnels being made entirely of concrete) and is easily on par with Australia and the United States for big drain goodness.

Of the Golden Horseshoe area, the area that resides around the southern end of Lake Ontario, Park Drive is considered to be the best drain in the Toronto region, but nevertheless easily challenges the best drains of Hamilton and Burlington, if not quite being up to standard with the Niagara Power Station tailraces (if you would compare them).

Thusly it was high on my own personal agenda when i arrived in Toronto in June 2005 to get this mammoth tunnel seen to. Id planned to do the tunnel with Kowalski, but the night before, he broke his collerbone, so i went n did 21 Golden Steps instead and it wasnt until September, 4 months later, having done 20 odd drains elsewhere in Canada that i finally got to see it.

Sitting regally off one side of a reserve pathway, its outfall flanked by high retaining walls, the 13ft diameter pipe looks like an advertisment for a giant's orthodontist. The grille mounted to the front would have to be one of the chunkiest ever, and it takes two or more people to pull it open, while they narrowly avoid slipping on the sloped vestibule that sits afront it.

The outfall almost always smells mildly sewerfresh, and while ive never seen any actual turd emanating from it, i think there must always be a tiny amount of overflow. Nevertheless, the flow is usually clear and always heavy.

THE OUTFALL (pic by Kowalski)

Sloshing up the LARGE diameter tunnel, you straight away can hear the first waterfall. Indeed its barely 50m up the tunnel. A huge double weir, with a thick dividing wall, each fall emptying into a waist deep pool, containing a couple of churnblocks. I remember seeing this first fall in winter and marvelling at the ice colums that had collected on the wall of the waterfall, the cold winter air coming up from the outfall, the culprit.

Its an elaborate setup in itself, but its the ladder and catwalk system that allows you to cross the pool and climb the waterfall that sets elaborate on fire. This system exists only on one side of the twin falls, the other side having only a fancy looking downspout, spewing water, to compensate.



Avoiding falling into the pit is paramount, as Jon Doe of Sub Urban and Jester of the Wraths found out, as the waist deep bastards are a mild cesspit of collected CSO. There are safety chains warning of the floors immenant dissapearance, but a lot of them have been washed away. Making a beeline for the ladder is usually the safest bet.


The walkways present a challenge, as they are close to the tunnel ceiling, and thus backpacks get uncomfortable; the grille work is sturdy but very flexible, although at times completely missing. The scariest sight is however, the debris washed across these catwalks. Chunks of styrofoam and candy wrappers inspire visions of this huge system at times being completely full with a roaring tsunami of stormwater.

Trudging to the far end of the first long catwalk there is a second ladder, going up. This takes you up above the pit by another 13-14 footto yet anopther catwalk. This takes you across the last secion of the chamber to a ladder that gets you down to the top of the waterfall.


A large speed hump with small pipes thru it acts as a way of controlling the waters descent down the falls, and forms an ankle deep puddle in the area where the 12ft diameter pipe coming in from upstream meets the twin weir.


Its an ingenious system, but one that soon becomes a real pain in the arse as its repeated 3 more times in the next kilometre of tunnel.

The fourth fall proves to be the last double and its slightly more sedate, with less water tumbling down the waterfall and a mannhole shaft with rungs (to hang yer backpack on)instead of a crazy downspout. Looking up one of these manholes has you realising your at least 7-8 metres beneath Toronto. A lot of the lids are bolted shut however.


*end pt1*


Re: Drain Of The Week.

*start pt 2*

At the top of this fall, things change somewhat. Up until now, with the exception of the first few metres from the outfall, the tunnel has been a large 12ft diameter RCP, complete with the odd stalagtite or 2000. But from this point it becomes an oddly shaped oval, almost like an inverted capsule, reminiscant of an Edmonton tunnel.


This new shape is very pleasing on the eye and the acoustics are delightful and you hardly notice the walk to the first of four (or is it five?) smaller, single waterfall chambers.

These are all fairly similar, with only heights and the side upon which the walkway is mounted being different. Largish arch-vaulted chambers, with long, deep pools, ladders leading to walkways leading up over the ponds and the fall to the shallow puddle on the upstream end. Oh yeah and most of the safety chains are still intact and highly visible. (not to mention cocooned in... toilet paper?)


B & W

The tunnel starts to weave and snake from this point, the oval bending and warping as it makes its way round each curve.

Theres a dead end 6ft rcp coming into it from one side. During the day this pipe announces its presenmce by the light that shines down from a grille situated above a pit, in turn situated off to the side of the pipe. The whole thing looks like a total bodge job, with reo bars and chunks of concrete sticking out all over the place, but the grille gives off the only serious peice of daylight in the whole system.

Further still there is an odd room with a 4ft rcp spewing mostly soapy water from on high. I felt ill once walking past this room as the water stank of mens colonge.


The last waterfall is reached n youve walked nearly 4kms, you climb that final ladder/walkway system with a sense of relief... heres a hint, Park Drive is much better explored from the upstream down.


The big oval, nearly 14ft in height suddenly ends at a split made of a 7ft and 9ft set of rcps. The left one often smells terdy, but following it reveals nothing of the sewers, the pipe becoming a 6ft rcp then ending at a downspout.

The right weaves and bends its way before shrinking to a 6fter with a warped looking rcp running off to the right. This warped tunnel, a nearly round pipe used to lead to a tall multi levelled manhole shaft, but ive heard from Kowalksi and Mortimer that this has been replaced and altered.


Formerly, exiting this manhole saw you come out on the edge of a quiet street up near Bathurst Ave, 4.8kms from where you started.

This drain is very damp and dank. Most times i was down there i couldnt see particularly far in front of me as the tunnel was often steeped in mist of who knows what origin; the walls were usually soaked and i found myself on two occaisions down there alone and strangley content lost in the fog and fast flowing water. Park Drive is probably Toronto's most explored system, if only thanks to Kowalski leading 25 odd ppl thru it on a hot summers day back in 2004 at the first OPEX. I personally prefer the granduer of Mountain Juggernaut, and Gargantua holds a special place in my heart as i was one of the first to see its goodness, but beyond this Park Drive is a real winner, it feels more like an English CSO tunnel, a lost London River, with its depth, dankness and smell, than a lot of the other more 'buried creek' types drains around.


Re: Drain Of The Week.

So much for the 'weeklyness' of it...

This weeks (HAH!) DOTW is in the magnificent underground Mecca that is St Paul, Minnesota, in the United States.

Troutbrook Creek.

The Twin Cities are undermined by a myriad of amazing collection of tunnels, caves, drains, and conduits, the likes of which would make Parisian cataphile green with envy if they would but see past the 14th and 16th arrondissement 'paddocks' (to paraphrase Zone Tours Lezard Peint) they call their exploration home.

I had the ultimate pleasure of spending a week in MSP exploring... like a madman. Naturally, despite the ultimate connectiveness of the Twin Cities multitude of explorable tunnels, i still whored myself out to the drains, and was rewarded with some of the raddest shit this side of London.

Naturally, i had high priority targets, such as the Canoe/Bassetts Creek Tunnel, Phalen Creek, The Helix's and Amphitheatre and i saw to them finestyles, but beyond what id already preconcieved, there was one system that i hadnt really considered, which in the end blew my mind.

Unlike a lot of other tunnels in MSP, Troutbrook Creek has had little coverage. Its a bit of a black sheep, quite possibly because of its 9km length and the large amount of water it sees flowing.

The only mention it get online is on Greg Bricks site, where he states that the huge Troutbrook system was originally a triburaty of the Phalen Creek , but in the mid 1980s, the tunnels were separated and a new outfall for Troutbrook saw it emerging 200m upstream.

The tunnel itself started to take shape in the early 1890's, utilising some very unique masonry techniques and limestone. The system drains Lake Como, the original stream now merely a side passage within.

It was a warm summers day when i went with Krenta and Ben to explore this tunnel system, one of the few that i knew little about prior.

We parked a good 4kms from the Mississipi and headed down into a marshalling yard, making a beeline towards a linear elevation in the ground to the side of the train tracks. Turned out this long 'mound' was indeed the tunnel, never quite fully covered over. A largish Grille room, with a manhole shaft, sans cover presented a way in and in typical MSP fashion we had to descend it using what was left of very rusty, debilatated step irons. Having done quite a few other drains by this time, i was surprised by how shallow in the ground this one was. A lot of Minnesotan explorers prefer the deeper tunnels, features tending to be more spectacular in the these systems. Nevertheless it must be said that at least with the shallower systems like Phalen and Troutbrook, you dont need to worry about impassable drop shafts.

The Tunnel itself was a big bastard, bigger than id expected, typically arched, concrete and around 12ft high. It had a lot of waterflow, the kind that made the prospect of getting caught in there during rain scary.


We headed downstream, the light beaming in illuminating a good ways down the tunnel, providing a classic view upstream.


A ways down, the tunnel became a 9ft concrete box (finally, in this land of arches n rcp's,i was needin' some good 'ole 'box' lovin'!), with an 8ft rcp diverting to the right. We took the box and followed it a good way into a typical summer drain fog that had us scouring the uneven floor for potholes and obstacles. This in turn, returned to arch tunnel after a good 500m and we rounded a bend to find another grille section similar to out entry point. This one however, had a 5ft rectangle opposite and this in turn lead 20 metres to a 4 way intersection, the 8ft rcp from earlier passing thru it and another small tunnel coming in from opposite.


The archway then started to fluxuate, swopping from pointed arch to a more rounded version, both concrete, but with a limestone tunnel trying to break in. It also snaked its way round quite a few tight bends, before finally giving way to the immaculate 1893 Minnesota Limestone for good.


We passed one of the few manhole shafts we'd seen (in my experience, MSP drains are sorely lacking in manhole shafts and even more so, those shafts in ladders or stepirons) n Ben pointed it out as an alternate exit. I looked at the reed thin, rust obliterated rungs and wondered...

But i was soon distracted as we rouned a bend and my dark adjusted peepers took in one of the nicest subterranian scenes theyve ever had the joy of beholding.


The beams fluctuated and danced as fast moving clouds scoured thru the blue skies above. Downstream the tunnel was a ballerinas dance of crisscrossed downspouts, pouring in thru the tunnels famous 'spouting gargoyles'. These lead onto a very brief cut and cover section then out into a large intesection chamber, photos of which i suddenly recalled having seen on UER ( I think they were MacGyvers from a Mouser Week a few years back). Walking into this large, newer concrete space, light dimly dipped in through what seemed like expansion joints in the ceiling. We emerged from the north western tunnel, an old arch. To our right was a newer 8ft rcp. Opposite us was a newer 10ft rcp, opposite the rcp to the right of us was more old archway. A very nice crossover junction... of sorts. In the middle of all this was an 8ft rcp, coming in from the eastern wall, dumping mildly chlorinated waters.


I took a brief look up this sidepipe, far enough to climb over various flow slowing speedrings thats compensated the pipes steep incline down towards the chamber, but stopped when it shrank somewhat, imagining a swimming pool at the other end...


Just for a change, we headed down the large RCP, passing beneath a grille and flow meter on our way towards another junction room. Oddly this RCP had barely any water, as the crossover junction we'd just passed had been engineered to put 80% of the flow from the upstream tunnel down the adjacent Linestone Arch. We reached our second room but instead found RCP next door.

A quick but very cautious walk up this lead us to the archway. The freaky thing was that while all that water fitted quite nicely into the arch, upon being dropped into a steeply placed RCP it took on a tremendous amount of speed and force, almost having enough power to knock you off your feet, which it unfortunatly did, to Ben. In true Home Alone mixed with Mony Python fashion he nearly did a backflip when slippery concrete and high velocity water got the better of him.

Even more unfortunatly, he dropped his Mag Lite, a relic he'd had for years and it was carried away like so much leaf litter. A walk further downstream and we could still see it in the distance, but the water got progressivley deeper as the two RCPS headed on a steep grade into the waters of the Mississipi.

THE WATER METER RCP (pic by Krenta)

On our way back up, we took the low flow route, then headed downstream to where Ben had fallen, to see the drain Mushrooms. On our way back up, we noticed the water had changed colour, going a deep earthy red.


We trecked up to the Crossover and headed up the RCP, greeted by lots of mist and little else until we arrived back at the four way junction. This whole time id been wondering about this section of tunnel id seen on Greg Bricks site, a smaller section, limestone, arched. I hadnt seen it yet and i wondered if it was up this latter side tunnel. Yet this one was kinda small. Nevertheless i headed up, and came to a nice medium sized slide... atop of which sat Greg Bricks smaller arch.



This little arch was a real gem, it had loads of character, with multiple little side pipes and bugger-runged manhole shafts. It was also the original stream tunnel. I headed up, with Krenta in tow while Ben stayed back to get photos. Before long, the arch, having swopped back and forth between brick and limestone, gave way to an uneven pipe, half limestone, half brick, all wonderful. This eventually lead to RCP, which in turn shrank, but then enlarged. The urge to go onwards was strong, but i had so much more to do, so i turned back and between us, we found an exit manhole. I popped my head out into the sunny upper world only to find i was a foot away from a big old steam train. We'd popped out inside the grounds of a railway museum!


end pt1


Re: Drain Of The Week.


Back at the four way junction, we continued up the RCP to the connection with the main tunnel.

By now the water was very dark red, and our perplexion at its origin was as in the dark as the water itself. My only suggestion was that a dye works were dumping into the tunnel, yet there was no abnormal smell whatsover.

Back at the entry point, Krenta n Ben stayed put while i headed on upstream.


It was a long slog, i went about another kilometre, but the water kept pooling, and being opaquely red, i was wary of its depth. The 12ft arch continued on and on (at this point i had no idea i had another 5 kilometres to go) until i came across another sidepipe, a 7ft rcp, comntaining an enclosed sewer pipe. I headed up it a ways until i came to a small inlet that looked like it fed from the railyards. Back out in the main, i was soon stopped dead in my tracks.
A section of the large arch had subsided and sunk further into the ground, its ceiling a good foot lower than the adjoining section. Ahead of me was a small lake of murky red water, of dubious depth. I turned back.

I emerged from Troutbrook Creek elated. What a wonderfully unique system. So fresh and airy, yet interesting and atmospheric. I never like leaving a drain unfinished, but in this case i felt better after i read later that the last few kms of the tunnel shrink substantially before reaching Lake Como.

A final note. I like the way this tunnel and its namesake creek are both a Creek (US/AU/CA) and a Brook (UK/SA/NZ) So very diplomatic!


Re: Drain Of The Week.

This week, all that need be said forms the words:

Glory Be To GOD

GOD. Great Oversized Drain. Formerly, in more liberal times when people werent so ready to suspect prejudice where there was none, Great Oversized Darkie.

Now before you whine off about how its not really that big, or you try to compare it to systems like Mountain Juggernaut, 5100, the Westbourne or Bassets Creek, REMEMBER, this drain was found 'back in the day'. In fact, most current drain explorers were prolly still playing with themselves in mindless childlike bliss while sitting in a nappy full of doo-doo, atop a pile of the local hardware stores best brickies in a sandpit. (i personally was trying to do wheelies on my BMX in Port of Spain, Trinidad). Not Dougo, Sloth and Woody of the Cave Clan tho. In 1986, they were cycling along the rivers and creeks of Melbourne town in search of Big Drayyynes!

As far as i recall, GOD was the 8th drain found by the trio of 18 year olds and at the time it was the biggest drain theyd found.

Dougo pointed out however that they admittedly jumped the gun, as 2 drains later they found Tenth, which by size standards dwarfed GOD.

GOD isnt a vast, complex system. Neither is it huge by todays standards. Its a 3.7km long creek tunnel, formerly an open canal for the most part, that dumps into Merri Creek, a wide, heavy flowing tributary of the Yarra River. For the most part the ceiling and floor see a good 10-12ft between them, with a decent flow of stormwater, just narrow and shallow enough to avoid you getting your civilian shoes too damp.

Is the perfect example of a 'cruisy' drain. You dont get your feet wet, you dont smell poo, theres no low bits or sidepipes to lose your fellow explorers to. You grab a brewskie and away you go, no need to worry about slipping or getting wet. And as a tunnel its very homely, and quiet too, even the waerfall usually only whispers. Its nice.

Sitting at the base of the creek embankment, a freeway flyover provides shade for its 10ft diameter outfall, a graffiti ridden rcp, flanked by stubby, high walls and a small staircase beneath.


LOOKING OUT (pic by Curly)

The steps are always slippery, indeed on a few occaisions the outfall has been a midden of frothy water. The RCP is typically Melburnian, rendered rather than precast, layered in tags, smooth and dry to the touch, nice and roomy.

Straight off the bat the RCP heads uphill, and almost immediatly after, you encounter a nice built in staircase, made from shallow steps, sculpted into the pipes floor.



Barely 50m on there is a waterfall. Its a big yin, a good 14ft high, with a hard, bluestone splashpan beneath it. The ladder is... dodgy, to say the least. Over the years it has gotten progessively worse and now stands, twisted by floodwaters, draped in depris, barely anchored to the wall of the falls, its top half, which sticks up too high, chained to the wall of the rcp atop the fall.

Climbing it can be easy and dry, or difficult and wet. I remember getting soaked after climbing it in periods where Australia wasnt drought stricken as it is now. Currently the water quantity is such that it barely but trickles down the vertical wall, the ladder swaying and tugging on its chain as you carefully ascend.



The 10ft rcp atop the fall has a similar little staircase to the outfall and slipperiness on its part adds to the fun and danger. Onward stretches a good 300m of 10ft RCP, before the magic opens up.

I did GOD, alone in 2000. It was my last drain of the day and being quite close to where i was staying i took my time with it. While id known the tunnel consisted of a huge RCP, i hadnt been aware of what came next.

Huge, bluestone covered canal. Shaped like a 'V', mated to a 'U', comprised of large igneous bricks and a sweeping arched ceiling, this tunnel really has a homeley, roomy feel. Its very dry, the walls and ceiling crisp and grippy, water flowing lightly and quietly down the concrete rendered floor.


LAQUE CHILLING. (pic by Curly)

Every once in a while there are step irons bolted to the walls. These often lead nowhere other than solid ceiling, having been in use prior to the canal having been capped. Rather, there are rigid ladders built to the canal wall sides that lead to current manhole shafts, most only a metre or so deep, given you the idea, rightly so, that your arent particularly far below ground.

The bluestone canal continues, swopping with concrete rendered sections, the roofline becoming flat and broad.

GOD runs straight. Like, dead straight. Its low impact, cruisy. The total opposite of what many non Australian drain explorers would be used to. If you ge bored theres always a lid to pop out of.

LID (pic by Dsankt)

The slow progression of change thru the system means your soon walking alongside a trench, with sloped sides, vertical walls and a flat ceiling. Most recently we came across this gap in the ceiling n sat down for a breather.


GOD has almost no side tunnels, save one or two wide but low bastards that only the keenest of folks have bothered to explore. At one point you reach a very large crossing pipe. Its so large it has its own built in bypass so you can get past it.

The floor becomes steeper and soon your hugging the walls. Ahead used to be 'The Lights of God' a section of covered canal where holes situated in the ceiling illuminated the wall in a fashion that inspired folks to vote the section 'Best Feature in a Drain' at the Cave Clan Clannies. Sadly, repair work to the tunnel saw the Lights removed.


GOD in its entirety was nearly wiped out a few years back. Plans for a car tunnel and freeway widening would have all but obliterated this old bluestone gem, but the people stood up for their GOD (even if unwittingly) and the old boy now lives on.

Something that a lot of Aussie drains have over other countries tunnels are grilles and more importantly the facility of grille access. Given how heavy and badly situated manhole covers can be, its always nice to use a street grille to emerge or enter a tunnel. The one in the picture below came out in a grass verge between two sides of a parade. There was a bottle shop nearby and some of out group jumped out for a few ales.

PISSHEADS. (pic by Curly)

The tunnel gets larger ahead and we revert back to bluestone, except with more verical walls. This is easily the most impressive part. Im not too sure exactly how old this section is but im guessing it verges on 110 years.

UPSTREAM (pic by Curly)


From here the tunnel goes ever onwards, the covered canal eventually narrowing substancially and becoming redbrick with a concrete ceiling, mixed with odd almost middle eastern, envelope/dome shaped sections of rectangle tunnel. Eventually it shrinks n having walked so far in such a leasurly way, yer fucked of yer bothered to crawl.




Re: Drain Of The Week.

While in Manchester, i lived on Drains (well, Star Trek and ASDA Imitation Red Bull as well), but mostly drains.

I chanced upon most of the ones i found by fluke,following up on street atlas leads and trailing creeks, then when the Sub-Urban Fellas n Drainrat found one or two, i ended up finding more in the process of exploring the ones they'd found.

I didnt want to go aimlessly wandering, in search of drains i wasnt sure of, as to do so in Manchester usually involves walking thru bad neighbourhoods full of rampant scallies, finding crappy 3ft high tunnels half full of water.

So i went to the Library, Manchester City Library and found a book called 'Manchesters Lost Rivers'. Low and behold did it not already mention most of the drains id already done. Low and behold also, did it not mention the one drain none of the British draining fraternity havent had the BOLLOCKS :D to try... thats right, it took a Cave Clanner to pull off CORN BROOK!

After reading up on the place and being encouraged by photos of 7ft brick archways, i set out one night to try and find it. Typically i ended up in Gorton, a scally housing commission area full of dumped cars n football hooligans. Straight up i encountered a 6ft rectangle infall, covered by a large steel grille, which had crap backed up against it to a depth of about 4 foot, burst footballs and frisbee's floating atop the scum.

I killed myself, bushbashing thru nettles, wild roses and thistles following the open brooks course upstream, only to find a 3ft rcp at its terminus (ironically, right behind Gorton Monastary), then nearly got hit by a fuckin First Train trying to escape.

I set out along the route the tunnel supposedly took and eventually found what i thought might be an entry manhole in a street full of condemned housing commission. Theres nothing better than popping lids in roads where nobody lives (fuck, that ryhmes!).

In the Lost Rivers book, it was stated that the tunnel ran allll the way to the Poloma Docks. A quick ruler across the old A-Z measured out 5.6kms. The outfall was specifically mentioned as it flowed into a sump, that then carried the stream under the Bridgewater canal to its final outlet in the Manchester Shipping Canal.

I went for a look, but daftly on a very rainy day. What i found was an outfall filled to the ceiling, and in such a way that i assumed it was always like that.


So back to Gorton i went, where i popped the lid, climbed down into a crappy 5ft brick arch, downstream of which was a 4ft rcp shin deep in water. My torch died in dismay and i left.

On a night off a week later i set out again, picked up a set of road barricades on the way and arrived just in time to avoid giving myself hernia.

Paranoid, i left the hinged lid open, surrounded by barricades, unsure of how easily id be able to open and close it from beneath, yet worried local hooligans might tamper.

Down in the tunnel, i set off upstream, only to halt in my tracks where a log had come jammed across the tunnel, creating a thigh deep pit of excrement behind it. You must realise that at this time i was still draining AUSSIE style, aka, in normal steel toed work boots, having not been forced by the prospect of a trip down the River Westbourne in London to buy waders. I turned back.

The next 500m was hell!

The tunnel sucked the buttplug out of a toddlers arse. It was wet, sewagy, low, collapsing, unevenly floored, had huge tree root collabarations that had become encased in debris, a section where the tunnel wall had collapsed and the earth behind it subsided, leaving a bare earth hollow and finally a 20m long section that would have been 5 foot high had it not been 3ft deep in mud. I crawled thru 4 inches of water rather than sink to my groin.

Then, it opened up. Only to a 6ft brick arch tho, littered with debris. I dunno why, but there was seriously at leasst a whole city block worth of house bricks strewn thru this fuckin drain... It then shrank again for 5 metres before becoming this freaky brick corridor... with NO FLOOR!

The floor had vanished, been washed away, i tentetively dropped a leg in, by the time id lowered myself into to 5 inches below my groin, i decided to FUCK THAT FOR A LAUGH and instead did the splits over the trench, eventually emerging onto solid roots and crap in a funny little junction.

The tunnel split into two downstream, but also had a tunnel running upstream to the right. This one shrank then became so formation infested i wouldnt be surprised if it became blocked further up.


Taking the right hand of the split, it was a relief to be on solid, non debris covered floor, and able to stand up.


The splits soon joined and i thanked my lucky drainroof stars that ahead was a nice, if debris strewn 8ft arch.


Stumbling over uneven flooring and gazillions of housebricks, not to mention tree roots and floor formations i skirted past one final chunk of insanity towards nice clean, easy going arch.

Ahh. And a widdle ratty was even there waving a little flag that read "Hallo Siologen, Welcome to Underneath Manchester University'


This went a ways, curling and bending to the erratic layout of the streets above, before coming to a utility pipe duck under, the tunnel splitting, forming two, that ducked beneath large iron pipes, the floor actually dropping into knee deep reverse speed humps to allow it under the pipes.


Round a bend n my heart sank. Ahead was a blockage caused by a bad formworking job. In front of this the floor of the tunnel dove under waters that doubted id enjoy dipping my genitals into.

However i was *just* able to get thru it without dipping the old bellend, by hugging the wall and holding onto a sidepipe, which interestily enough lead to a bunker style manhole chamber with a small staircase. Sopping wet i emerged at the other side and turned a bend into a long 7ft archway, seemingly originally brick, but since rendered over with concrete.


Here the hell started afresh. It would seem, judging by history, that sections of the tunnel running under Moss Side started to collapse in the 1950's, so they dug out the bad bits n replaced em with 5ft rectangle box sections. Roll on 500m of 5ft box section rectangle, mixed with chunks of misaligned and flooded 7ft brick archway.

My back was killing me when i finally hit a double 5ft arch section, this lead me to a chiropractors delight of a 4ft covered channel, where i found what i thought might be an exit manhole.

end pt1




Re: Drain Of The Week.


Then it once again, suddenly, got easier. A 6ft archway mutated out of the kerfuffle n despite loads of floor debris, i was soon walking half comfortable, then, yay, a little weir that dropped the floor and whammo, 7ft again, phew, sore leggy weggies.



A lot of walking thru this funny archway, made of concrete rendered brick, gave the place a funny claustrophobic feeling, i guess cos the extra layer of render made the tunnel feel smaller than i knew it should be. For a good kilometre i didnt see one manhole shaft, then suddenly the bricks appeared again, with a nice foundation of stone.


But they didnt last giving way to more concrete before hell was unleashed yet again. A 6ft corrogated iron archway, bloody thigh deep in water! That lead to... THE BIG ARCHWAY!

Finally, something large, 12ft high, busted to fuck, falling apart, debris raped archway goodness, all 300m of it.



Then back to 7ft arch, a weird main road duckunder feature and then the MUD OF HELL ITSELF!

A 7ft rectangle, chocked full of the nasty mud, stinky, oozey, sticky, releasing arse gasses, getting deeper and deeper.
I turned back, and whored myself and legs 2kms back up to the manhole id seen, praying id get it open and not have to trek all the way back to my entry manhole.

Sizing the big hinged square bastard up, i heaved and heaved, feeling the grip of dirt, rust and age flexing against me. Schlurrrrp! It gave and we flumped it out onto the pavement, my eyes squinting in the light of the 5am sun (it was summer). Lol, i was in Moss Side, reputedly Manchester's worst area for gangland violence, bad gangsta fashion and indecipherable Garage hip hop music. Dizzee Rascal comin' atcha!

With aching feet, i walked barefoot to the bus stop, waited there talking to some old lady bout drains till the 6am bus came n took me back up to Gorton, where i retrieved my other dry boots from the drain, dumped the barricades, shut the lid, walked half an hour home, took the 'if i die' note off the house noticeboard n crashed.

Three months later i entered Corn Brook from its outfall, having realised it wasnt always flooded. It was nevertheless the crappiest drain outfall ive ever seen, half collapsed, barely four foot high and muddy. However only 100m it became this nice big arch, before shrinking to the mud infested rectangle. Knowing what to expect this time, i forged ahead and holding my breath against the pungent sulphur stench made it to the other side.


A year and half later i went back to get more photos. The houses around the upstream manhole had been demolished, leaving the area thoroughly destitute, i opened the lid n ended up letting it just slam shut over me, it being too small to lower easily. I did the upstream sections again, my memory having rose tinted the previous experience.


While there are no pictures from the Lost Rivers Book online there is this one pic from the Manchester Libraries photo archive.


Corn Brook isnt a gleaming example of great British Drainage, its a long tailed runt, left rotten by its presence beneath dying parts of town, lack of repairs, a shallow setting in the ground and multiple additions and changes. Its nickname is 'Penetant' as in, "Only the Penetant Man Shall Pass", bent over mostly.


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