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Infilnews 12, March 2002

TOP STORY: Urban Explorer Caught Living in Chicago Subway
Chicago urban explorer "Derailer", also known as "Jeremy" and "Dr. Chaos", was unmasked last week as Wisconsin man Joseph Daniel Konopka -- and arrested for living in Chicago Transit Authority subway tunnels with more than his fair share of cyanide. Konopka, already wanted on an outstanding warrant in Wisconsin for acts of damage to several public utilities, was arrested with a 15-year-old boy on March 9 for breaking into tunnels underneath a building at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In his possession was a vial of cyanide, which the teenager told authorities Konopka had more of in his underground dwelling. Konopka's hideout, one of several disused closets and utility rooms along the CTA's Blue Line on which he had replaced the locks, was found to contain a stash of cyanide and other dangerous chemicals. Whether or not Konopka intended to use the chemicals maliciously remains unknown. He told authorities, "I don't know why I took it, I just took it."
        Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley responded to the security threat last week by assuring citizens that steps would be taken to tighten the subway system. He plans to have the system combed for "these little places they built 70, 80, 90 years ago... why do you need them?". While taggers and other transit trespassers have traditionally gotten off easily in Chicago, those days are over. Police Commander Ed Gross of the CTA patrol unit said beginning immediately, anyone caught trespassing in the subway system will be arrested and given a complete background check.
        Chicago Urban Exploration, a private club of urban adventurers with whom Konopka had explored once or twice, was contacted by the FBI as part of the investigation. The club has cooperated with the CTA's requests to remove all "unauthorized photographs" from their website.

London Plans to Build Tall Building
The Sellar Property Group of London, England, has announced plans to construct Europe's tallest tower near London Bridge. The tower will stand at 1,365 feet tall and will be the world's fourth tallest building (after the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (1,483 feet), the Sears Tower in Chicago (1,450 feet) and the Jin Mao building in Shanghai(1,381 feet)). The tower, currently nicknamed the "London Bridge Tower", will include offices, apartments, a hotel, shops and restaurants. The tower's 87 storeys will be topped by a 325 foot telecommunications mast. Infilnews can only speculate as to whether or not this building will be as phenomenal a success as the Millennium Dome.

London's Sinking
As it turns out, it is a good idea that London is beginning to construct especially tall buildings, because the city itself is gradually sinking. Recent satellite findings indicate that an area of approximately 250 yards by 2 1/2 miles along the London Underground's Jubilee Line extension have sunk approximately an inch in the last five years. The tunnel is used both as part of the London subway line and as an electrical conduit.

Glasgow Tower also Sinking
In another sad tale of architectural folly, Scotland's pricey millennial milestone, the revolving tower at Glasgow's science centre, has been discovered to be sinking as well. The tower, a 360-foot peculiarity that revolves a full 360 degrees in the direction of the prevailing wind, appears to be off two of its bearings. The structure has been closed indefinitely while plans are made to actually jack up the tower and attempt to sort it out from underneath. The tower's architect, Richard Horden, claims no responsibility for the deficiency and insists his design "had been compromised". The tower has previously been plagued by other design flaws such as elevators too heavy for the structure to bear them.

Men Arrested for Lurking
Violating Minnesota's little-known law against "lurking", three Minneapolis men were arrested earlier this month while walking along a road. The men, who admitted they were looking for an entrance into the University of Minnesota steam tunnels, were arrested for "lurking with intent to commit a crime". One of the three men was cited for lurking and jailed on an outstanding warrant, while the other two were cited for lurking and released on their own recognaizance.

Man Infiltrates Garbage Chute
A Stockholm man had to be rescued by firefighters after infiltrating his apartment building's garbage chute earlier this month. The man, whose name is not known, was in pursuit of a favourite hand-knitted sweater that his wife had finally thrown out. Rather than contacting building maintenance, the man decided to retrieve the sweater himself by entering the building's garbage chute. "It was not difficult at all, because I am quite small," said the man, who nevertheless got stuck after sliding down the chute only one floor.

French Tunnels Ablaze
The same day France agreed to reopen the Mont Blanc Alpine Tunnel, in which a horrific 1999 tunnel fire killed 39 people, another blaze broke out in a motorway tunnel being built near Paris. The fire blew out of the tunnel's entrance, trapping workers for six hours in the thick smoke. All 19 workers inside survived by taking shelter in a 200-metre-long tunneling machine equipped with an airtight emergency chamber.
        The Mont Blanc tunnel, which links France and Italy, did reopen last week despite an unexplained explosion at its mouth a few hours prior to its reopening.

WEBRING NEWS: Web Ring Healthy and Happy
The Urban Exploration Webring is finally recovering from Yahoo's messy abandonment of the Webring system a few months ago. Everyone should be able to cycle through all 83 member sites without hitting any non-existent pages or broken webring links. New members and returning old members are welcome -- visit and click on "Join Now" to apply.

Call for Infilnews Submissions
As always, Infilnews welcomes and encourages your contributions. Please forward any articles of interest in the areas of exploration, construction, infrastructure, infiltration, and so forth, to

Call for Zine Submissions
Upcoming issues of Infiltration's print publication include the "Where are they now?" issue, which will take a look at past article subjects (e.g. Scottish Rail Tunnels, Toronto's Royal York Hotel, the Chicago freight tunnels) and examine what changes they have undergone. Anyone with who's got a story about anything that's been previously covered in Infiltration is enthusiastically encouraged to submit it for inclusion.         We also need submissions for our "Secret Societies" and "Churches" issues, so please step forward if you've got something.         Please send submissions to and/or

Print Zine
The latest issue (#17) of the print zine Infiltration, "Buildering", was released in December 2001. You can get one by sending $2 (US/CDN) cash to PO Box 13, Station E, Toronto, ON M6H 4E1, Canada.

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