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"Why are we in your secret prison?"
"It's not a prison. It's a Tesla conductor tube that dampens meta-powers. Okay, it's a prison."
Oliver Queen and Barry Allen[src]

The S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, nicknamed The Pipeline, is a device that was created by S.T.A.R. Labs. Following its destruction, it was eventually used as a prison to house numerous meta-humans that it had created. Eobard Thawne also used it as a backup hideout.


Original timeline[]

Harrison Wells and Tess Morgan successfully launched the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator in 2020. It didn't explode like the current timeline, but is implied to be the cause of Barry Allen getting struck by lightning and becoming the Flash in Thawne's original timeline.[1]

The Explosion[]


The particle accelerator's explosion, sending a shock-wave in to the clouds and through the city.

On the night of December 11, 2013[2](or January 7, 2014[3]), the particle accelerator was activated by S.T.A.R. Labs to power all of Central City with clean energy,[citation needed] and to further the advancement of the science and medicine; however, when they turned it on, something went horribly wrong, and the particle accelerator exploded, sending a huge shock-wave of dark matter into the clouds and throughout the entire city. It also created a lightning storm above the Central City Police Department, electrocuting Barry Allen and sending him into a coma. This incident caused him to gain the ability of super speed. The incident also supposedly caused the deaths of seventeen people and injured countless others.[4] According to Clifford DeVoe, 2,600 people developed the meta gene as a result[3]. By coincidence, the "mistake" that "Wells" made on Earth-1 was the same mistake the Earth-2 Wells made on his accelerator.[5]

Becoming the makeshift prison

Team Flash re-evaluating the particle accelerator, repurposing it into a makeshift prison.

Re-purposing the accelerator[]

Eventually, after Barry Allen's team concluded that they couldn't keep killing meta-humans, they realized that the cavities in the particle accelerator's core chamber could contain the meta-humans' powers, and converted it into a makeshift meta-human prison. Each cavity uses a 8.3 tesla superconducting electromagnet on its barrier which makes the seal 100,000 times stronger than Earth's magnetic field, which means that it can hold meta-humans with super strength, although a Time Wraith was shown to be strong enough to nearly shatter the glass door of one of the cells.[6][7] In addition, approximately five years later, Mitch Romero, a meta-human whose strength grew every time he put more dark matter into his system, managed to load his body with so much dark matter that he became strong enough to knock the door of a cell in the pipeline out of place, enabling him to literally break out of the prison.[8]

The Pipeline[]

The Pipeline entrance

The Pipeline's entrance.

"I kind of have a rapport with meta-humans."
"You throw them in your pipeline prison."
Barry Allen and Oliver Queen[src]

After The Flash defeated Kyle Nimbus, he was imprisoned in the Pipeline and became its first inmate.


Tony Woodward was imprisoned after being defeated by Barry as well.[9] He was released by Dr. Wells shortly after his initial imprisonment to combat Farooq Gibran when he broke into S.T.A.R. Labs to find Wells. Gibran killed Woodward, but after Gibran himself was killed, his corpse was put into a cell, where Wells extracted some of his blood to find out how he took Barry's powers.[10]

After making his presence known in Central City, Roy Bivolo was defeated by the combined forces of the Flash and the Arrow and imprisoned in the Pipeline as well.[11]

Hartley Rathaway was briefly imprisoned here before breaking out.[12] To make up for allowing Hartley to escape, Cisco specially modified Shawna Baez's cell with mirrored glass to prevent her from teleporting out of it.[13] However, after Barry changed the timeline, Hartley never escaped the Pipeline, and instead became an ally to Team Flash after Caitlin and Cisco hid inside his cell to prevent a Time Wraith from getting to them.[7]

After he traveled back in time to stop Mark Mardon's tidal wave from destroying Central City, Barry used his knowledge of future events to find Mardon and imprison him in the Pipeline before he could do any real damage.[14]

Jake Simmons was incarcerated here after his defeat by the Atom.[2]

After impersonating many people and causing terror in Central City, Hannibal Bates was defeated by Barry and imprisoned in the Pipeline.[15] However, he was freed by Eobard in exchange for impersonating him in order to set up Barry Allen's team, knowing he'd be killed. Following his kidnapping of Eddie Thawne, Eobard took him to a secret lair he'd set up underneath the Pipeline.[16]

Eobard later had Grodd release a mind-controlled Wade Eiling on Central City. After Barry defeated him, the general went into a vegetative state and was locked up in the particle accelerator. However, after Grodd was defeated, the team released Eiling. That evening, Eobard left his lair underneath the accelerator and entered the Pipeline, turning it on with the "key" he had created in his lair.[17]

Eobard's future power source

Cisco finding Eobard's "future power source" within the Pipeline, unable to analyze how to safely turn it off, due to its futuristic nature.


The team soon realized that Eobard had slowly been rebuilding the Pipeline and hiding underneath it. He left his hideout, freeing Peek-a-Boo from her cell as he did so. The team managed to recapture Shawna and after they put her back in her cell, they also found Eddie. When they took him back up to the Cortex, they realized that Eobard was going to turn on the Pipeline again.[18]

Barry Allen's team monitoring meta-humans in their cells

Barry's team monitoring meta-humans in their cells.

The team debated what to do with the imprisoned metas, as Barry didn't want to let them die when the Pipeline was reactivated. They decided to move the metas to Lian Yu and bring them to Ferris Air in a truck modified to block out their powers. Barry negotiated with Leonard Snart and his sister Lisa Snart to provide protection, and the two agreed. The team sedated the metas by spraying knockout gas into their cells, and placed them in a Ramon Shipping truck.[18]

The metas awoke and began squabbling, with Mark Mardon in particular picking a fight with Kyle Nimbus. However the Snarts sabotaged the truck, and the metas escaped, with Mardon striking down the plane meant to take the metas to Lian Yu with a lightning bolt. In the ensuing battle, the metas battled with The Flash and his team; Simmons was seemingly killed when being shot by Leonard's Cold gun, Nimbus and Shawna fled the scene, while Leonard recruited Mardon and Bivolo to the Rogues.[18]

That evening, Eobard returned to S.T.A.R. Labs, but was "defeated" by the combined efforts of Barry, the Arrow, and Firestorm, and placed in a cell in the Pipeline, all only because he let himself lose because he wanted back into the Pipeline.[18]

Eobard was placed inside the Pipeline. Barry often visited Eobard to get answers about his mother's death, and Eobard told him that he could go back in time to save his mother. Eobard explained that his plan required using the particle accelerator, explaining that Barry would have to run at Mach-2 speed through the accelerator and collide with a hydrogen particle. Doing so would allow Barry to travel back in time and create a wormhole through which Eobard could return to his own time. Cisco later visited Eobard in his cell, and Eobard explained to him that he was a meta. Eventually, the plan came to fruition and Barry ran at the speed required, making the jump and opening the wormhole. Eobard attempted to return to his own time in the Time Sphere, but a strange helmet came through the portal, followed by Barry, who destroyed the Sphere. Barry and Eobard fought, but Eddie Thawne shot himself and died, also erasing Eobard from existence. The portal closed but then re-emerged above Central City, although Team Flash managed to close it, thanks to the combined efforts of Barry and Firestorm.[19]

Reuse as a prison[]

After Iron Heights Prison opened a meta-human wing, Team Flash no longer used the accelerator as a prison. However, after Barry and Firestorm defeated Henry Hewitt he was incarcerated in the Pipeline until he agreed to keep quiet about what he'd seen and done.[20]

Following Barry's defeat of Dr. Light, she was incarcerated in the Pipeline to be used as bait to lure Zoom to Earth-2.[5] However, Dr. Light subsequently made herself invisible and escaped the Pipeline, likely due to fear for her own safety from Zoom.[21]

Russell Glosson was defeated by the Flash and was incarcerated in the Pipeline so that the team could use his powers to potentially find a way to slow down and stop Zoom. Afterwards, however, Harry Wells injected Glosson with a drill-like device to obtain a sample of his brain tissue, killing him.[22]

When a younger version of the Reverse-Flash arrived in 2016, Barry managed to overpower him and imprison him in the Pipeline. While imprisoned, Barry learns why Eobard hates him so much enough to kill his mother, and Cisco gloats that his powers were what led to his imprisonment. However, Eobard's capture resulted in a rupture in the timeline that threatened to kill Cisco, so the team was forced to help Reverse-Flash return to the future. Both speedsters raced around the Pipeline in parallel until a wormhole opened up for Eobard to pass through.[23]

After the team found out that Harry was secretly working to steal Barry's speed for Zoom, Joe West angrily threw him into a cell to prevent himself from killing Harry. However, the team decided to release him and head to Earth-2 to rescue his daughter, Jesse.[24]

When Trajectory raided S.T.A.R. Labs to obtain more Velocity 9, she threw Barry into a cell to prevent him from interfering with her plans. Once she obtained the drug and escaped, Cisco released Barry to chase her.[25]

Following the revelation of Zoom's identity, Barry decides to travel back in time to his first encounter with Hartley Rathaway to get Eobard Thawne to teach him to get faster, and raced around the Pipeline until he created a wormhole. However, his objective became complicated when he arrived earlier than expected and a Time Wraith pursued him. After acquiring what he needed from Thawne, Barry raced around the Pipeline to return to his time, but the Time Wraith attempted to catch him. Thankfully, his younger self is able to stall the Wraith long enough for future Barry to escape.[7]

Second particle accelerator explosion[]

After Barry surrendered his speed to Zoom, Harry suggested creating another particle accelerator explosion to restore his speed.[26] Having studied Eobard's data from the first explosion, Harry was confident that he could contain the dark matter explosion to S.T.A.R. Labs. Though hesitant, Barry only consented when Zoom began a reign of terror on Earth-1. Recreating the circumstances, Harry injected Barry with the chemicals from his (Barry's) lab, while Cisco used the Wizard's Wand to create a lightning storm. When Barry was struck by the lightning bolt, he was transported into the Speed Force, while the dark matter flooded through the hallways of the building, hitting Jesse Wells and Wally West, who had left the protection of the Time Vault.[27]

Another prison[]

After the team were able to stop Zoom's meta-human army, a few of the meta-humans were taken to the Pipeline rather than sent to Iron Heights; as one of these prisoners was Laurel Lance/Black Siren, the double of the team's late ally Laurel Lance/Black Canary, it is likely that the other prisoners confined in this manner were also those who had counterparts on Earth-1.[28]

Post-Flashpoint timeline[]

In 2016, the Pipeline was used by Barry to help train Jesse Wells in the use of her powers. While performing a leap, Jesse accidentally tripped as her foot hit the catwalk and tumbled uncontrollably before getting her feet back on solid ground, and exited the Pipeline.

As part of his quest to seek revenge against Oliver Queen and the rest of Team Arrow, the villain known as Prometheus broke into S.T.A.R. Labs and freed Black Siren from her cell without anyone noticing.[29]

When new meta-human Becky Sharpe used her power of quantum manipulation to give herself good luck while causing an escalating amount of bad luck to those around her, the escalating bad luck reached such heights that the particle accelerator briefly reactivated. However, the field it generated made contact with and canceled out Becky's quantum manipulation field, as the charge released from a hydrogen-electron collision neutralized the field long enough for the team to take her into custody.[30]

When Nazis attacked Barry and Iris's wedding, Team Flash and their allies who'd attended the ceremony fought back, forcing the Nazis to briefly retreat, while managing to take one of their number captive, locking him in the pipeline. Once inside one of the cells, this individual, who wore a suit similar to one worn by someone Team Arrow'd previously encountered, removed his mask. They found that he appeared to be a dead friend of Oliver's; Tommy Merlyn; but soon learned that he was the doppelgänger of Oliver's friend from an alternate Earth where the Nazis had won World War II. After Oliver spoke to him briefly, Earth-X Tommy killed himself.[31]

After a strange lightning storm struck, (appearing and disappearing all in a few minutes) Nora, Iris, and Barry went to Iron Heights to ensure that Mark Mardon/Weather Wizard was still in prison where he should be. It turned out that the lightning storm had disabled the meta-dampeners in Iron Heights, although the prison staff were able to get all the meta-human inmates into power-dampening cuffs without problems. However, a woman named Joslyn Jackam, who appeared to have weather-powers like Mark's appeared, saying that she was there for Mardon, and that he was her father. Barry then changed into his Flash suit, sped Weather Wizard to S.T.A.R. Labs and put him in the pipeline. After Joslyn Jackam was defeated and taken into custody, Mark was locked in Iron Heights again. At the same time, Team Flash stored meta-tech like Joslyn's staff in the Pipeline until they could figure out how to remove the dark matter shards.[32] It's likely that other villains' equipment has also been stored in the pipeline.[32]

When an encounter with a criminal wielding meta-tech caused Barry to begin phasing uncontrollably, Nora was able to counter-phase him long enough to get him back to S.T.A.R. Labs. When they asked the rest of the team what they should do, Cisco suggested to position Barry in a certain spot on the floor, and then have Nora let go of him, causing him to phase down into one of the pipeline, where his powers would be negated by the cell's power dampeners until they figured out why this was happening to him, and how they could make it stop. He was later released.[33]

While hunting Cicada, Team Flash breached a meta-human criminal that the serial killer was targeting into the pipeline; both for his own safety and as a means to contain him.[34]

When Nora tried to tell Team Flash that she'd secretly been working with Eobard Thawne to stop Cicada, Harrison Sherloque Wells cut in and informed them of what she'd been doing. Feeling that she'd betrayed them, Barry locked her in the pipeline.[35] A short time later, after Team Flash had gone through Nora's journal to find out more about how she'd come to work with Reverse-Flash, Iris let her out, wanting to give Nora a chance to explain things for herself.[36]

Rewritten reality[]

After Mar Novu/The Monitor entrusted the Book of Destiny to John Deegan, allowing Deegan to use it to alter reality as the latter wished, causing Barry Allen|Barry Allen/The Flash and Oliver Queen/Green Arrow to switch lives (with them being the only ones who knew things had changed), when Team Flash refused to believe them, they cuffed the duo and stuck them in a cell in the Pipeline together while the group tried to figure out what was going on with them, believing them to be crazy. Ultimately, "Oliver" (Barry) suggested the two of them go to Earth-38 to find out if Kara could still tell that Barry was Barry, and Oliver was Oliver. "Barry" (Oliver) then began complaining that the cells in the Pipeline lacked toilets, with "Oliver" (Barry) revealing one hidden inside the wall of the cell. "Barry" (Oliver) then walked "Oliver" (Barry) through how to take his thumb out of its socket to get his hand free of the cuffs in order to back up the pipes and disable the cell's meta-dampeners. "Barry" (Oliver) was then able to phase them both out of the cell. After that, they persuaded Iris to let them use an interdimensional extrapolator to go to Earth-38 to talk to Kara.[37]

In another alternate reality created by the Book of Destiny, Kara was locked in the pipeline and Alex's Earth-1 counterpart was tasked with "looking after" her. Alex took some convincing, but ultimately, Kara persuaded Earth-1 Alex to let her out. They then locked John Diggle and Killer Frost, who were henchmen of Superman in this reality, in the pipeline.[38] There were a few brief frames where the exterior showed a Nazi symbol, but were quickly rewritten by the Book of Destiny to fix reality.


S.T.A.R. Labs hit by antimatter.

Some time later, when Barry used a neural hyper-collider, the accelerator, along with the main complex, was seen to be hit by antimatter in a possible future of the Anti-Monitor Crisis.[39]

Known victims of particle accelerator's first explosion[]

Known victims of the particle accelerator's second explosion[]

Known inmates[]

Current inmates[]

Former inmates[]

Deceased inmates[]

Non-canon inmates[]



Season 2

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The Flash[]

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Season 1[]

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Season 4[]

Chronicles of Cisco[]

DC's Legends of Tomorrow[]

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The Flash: Season Zero[]


The Chronicles of Cisco[]


  • The accelerator shown is a cyclotron.
  • Although it is canon that the accelerator exploded on December 11, 2013,[2][41] other accounts (such as that of Clifford DeVoe) place that date around January 7, 2014.[3] This is most likely a continuity error rather than the result of the timeline alterations caused by Flashpoint, as the date of the accelerator's activation was written out as December 11, 2013 in the Season 5 episode, "What's Past is Prologue", which also takes place in the post-Flashpoint timeline.
    • December 11, 2013 is the original air-date of the episode "Three Ghosts", where the explosion was first shown.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The entrance to the particle accelerator's core chamber is marked as Entrance 52,[6] a reference to DC's ongoing use of the number 52.
  • The design on the particle accelerator's door looks similar to Firestorm's logo from the DC comics.
  • In the Flash comics, "The Pipeline" is the maximum security wing of the Iron Heights Penitentiary, where the most dangerous or meta-human criminals are held.