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Report - - South Western Storm Relief Sewer (AKA Rubix) – London – May 2019 | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - South Western Storm Relief Sewer (AKA Rubix) – London – May 2019


TheVicar

Loyal to the Drain
Regular User
Explored with Tallginge.

It was nearly six years ago that @concreteJungle and I lifted a lid near Tulse Hill and climbed down the ladder into this Storm Relief.
Ever since then I’ve wanted to return; for two different reasons.
The first was that the lower reaches were inaccessible due to the tunnel being full of water. The second was because I’d always been curious what lay upstream.
So after further research of the sewer it was time to have a look.

The SWSRS begins its journey at an overflow from the Effra Branch Sewer in West Norwood, close to the railway station.
The first 3 photos show the start of the Storm Relief at the bottom of a drop shaft with a blue brick wall that is curved towards the bottom. The tunnel is approximately 4ft 6inches in diameter.

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From here, the SR heads North East for about 0.8 miles before reaching the top of a small staircase which leads down into a rather nice chamber (next 4 photos).
The staircase as you can see is in the right hand side tunnel.


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The central and much more modern tunnel is one of the two Effra Storm Relief Sewers and was constructed around 1986. It runs south from this point to Gypsy Hill. A short way up this tunnel is a small flap, although behind the flap, the concrete tunnel is about 6ft in diameter.

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From the junction chamber we now took the 5ft diameter left hand side tunnel and stooped a further 300 yards or so until another small staircase came into sight.
Here is another overflow from the now 6ft Effra Branch Sewer, which is carrying quite a bit more flow and is heading downhill at quite a steep gradient causing the flow to rush by.

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At this point we returned to the junction chamber shown earlier. With the three aforementioned tunnels just behind the camera, this chamber marks the start of a 7ft tunnel running north for a considerable distance.

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A further 1.5 miles on, heading north westerly, after passing below Brockwell Park, there is a curve in the tunnel of the Storm Relief.
We were now below Effra Road in Brixton and it is at this point a large overflow for the Effra Sewer can be seen. Note the smaller egg shaped sewer joining in the centre right of the photo. The ‘water’ here is racing down at a fair old speed.


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A short distance further along the relief and there is a brick tunnel joining from the south. Seeing the curves of the brickwork as the tunnels join gracefully are one of the many joys of this odd hobby. Stooping up this tunnel for a few yards revealed a neat staircase, complete with handrail, leading upwards. At the top, a backbreaking 4ft blue brick tunnel lead into the distance.

My poor old back was already aching from going up the cramped flight of stairs so I decided against scuttling up the pipe to see it. Naturally, Tallginge despite being taller than me whizzed up there to take a look while I waited back in the main 7ft tunnel. You can just about make out his silhouette. Tallginge’s persistence paid off as was to be expected and the result was this great little overflow chamber on the Streatham Hill Sewer which is that egg shaped sewer that joins the Effra Sewer shown at the earlier overflow chamber. Pic courtesy of Tallginge.

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We marched on down the SR and this abomination came into sight!
An RCP protrudes brutally, shattering the pristine red brickwork. Cement is splattered everywhere and spread all around this nasty intrusion by someone with not one bit of pride whatsoever in the ‘work’ they do. To add insult to injury, the retard that bodged in this pipe has actually installed it pointing about 10 degrees in the upstream direction. They have then proceeded to use their fingers to smear the cement crudely around the pipe like a four year old child making mud pies.

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Heading further downstream and we are now in Clapham North. Here there are a couple of overflows and a ladder shaft to the Balham Sewer running above.

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A couple of hundred yards further still and we reach what I consider the main feature. Here, an arched tunnel joins from each side of the main tunnel whilst at the same time the diameter increases from 7ft to 13ft. (Note that the next two photos were taken on a previous visit)

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The side tunnels are overflows from the Southern High Level #1 Sewer (on left looking back upstream) and the Southern High Level #1 Putney & Clapham Extension Sewer (to the right).
An iron walkway runs between the two overflow tunnels which is heavily decorated with the usual assortment of wet wipes and jam rags. In addition, a substantial length of high pressure jetting hose was tangled up in the mess too.
It would have been rude not to have nipped up the two overflows for a quick pic, so here is a shot of the Southern High Level #1 Sewer and shown below that is the Southern High Level #1 Putney & Clapham Extension Sewer.

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Sadly, no sooner has the tunnel expanded to 13ft in diameter; it is now a drab concrete affair with nasty acoustics.

Several yards downstream from here and there is a recess on the right hand side which leads to a large iron flap set into a wall of concrete. This is end of the other Effra Storm Relief Sewer which was constructed in 1985. It runs all the way back to Brockwell Park, passing close to St Matthew’s Church in Brixton en route.

For most of the time, it runs quite closely parallel to the South Western Storm Relief Sewer that we have been walking down. At the eastern side of Brockwell park the Effra Storm Relief Sewer takes overflows from the Norwood Road branch of the Effra sewer before heading a little further north to meet the Effra Sewer main line at another overflow chamber on Half Moon Lane.

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It was just past this recess on my visit in 2013 that progress downstream was curtailed due to the water level in the tunnel deepening beyond the tops of my waders and eventually to the top of the tunnel in the distance.
So far, things were looking more positive and we proceeded a hundred yards or so downstream to find another recess, again on the right hand side.

A quick look revealed a drop shaft into the 7ft diameter Southern Low Level Sewer #2 running silently and deep, below us. It’s the big silent flowing sewers that I find a little disconcerting whilst the roaring torrents don’t really bother me.
After snapping a quick photo, I was glad to have stepped back from the abyss into the main tunnel again.


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A short way further on, the tunnel started to begin a noticeable downwards trajectory and it wasn’t long until our journey reached its end as the water level continued to deepen. Although we couldn’t see it, the level would reach the top of the tunnel further downstream.

Judging by a couple of other reports from 12 years ago, it was possible to go the final half a mile or so to reach the end of this drain where there is a huge waterfall. It would appear that those days are long gone. Those that I have spoken to that have explored this place in the last few years have reported that the final stretch is always submerged.

Still, it was great to have finally seen the rest of the system from its upper reaches in West Norwood and Dulwich.

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Thanks to tallginge for the great company and lighting assistance :)

























 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Not done any draining for a while. But seeing a superb report like that makes me want to get the waders back on.
 

pastybarm

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
What is that RCP for, street runoff, or a sewer, anyone know? Is crossrail being built anywhere nearby?
 

TheVicar

Loyal to the Drain
Regular User
Not done any draining for a while. But seeing a superb report like that makes me want to get the waders back on.
Thanks! Fish out those waders, you won't regret it :D

That's awesome. Always enjoy a drain report from you. Nicely done as per
Cheers, that's nice to hear. :thumb

So I started off marvelling at the workmanship of the brick junctions, then this happened..
Yes quite. A disgraceful effort that the perpetrator should be ashamed of.
 

pastybarm

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Yes quite. A disgraceful effort that the perpetrator should be ashamed of.
Agreed, I wonder who the perpetrator in question could be?
 
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TheVicar

Loyal to the Drain
Regular User
Agreed, I wonder who the perpetrator in question could be?
I'm sure we'll never know. Hopefully they won't get to cause such vandalism again.

nice stuff, loving our capital's brickwork.
The brickwork below London never fails to impress me.

Good stuff, 2011 I first ventured down there. I'm still working on a little something which includes this lot, just loads of walking between the various interactions makes Rubix a bit of a pain :thumb
I know that you and Tallginge have been checking out a lot of stuff that interacts with this SR Ojay, look forward to seeing the end result in due course!
 

tallginge

more tall than ginger tho.....
Regular User
Thanks to tallginge for the great company and lighting assistance :)
Yer welcome - twas a pleasure as always - nice to see new stuff innit but also a pleasure to revisit things - makes you remember how good the workmanship (usually) is and you've captured it well :thumb Thankyou for carrying out first aid on me when needed - the gel stung like fuck though. Stooping up 4ft pipe can go wrong. My t-shirt was ruined after i caught the back of my shoulder on a lil stally and drew blood! No slime so i'll be rate i'm sure :rolleyes:

We marched on down the SR and this abomination came into sight!
I'm not proud to admit it but I have seen worse, though not in London. The concreting is so bad it may as well have been put in with a slingshot. Quite how a contractor or anyone for that matter can walk away from carrying out such an appalling piece of work in stark contrast to the quality around it is beyond me. Maybe they'd seen a weather report that morning and didn't think the likes of us would pick them up on it years later :D

where there is a huge waterfall. It would appear that those days are long gone
Bring on the croc - you can have the flamingo! We might not get to see much of a reverse waterfall but we'll probably float over the top of it into the Thames anyway. Seriously though why doesn't that drain away any more? Anybody? Tideway shit or just the latter blocking something.

Lastly, we were discussing this but who called it rubix and why? The fleet has more colours :coat
 

pastybarm

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Maybe they'd seen a weather report that morning and didn't think the likes of us would pick them up on it years later :D
You have hit the nail on the head. It is a place they do not expect the great unwashed above to go poking around, so it is a case of out of sight, out of mind, job done, get out. It is a terrible looking job, but I suspect the person/s responsible for the work, probably would not have given a s**t how it looked, sadly.
 

TheVicar

Loyal to the Drain
Regular User
Bring on the croc - you can have the flamingo! We might not get to see much of a reverse waterfall but we'll probably float over the top of it into the Thames anyway. Seriously though why doesn't that drain away any more? Anybody? Tideway shit or just the latter blocking something.

Lastly, we were discussing this but who called it rubix and why? The fleet has more colours :coat
Somehow I don't think we will get to see that waterfall unfortunately.
How are the Croc and Flamingo by the way, the last time I saw them they were a bit petrol soaked. Did they survive?
 

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