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lalyil
05-23-2013, 11:13 AM
Hi guys,

I was wondering, what's deeper - an Underground/Subway/Metro train system, or the sewers? Also, how could one get into an Underground system without going into a station? (say, the stations are all blocked, what would lead him to the rails anyway).

Thanks :)

mirandashell
05-23-2013, 02:02 PM
Don't they have maintenance shafts in the streets above?

waylander
05-23-2013, 02:40 PM
In the London underground system it depends on which line you are talking about. Some of the lines (Circle, District and Metropolitan) were constructed by 'cut and cover' and are just below the surface. Others( Northern, Jubilee) are much deeper and probably below most of the sewers. What do you require for your story?

I believe there are ventilation shafts to most lines that lead down from street level.

Kenn
05-23-2013, 02:58 PM
In relation to depth, it depends. Some 'underground' lines are, in fact, not below ground at all. As for the truly deep ones, then they are usually far lower than the sewers. One reason for this is so that they can cross rivers - there wouldn't be much point in having a sewer system below the water table, because it would just fill up!

Helix
05-23-2013, 03:01 PM
Some of the Tube lines run along the surface in places, so it'd be a matter of scaling a wall or dropping from a bridge and then minding the lines. (I'm basing this on a memory of living next to Bow Road station in my youth, which was a long time ago.)

Google Maps might be useful for getting a feel for this.

lalyil
05-23-2013, 03:21 PM
Thanks guys. Reason I'm asking is cos my WIP is sort of, post apocalyptic. And I'm writing about a group of people living in the abandoned, blocked underground system (but they are able to go overground) - hence why I'm gonna have to find a way for people to get to the ventilation shafts now :) I want to try and think of a creative place to place a shaft like that.

Helix, I lived by Bow Road station too but only for a few months a couple of years ago :)

Helix
05-23-2013, 03:35 PM
Helix, I lived by Bow Road station too but only for a few months a couple of years ago :)

:) There you go! I was on the east side of the station. I don't suppose the houses are still there now. I do recall that there was a footbridge over the tracks, which could provide an access point.

At least in a post-apocalyptic world they won't have to worry about the shiny rail.

Weren't there additional deep level stations with separate access that were used during WWII. Or have I confused that with an early episode of 'Doctor Who'?

waylander
05-23-2013, 03:37 PM
Weren't there additional deep level stations with separate access that were used during WWII. Or have I confused that with an early episode of 'Doctor Who'?

Indeed yes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_deep-level_shelters
http://underground-history.co.uk/shelters.php

lalyil
05-23-2013, 03:50 PM
:) There you go! I was on the east side of the station. I don't suppose the houses are still there now. I do recall that there was a footbridge over the tracks, which could provide an access point.

At least in a post-apocalyptic world they won't have to worry about the shiny rail.

Weren't there additional deep level stations with separate access that were used during WWII. Or have I confused that with an early episode of 'Doctor Who'?

Ooh I know what you mean. Actually, I could have my characters following overground tracks til they reach the tunnel that goes underground I suppose..



Indeed yes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_deep-level_shelters
http://underground-history.co.uk/shelters.php

And yes, I remember that from the film Atonement actually, that's where the idea of my characters hiding underground came from.

jclarkdawe
05-23-2013, 05:03 PM
One important thing to remember is how each system is designed.

A sewer system is designed to automatically empty itself of water. Water flows in from the high point, and empties at the low point. Although there are exceptions, sewer systems do not usually require pumping.

A transit system is designed to move people or material. Getting rid of water is accomplished with pumps, and is an accepted cost to the system. For example, deep tunnels under rivers have no place for water to go without pumping. You might want to look at pictures of the NYC subway after Superstorm Sandy.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Sarpedon
05-23-2013, 05:28 PM
It depends on the city. Sewers are relatively close to the surface, the key being that they can't be lower than whatever body of water they flow into, or else they would back up.

Subways can be at virtually any depth. In St Petersburg, Russia, the subways are very deep indeed, a full 70 meters below the surface in some places. They double as fallout shelters. You have to spend some time on the escalator before getting on your train.

Steve Collins
05-23-2013, 07:54 PM
Try Google Earth, home in on the station and you may see something close by that fits your needs.

lalyil
05-23-2013, 08:56 PM
One important thing to remember is how each system is designed.

A sewer system is designed to automatically empty itself of water. Water flows in from the high point, and empties at the low point. Although there are exceptions, sewer systems do not usually require pumping.

A transit system is designed to move people or material. Getting rid of water is accomplished with pumps, and is an accepted cost to the system. For example, deep tunnels under rivers have no place for water to go without pumping. You might want to look at pictures of the NYC subway after Superstorm Sandy.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Wow, that's a great point, thank you Jim. I do wonder if I could use such pumps to my advantage/as an entry point.



It depends on the city. Sewers are relatively close to the surface, the key being that they can't be lower than whatever body of water they flow into, or else they would back up.

Subways can be at virtually any depth. In St Petersburg, Russia, the subways are very deep indeed, a full 70 meters below the surface in some places. They double as fallout shelters. You have to spend some time on the escalator before getting on your train.

Another great point, thanks a lot :)
I'm guessing I should go with the depth that goes best with my story since I'm not mentioning a specific, existing location.



Try Google Earth, home in on the station and you may see something close by that fits your needs.

Good idea, I'll check it out. Thanks.

Muppster
05-23-2013, 09:54 PM
Try this (http://www.subbrit.org.uk/), there are many other underground places I can think of in/near London. Chislehurst Caves, for one, and Regional Seats of Government (Kelvden "secret" nuclear bunker) that have been sold off by the MOD.

Bing Z
05-24-2013, 12:25 AM
Take a look at this pic (http://www.myspace.com/marilynmonroe01/photos/6057792#mssrc=SitesPhotos_PP_ViewPhoto), which best illustrates how NYC subway air vents work. In the pic, plastic bags are blown upward by air from below--the subway tunnels. In winter these vents are nice spots for waiting for friends or having a smoke because the air coming up is warm. You can hear the trains rumbling through underneath when you're standing near these vents. Thus I think it's not that deep below (depends on which line). You can google "NYC subway air vent" for more photos including how workers cover them up in preparation for superstorm Sandy.

No clue about sewage.

Dave Hardy
05-25-2013, 05:31 AM
The Prague Metro actually runs across a bridge at one point. The C Line runs over the Nusle Bridge before going back under ground.

lalyil
05-25-2013, 08:44 PM
Thanks guys :D

Just one last question -

The Metro/Subway/Underground ventilation shafts or pumps... could they be under buildings as well? For example, under the basement of a building? or are all such shafts lead to the street?

jclarkdawe
05-25-2013, 09:31 PM
The pump itself will be located where the water pools. Pushing water is a lot easier then sucking water, and sucking water is only good for maybe 20 - 30 feet of rise. But you don't want to do it, as the pump will lose its prime during dry weather. Therefore the pump goes into the water.

Ventilation shafts are for air movement so are nearly always located where good air movement is possible, i.e., outside. They're usually located in the sidewalks next to buildings. However, with buildings that cover an extensive footprint (Such as the Prudential in Boston, MA) there can be ventilation shafts in the basement area (which might be a parking lot) of a building.

Emergency access doors can be located in buildings, especially if the building is owned by the government. The issue involved in placing them in buildings involves rental and access. If you can't control the building, you can have problems.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

lalyil
05-25-2013, 09:38 PM
The pump itself will be located where the water pools. Pushing water is a lot easier then sucking water, and sucking water is only good for maybe 20 - 30 feet of rise. But you don't want to do it, as the pump will lose its prime during dry weather. Therefore the pump goes into the water.

Ventilation shafts are for air movement so are nearly always located where good air movement is possible, i.e., outside. They're usually located in the sidewalks next to buildings. However, with buildings that cover an extensive footprint (Such as the Prudential in Boston, MA) there can be ventilation shafts in the basement area (which might be a parking lot) of a building.

Emergency access doors can be located in buildings, especially if the building is owned by the government. The issue involved in placing them in buildings involves rental and access. If you can't control the building, you can have problems.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Thank you very much again, Jim. I can not express how much you've just helped me.

Debbie V
05-28-2013, 10:30 PM
Gas lines, water mains, electric lines, sewage systems, and subways all run under NYC and all ned maintenance tunnels or manholes to facilitate repair. Depending on the break down of infrastructure in your WIP, all may be accessible along with older unused tunnels. Shoot, some parts of the city even have roads going under them.

I recall something about a book depicting the city's underground infrastructure in layers - might have been a picture book.

Consider climate as you choose what to use. Water and temperature will have play in the ability to get in and out. Lots of movies and books depict underground worlds in modern cities, at least partially. The most recent Spiderman is one. The latest James Bond was underground for a bit too.

lalyil
05-28-2013, 11:38 PM
Gas lines, water mains, electric lines, sewage systems, and subways all run under NYC and all ned maintenance tunnels or manholes to facilitate repair. Depending on the break down of infrastructure in your WIP, all may be accessible along with older unused tunnels. Shoot, some parts of the city even have roads going under them.

I recall something about a book depicting the city's underground infrastructure in layers - might have been a picture book.

Consider climate as you choose what to use. Water and temperature will have play in the ability to get in and out. Lots of movies and books depict underground worlds in modern cities, at least partially. The most recent Spiderman is one. The latest James Bond was underground for a bit too.

I believe you mean Batman :) with the sewers.

I think to answer my requirements, it'll have to be either the sewers or the underground, and I think the latter would work better in my case.

Thank you though I will look for that book :D

cornflake
05-28-2013, 11:49 PM
It not only depends on the city and etc., but, as someone mentioned way above, which line. When you're talking about cities like NY, London, Paris, Moscow, the train systems go back so long that there are all different types of construction involved. There are the oldest lines - in some cities running around 150 years old at this point I believe - and then newer. New York is currently digging an entirely new line. The way the stuff is built up will vary on when it was put in. Sewers can be expanded or rerouted with population growth as are transit systems.

Some lines are way farther underground, some above entirely in spots, etc., etc.

During Sandy, the stations that flooded were at the very lower tip of the island, where the water table is held back by big bathtub walls. Uptown, where that's not the case, the trains flood because the grates on the sidewalks above let rain onto the tracks and the electricty gets messed with - but that happens on the regular in lots of big nor'easter rainstorms and it's not any big deal. That's not about the stations at all.

WriteKnight
05-31-2013, 12:51 AM
Nice one hour doc on the London Underground - celebrating 150th birthday. Good backstory and history.

http://youtu.be/IA6TuvYCA80

Trebor1415
05-31-2013, 03:11 PM
Just remember that systems that need pumps to keep out water regularly or pump out water after a flood will be flooded if the pumps have been out for years. No power - No pumps - subways full of water.

lalyil
05-31-2013, 06:19 PM
Thanks guys.

Trebor, o man. That's a good point I did not think about. Looks like I'll have to move to the sewers then rather than the subways.

Debbie V
06-03-2013, 07:48 PM
I believe you mean Batman :) with the sewers.



The Spiderman reboot (2012) had the Lizard taking refuge underground.

I missed the last Batman.