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Location DB > United States > Missouri > St. Louis > Mole Tunnel and Abandoned Right of Way > ohten's expedition

Story Info
Mon, Jan 15th, 2007
posted by oh-ten
ohten's expedition

Having known about this location for a long time I resolved to visit it on a recent holiday. I dragged myself out of bed as close to dawn as I could and hopped on the metro. Downtown was nearly deserted as I negotiated the disastrous spaghetti of 71 off-ramps on foot and headed up broadway. When I was about 2 blocks from the location I pulled up my hood. To any passerby I probably looked homeless in my shapeless parka, hooded sweatshirt, and shitty cargo pants. I was alone so I brought along my 4d maglight (or crackhead-basher as captainOrbit recently called it). Feeling the need for a reasonably crappy camera in case I got jumped I had brought along my 20 year-old slr as I was out of the rare batteries that my even older rangefinder needed.


Heading in

Remembering the code of the samurai "When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed" I adjusted by bag and plunged down the gully under the crumbling overhead parabolics. The first section of the tunnel was uneventful; a few puddles, some loose gravel. I had seen obvious signs of inhabitation by the approach where a strange hole led to some former utility room. As I got deeper to an area where sunlight streamed down from high on the left side I started smelling the garbage fire smoke that accentuated the sunbeams so well. I didn't see the people until I was almost past them. They were encamped high up on the right bank in a niche apparently cooking breakfast. They shouted down some equivalent of "what's up" and figuring it was best to keep moving I quickly wished them happy holidays and moved on.

Open Gallery

After this section the tunnel became dark again and was lit by one or two sodium vapor security lights on the underground loading dock of an office building. I saw a guy sitting by the dock but we both pretended not to notice each other and I continued on.

After this point the tunnel continued straight but also formed a sort of doughnut around the loading dock of another office building. A derelict semi trailer sat next to the dock but was surprisingly devoid of inhabitation. Off to the left the tunnel was brightly lit as it was about 36' beneath grates in a public plaza. Seeing the stationary shadows of what looked to be cops on the grates I stayed out of view as I circled around.

Shadows

Some sort of spur led further off to the left, but seemed in full view from the grates so I went right instead. The back wall here must have divided off the basement that formerly served as the station as it seemed a hastily thrown up partition of drywall on metal studs. There was one hole for a ventilation fan, but it was too far up on the wall for me to see in.

I continued up the main tunnel to find that it got narrower and effectively terminated with another earthen bank along the side wall of the building about 150' further back in the darkness. I decided to head back out. I paused to examine a weird empty cage of fence with razor wire on top and signs proclaiming that motion alarms would be activated in the building above. I have since found out that there used to be a switching locomotive in the cage until recently, but I was too late to see it. I had made it almost to the front of the first loading dock when I saw a group of 3 guys walking towards me. With nowhere really to go I resolved myself, gripped the maglight in my bag and continued to walk straight towards them. We met in the dark portion by the loading dock, the orange light eerily lighting our faces. One of the guys slapped me on the shoulder and... wished me happy holidays. His companion let me know that if I was interested there was a holiday dinner at a food pantry on locust. Somewhat amazed and thankful I wished them happy holidays, shook their hands, and walked back into daylight.

Exit

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