isn't your doing David, is it?
(Retweeted by @UKASTLE)
Sadly not, but up until early this week I did look longingly down at all the unspoilt SOX lighting up the A127 to the east of the M25 while on my daily commute to work...and simultaneously wondering if there were any reasonably accessible bridges to capture it on film before it was too late. Most of the A127 SOX within sight of the M25 was removed this week, so it is too late now.
Up until a little while ago, the A127 to the west of the M25 was also SOX-lit, with knockdowns replaced with more SOX, but that gave way to TFL's LED roll-out.
https://firstname.lastname@example.org ... T9V3TA!2e0
The best installation in Essex IMO. It'll be a sad day when these go.
They look even better at night
And thankfully there's no sign of them being replaced anytime soon, as they've all just been re-celled with Telensa Telecells to allow them to be switched off at midnight
like rest of the county.
Up until the beginning of this month, the A127 between the M25 and Rayleigh (some 14-miles) was continuously-lit with SOX. The road was lit with GR150s, Z9554s, Z9554Ms and MA50s. SON was sparingly used in just three locations that needed the lighting levels boosted for safety reasons - the B186 junction, the Fortune of War roundabout and the S-bend just before the A130. But just three years after the above post from A13James, the lighting crews are having to revisit every lamp column along the A127 once again (there must be a thousand of them!), but this time to fit LED lanterns.
I drove along the A127 from the M25 to Rayleigh on my way home from work last night (25th February 2017), and if the lighting crews started work on February 9th, as this statement from Essex County Council suggests,
then they have motored along, with circa. 13 of the 14 miles between the M25 and Rayleigh now converted to LED. So it's an end to scenes like this:
^ This photograph is from this Southend Echo newspaper report.
One onimous thing to note from the Essex County Council statement is this sentence about half way down the page:"As part of the programme, many streetlights requiring repair are being upgraded to LEDs to reduce maintenance costs."
We already know that Clacton-on-Sea and the surrounding towns are due to have all the street lighting that stays on all night converted to LED before the end of 2018. Thankfully the vast majority of the street lighting in this post is subject to Essex County Council's part-night lighting policy and will be unaffected by the change. Therefore I would anticipate - almost expect - that the vast majority of the street lighting in this post will still be around in its current form in 2019
If Essex County Council have stopped repairing their existing lighting stock in favour of swapping out any lanterns requiring a visit with an LED lantern, then that could hasten the demise of SOX far quicker than expected. In fact there appears to be circumstantial evidence emerging (based just from my own observations in the last couple of months) that Essex County Council may have ceased purchasing new SOX lamps
(and possibly MBF lamps), and are electing to replace the whole lantern with an LED lantern instead of fitting a new bulb.
In Clacton for example, the number of street lights that are out at the moment seems a little higher than usual. This may simply be due to it being winter, meaning more time is spent travelling around and observing the town at night. But this winter I cannot recall seeing a street light that had previously been out of light being relamped (and brought back into light) for about three months. In November 2016, the INDO Air 1 or Air 1+ side road LED lantern made its debut in Clacton,
and this month (February 2017) has seen main road LED street lighting appear in Clacton for the first time. All the photographs in this post were taken on 19th February 2017.
This street light in London Road, Clacton on Sea, used to be a Philips MA90. It went out of light about a month ago, and a new SOX lamp would probaby have seen in brought back into light.
The same street lamp photographed in daylight reveals the new lantern to be a Philips/WRTL Luma.
A few clusters of the original installation still survive, e.g. this group of five Eleco GR100s in Wellesley Road above.
The same view in February 2017 - the first Eleco GR100 may have just needed a new SOX lamp to bring it back into light, but an LED lantern has been fitted instead.
Another view of the same unsleeved Concrete Utilities "Avenue 3DNN" column, which is around 50 years old, with its new LED lantern.
Notably, when the Essex County Council LED street lighting trial came to Colchester, all unsleeved and sleeved concrete columns were left alone by the street lighting crews, leaving some streets as a patchwork of white and orange.
Stand far enough away from the new Philips/WRTL Luma, and it almost becomes invisible. This third picture of the same column in Wellesley Road shows the new LED lantern hiding in amongst the Eleco GR100s and a Philips MA90 casual replacement.
Clacton-on-Sea itself still has many unsleeved Concrete Utilities Avenue 3DNN columns, e.g. in Wellesley Road above. They carry an assortment of SOX and occasionally SON lanterns, including many original-spec Thorn Alpha Nines and Eleco GR100s (as above) with the Philips MA90 being a popular casual replacement.
The same view of Wellesley Road at night is currently unspoilt by LED casual replacements, but there are enough lanterns out of light to suggest LED could be arriving here soon.
Two new LED lanterns (both on the left of the picture) have appeared in St. John's Road, Clacton-on-Sea.Only one Thorn Alpha One on an unsleeved Avenue 3DNN column still survives in the town - in Jaywick Lane. It is one of only two Thorn Alpha Ones still in the town.
LED is yet to arrive in Jaywick Lane. The nearest street lamp is this photograph is the Thorn Alpha One on the unsleeved "Avenue 3DNN" column referred to above. It is the only one left in a town which 50 years ago had hundreds of Alpha Ones on unsleeved Avenue 3DNN columns.
The longest straight SOX-lit road yet to be spoilt by the arrival of LED is King's Parade, which runs along the sea front of Holland-on-Sea. The above photograph was taken from the Clacton end of Holland-on-Sea. Once again there are enough lights out to suggest that LED could be arriving here soon.
Kings's Parade in Holland-on-Sea, as photographed from the other end (the Holland Haven end).
If Essex County Council has genuinely stopped buying SOX lamps, Essex could be SOX-free in as little as six years. That Nelly Furtado song
is back in my head again.