So... you read our exhaustive report on the subject
of the CCUM Steam
Tunnels right? If you did, then you know that we spent tons of hours
searching for our way in.
Far from being failures, these trips (while mostly not yielding CCUM access)
were really fun, and we saw tons of off-limits places we might not otherwise
have seen. We plumbed the depths of Central Station, stalked the employee
corridors at Place Ville Marie, very nearly roofed the Queen Elizabeth
Hotel, and skulked around numerous parking lots and stairways.
But first, a little history. UEM had known about the CCUM tunnels for
quite some time before deciding to give exploring them a serious shot.
Since we only knew of one sealed entrance location, we decided to conduct
the search more or less systematically: this consisted of visiting all
the buildings on the CCUM map, and getting as deep into the basements
as we could.
Our first stop was 1000 de la Gauchetiere, one of the defining buildings of the Montreal
skyline. Though going upwards in the building is more or less impossible
(since the upper floors are all businesses, and well-secured by keycard
access elevators), going downstairs proved rather easy. An elevator ride
down to the parking lot was all the access we needed. Talking casually,
and ready to jangle our keys if necessary, we searched for our car, which
we vaguely remembered parking in a steam tunnel deep below the earth.
Walking down, we discovered that one of the parking levels was blocked
off. Hoping for a little privacy, we ducked under the yellow plastic tape,
dodged a cardboard cutout of a parking attendant telling us to stop, and
proceeded to search the parking garage by trying doors, peeking into air
vents, and generally acting suspicious. We didn't find any steam tunnels,
but the closed parking lot served to whet our appetites for more exploring
action later that day.
Our next visit was Central
Station, Montreal's VIA Rail hub. Taking an employee elevator down to
its lowest level, we were soon exploring a private parking lot/baggage
handling area. We checked out the shipping/receiving office, a few janitor
closets, and some other bland miscellany. Finally, we came across something
that renewed our enthusiasm, a green door (unfortunately locked) that
informed us that a CCUM distribution room lay below! Later, after we gained
access to the tunnels, we surmised this to be the location of "the mech
room", the only actual room we found in the whole CCUM system.
Central was actually quite an interesting location,
and we later devoted a fair amount of time to exploring it. We saw a multitude
of parking lots (including one on the roof of the station), some offices,
and even managed to sneak down to track level once or twice to check out
the Mount Royal Tunnel entrance, the trains in layup, and the emergency
exits which apparently are used often by janitorial staff leaving after
their shifts. Interesting as Central Station was, it wasn't very challenging,
as even employees who saw us in the baggage handling area and at track
level seemed content to ignore us. We returned the favour and were never
once aprehended or even approached while we explored the station.
Though Central had captivated us, we were still hot on the trail of the
CCUM. We knew the network also made its way over to Place Ville Marie,
so we made our way there with steam tunnels and lunch on our minds. After
a stop at the food court to refuel and rest our tired feet, we plunged
into the depths below into a well-surveilled parking lot. As usual, the
parking lot was mostly bereft of employees , and we were free to try doors,
follow pipes, and
wander around unharassed. Despite finding another locked door that seemed
to fit the profile, this trip failed to yield the steamy goodness we craved.
Luckily, we accessed some employee corridors that
distracted us for awhile. Though security is good (the storage rooms and
offices off the corridors were all locked), we did see some janitorial
storage and the controls for the sprinkler system. However, while making
our way out, a janitor suddenly emerged from on of the rooms and started
walking towards us. We played it cool, made eye contact, and acknowledged
him by nodding. He nodded back and greeted us with a "Salut." (Hi.) Tux
replied as we passed by calling out "Bonne soiree!" (Have a good night!)
over his shoulder. Thus, having hopefully convinced the janitor
that we were regular
joes workin' for The Man, we made our escape and headed straight over
to the Queen Elizabeth hotel to see what we could see.
As a group, we don't generally explore staffed areas unless we've got
a really good cover story or a secret way in. For our visit to the Queen
Elizabeth hotel we had neither, but we were emboldened by Ninjalicious'
apparently easy-as-pie exploration
of the Royal York hotel. We expected a cakewalk, and for the first
part, we got it: we simply...
|Took an elevator as high as we could
||Climbed still higher on a set|
of emergency stairs
|...and saw the roof. The |
door was locked though.
After the roof fiasco, we decided to check out the basement. Unfortunately,
back on the main floor, it seemed as if we had chosen precisely the wrong
time to visit, as there was some kind of convention going on,
and far from having his hands full with ornery convention-goers, the concierge
was highly alert and spotted us as soon as we made for an interesting
door. He asked us if he could help us, and we confided that we were looking
for the exit. He turned up his nose in obvious distaste and pointed us towards
the lobby, which was in plain view.
That was that for the Queen E.
Leaving the hotel, all of us were pretty tired after walking so much and
climbing so many stairs, so we finally called it a day and made our separate
ways home. We eventually did find the CCUM tunnel entrance, obviously, but
we won't reveal it here; we'll leave finding that little gem up to
you, fellow explorers.
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