Report - - Protvino Particle Collider, Russia | Noteworthy Reports | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Protvino Particle Collider, Russia


I Go Where The Drains Are
Regular User
As i shoot film and have been accumulating rolls faster than i can develop them, this report is a little late :D

When i was in Moscow, back in August last year, with Quantum X, Dsankt and Flame, well, we had an amazing time. Six days of wonderful company and generosity coupled with the privilege of seeing rad shit no explorers outside of the Russian region have ever seen.

Drains, factories, freight hopping, university tunnel basement parties... all of it was staggeringly rad. But the climax was near the end (as they tend to be), although we were told that we were going to see it quite early on in the piece...

'We are going to see Collider at the end of the week'

'Collider? You mean like a Particle Accelerator?'

'No. Collider... wait... yes, Particle Collider!'


Ok then. Sounds fuckin' cool... Although i admit my imaginings of the Collider far underestimated the actual place. I kept envisaging the Particle Accelerator used by John Connor in 'T3:Rise of the Machines' to slow the TX down when he switched it on and its magnets trapped the Terminatrix until she was able to cut herself free. Wow, that sounds great... n so fucking sci-fi... yet, id underestimated very much the Colliders size by utilising this Hollywood imagining. In T3 the accelerator it was a tunnel barely 10ft in diameter. Not this Russian collider though. This Russian collider turned out to be a big motherfucker.

Leaving at 10pm from our hostel (a common meeting spot since we were 75% useless at navigating the metro) we made our way in two cars, Qx, myself, Moscowhite and Paratozor in one car and Dsankt, Flame, Reverse and Urban Psychosys in the other, out of Moscow and onto the highway. Two hours later a side road lead to a partially demolished bridge. My thoughts strangely lead to the Evil Dead Films and fears, not of Zombies but that we'd not be able to reach our destination. A long way around got us there though and by 1am we were bouncing along old soviet road made out of mismatched slabs of concrete.

Pulling up at a desolate crossroad in what i could only describe as... 'nearly tundra' we alighted and walked a short ways to a ruined collective of concrete sheds.

The original Protvino Collider, was built in 1967, then had attached to it, a very large Proton Accelerator Ring, which began construction (at 50m progressions per day) in the early 1980's. Indeed, its presence facilitated the advancement of the local settlement to that of a township of 36'000 residents by 1989. At 26 odd kilometres long and 5 metres in diameter, multiplied threefold, given its parallel transit and power tunnels, it was to be the biggest of its kind in the world, and would have matched the Large Hadron Collider in capacity had it been completed, but its construction faltered at the collapse of the USSR and it now sits... somewhat mothballed, with small sections in use, but the bulk of it disused and 80 million Roubles being spent yearly keeping it pumped dry of ground water.

Of course, i knew none of this at the point, were i stood at the entrance to what i was unaware would be one of the most amazing underground locations ive ever seen.

Access is kind of secret and tho i got some great group pics around the entrance, they wont be posted online. Likewise im going to just skip past the access point and on to the access shaft.

Access shaft Porno styles!

Descending a darkened, caged ladder system, i was startled when the lights came on. Id thought the space around my caged enclosure was quite tight. Not so. Rather huge more like it. I kept descending and descending, until it turns out id climbed to the depth of Londons deepest Tube station(Hampstead Heath, 58 metres) plus 2 metres. Yes. Rather huge.


Id been one of the last to descend and i got straight into taking photos, snapping the above one off just in time to be told by panicked diggers that we had to leave because there were workers in the Collider tunnel. So up we went, us Anglo's, while the Paratozor and Moscowhite double checked. As it went, justifiably over active imaginations had generated the 'workers' and in fact the place was deserted.

Back down we went again and out into the Collider tunnel.
Lights on.... Wow!

Like a monstrous London Tube tunnel or a slightly bigger Moscow Metro tunnel, it stretched, iron clad, in an barely discernible curve for as far as my eyes could resolve, train tracks in the middle and odd alcoves every 200m. We started walking and in my mind i calculated the time (nearly 2am) and our pace (slow) and realised that at best i would see maybe 3 kilometres of this behemoth. Better than most other tunnels ive ever been in. As it goes, a full loop of the ring isnt possible due to it being barricaded at some point... various Moscow Diggers have traversed the entire thing, entailing nearly 50 kilometre return trips. Yeah... The River Fleet Sewer is 11 kilometres and the Eastern Suburbs Rail Tunnel is 7kms and i thought they were long.

Not far in, we stepped out of the shin deep water and onto a flat floor, the rails elevating to meet it, demonstrating where the outfitting progression of the tunnel had ceased. Here, Moscowhite stated his disappointment that his country had failed to complete such a fine construction... i found myself thanking his country for not completing it, as had it been completed id have never known the joy of seeing such a marvellous, even despite its incompletion, achievement.


From here we talked shit, took photos and passed through a variety of small changes in construction and size, doorways, platforms, alcoves, until we hit the our next shaft.


A side tunnel entered from one side, the junction was blocked by a locomotive that looked more like an Aeroplane tug or the M577 from 'Aliens'. Tools, and equipment lay scattered and forgotten in ways that capitalistic western countries would never dream of, an utterly fucked lift shaft sitting at its far end. Ironically, this shaft, now a blocked artery of rusted infrastructure would have been a primary entry to our secondary ladder shaft, but ground water has ruined it since 1991 and the elevator shaft sits in a pool of water.



We loitered here to let stragglers catch up, before continuing onwards, whereby the previously incomplete round tunnel took on a more complete arched profile.


A second junction soon appeared and allowed us to realise, to my shock and awe, that there were three parallel tunnels and that we were in the centre, the outer tunnel, incompletely dug in places, would've housed a train system; the inner, flooded at this point and weld-sealed shut having been designated for power supply.


By this time it was pushing 4am and Flame in particular was getting tired, so we decided to go to the next shaft then turn back. The tunnel continued to vary in shape and levels of derelict equipment and we continued to pass side tunnels leading to mud filled remnants of the parallel tunnels

Our terminus was a Y-junction with the off shooting tunnel leading to yet another badly decayed elevator shaft. Here we loitered, taking photos, talking shit, having the crap scared out of us every time a very noisy pump fired up and just generally thinking 'holy shit this is fucking rad'.



As it was nearly 4:30am, we turned back and splodged our way back out and up, emerging after sunrise to find our surrounds to be so wonderfully 'Russian', the trees, the lighting, the old buildings and sense of isolation. It reminded me of images id seen in Russian films and inspired works. We got back to the car by 7am, and set off on a very wearisome trip back to Moscow, where Paratozor so very kindly dropped us off at the hostel by 10am.

The Protvino collider is one of those locations that in my opinion, could only be Russian, and marvellously so. The largest single country and formerly the largest modern union of countries... only it could have created something this amazing, then left it for those who love such things, to appreciate. Bravo to its construction and especially those who so kindly allowed us to see it.



Wow. Just wow. That is an incredible place. I envy you for being able to go there. I really do!


That is more than a little sweet, that's the epitome of cool.


I should have danced all night
28DL Full Member
:eek: blink blink :eek:


I Go Where The Drains Are
Regular User
nice, awsome pictures too
(what film were you shooting?)
Whatever Jessops gives me for free, usually 200asa Kodak Neg film. Its getting so hard to find i stopped caring as long as its Neg and between 100-400 asa.


Sorry to be blunt - but thats just pure "cum in pants" material. Holy shit that's awesome.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Wow very nice. The initial shaft is f*king gargantuan.

Gotta say I love the look of film, especially when it's done right


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
*mega* just mega!

Pictures are excellent, but the write-up is better. I can almost imagine the russian'ness of the above ground area. Bet there was people just appearing from everywhere, selling honey etc?
Can't imagine a circumnavigation of that, would take days!