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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:22 pm 
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With Essex County Council on course to replace all ≥55W sodium lighting with LED by January 2019 and an end to re-lamping of expired mercury and sodium lanterns in favour of new LED fittings, Essex County Council's street lights will surely be all-LED by the mid 2020s. This frenetic pace of change means that the snow of early-March 2018, which was perhaps the best snowfall we have had in Essex in around 8 years, was probably the last chance to see MBF, SOX and SON illuminating the snow. The pictures below were taken in Colchester on the morning after "Storm Emma" added a fresh covering of snow on top of the "Beast from the East's" snow that arrived five days earlier.

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Whilst the county is still majority-lit with discharge lighting, part-night lighting still reigns supreme. All of the high wattage all-night lighting in Colchester was replaced with LEDs as part of phase 1 of Essex County Council's replacement by LEDs programme and all of the low wattage all-night lighting in Colchester was replaced with LEDs as part of phase 2. When the part-night street lights are off, overcast skies assumes this unusual colour-desaturated hue.

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In residential areas, the street lights switch on in unison at 5am. Pictured above is Victoria Chase in Colchester.

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As soon as full brightness is reached, the usual SOX-coloured sky glow returns to overcast skies.

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This picture and the one above it were taken in Causton Road.

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Margaret Road in Colchester still has locally-made cast iron posts with rhythmatic control boxes. The previous lanterns in this street are unknown, but the current lanterns are Thorn Beta Fives.

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Another photograph of Margaret Road, Colchester in the snow.

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Nearby Mercers Way has unsleeved ELECO slim columns with Thorn Beta Fives.

All the roads featured above are just outside the town centre. Thankfully, SOX lives on in the residential streets that immediately surround the town centre, and this is still the case for the vast majority of towns in Essex.

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The Dutch Quarter in Colchester - which is a residential area inside the town centre, has been slowly changing from SOX to SON in recent years.

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There are still many SOX lanterns to be found in Colchester's Dutch Quarter - mainly Phosco P111s and their Thorn Gamma Six post-top casual replacements and perhaps the occasional GEC Z9481. This recent development in the Dutch Quarter is still exclusively lit with Philips XGS 103s.

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We even have a couple of mercury Phosco P111s running in Colchester's Dutch Quarter. This one is at the junction of Maidenburgh Street and St. Helen's Lane.

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To my knowledge, these two lanterns are the only mercury-running Essex County Council street lights in Colchester. Colchester was an early adopter of sodium lighting and had many open sodium fittings that lasted into the 1980s. Privately, Colchester Railway Station still has mercury-running GEC Z8536 turtles in nightly service.

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The two solitary mercury-running Phosco P111s in Colchester's Dutch Quarter. I wish there were more!

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The street lighting on the footpaths across Castle Park - which links the town centre and the Dutch Quarter to the surrounding residential areas featured above - is switched on all night. They were therefore a high priority for conversion to LED.

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The North Bridge on North Station Road, which was converted to LED as part of phase one of Essex County Council's replacement by LEDs programme. An earlier photograph of this view featured on Essex County Council's Street Lighting Operational Plan in 2015.

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Victoria Chase - as pictured earlier in this post at the 5am switch-on - is photographed above as the darkness of night begins to give way to twilight.

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Margaret Road, featured earlier in this post, as photographed in the twilight of dawn.

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Mercers Way, as also featured earlier in this post, photographed in the twilight of dawn.

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Market Close is a more recent residential development near to Colchester town centre, and is lit with Chalmit Davis GR70 lanterns.

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Mason Road in Colchester has the old-style Philips MA90s with the streamline shoe.

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Back in the 1960s, or possibly the late-1950s, Cowdray Avenue was relit with a seemingly unending installation of Atlas / Thorn Alpha Ones. They were all sleeved in the 1970s. This is the only one left.

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It was with incredible good fortune that it stayed on long after most of the other street lights in the road had been switched off by Essex County Council's Central Management System, allowing me to see and photograph an Alpha One in the snow for the very last time.

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Colchester still has a reasonable quantity of Alpha Ones as of March 2018, but they have been much-depleted in recent years and will be wiped out entirely by January 2019.

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The same scene a little later on.

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As it's an Alpha One, and we can never tire of seeing pictures of Alpha Ones, here is a final close-up image.

It's hard to believe that this lantern was launched in 1955 and they still look this good 63 years later. It is a great shame that, just 10 months from now, there will be none left in Essex. I would like to place a bet that the LED street lighting currently being installed in Colchester will not have the longevity of the Alpha One and will still be lighting Colchester's streets in 2081, but I won't be around to cash in my payout.

So there we have it. Unless Essex County Council suddenly suffer the same fate as Northamptonshire County Council and run out of cash, or we get decent snowfalls every winter for the next few years, this month's snowfall was probably the last chance to see snow-lit streets illuminated by MBF, SOX and SON, and certainly the last chance to photograph large-wattage SOX in the snow. I was blessed that I live within walking distance of all of the above installations and was able to capture the above photographs in around two hours.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:52 pm 
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As ever, fantastic pics and thanks for taking the effort to capture these scenes before they go.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:18 pm 
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Excellent photos David, such a shame that they are taken in sad circumstances!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:14 pm 
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Here is a round-up of recent developments from generally the north-east corner of Essex, where Phase 3 of Essex County Council's LED roll-out is scheduled to eliminate all ≥55W SOX lanterns and ≥100W SON lanterns within the next six months.
In January 2018, David wrote:
For the time being, much of the main road SOX in the larger towns across the north east of the county (e.g. Colchester, Clacton-on-Sea) is not being wholesale replaced with LED, but we are on notice that this will happen soon (it will be Phase 3 of Essex County Council's LED roll-out). So far, the exceptions have been main road all-night lighting (phase 2 which is complete), the LED trial (phase 1, also complete) and where SOX and SON lanterns with expired lamps are being replaced with LED.
Some smaller towns and villages, e.g. Ardleigh, Dovercourt, Frinton-on-Sea, Manningtree, and Thorpe-le-Soken have had some wholesale replacements.

This is still largely the case. Although we know it's coming, the majority of large-wattage SOX and SON lanterns in the larger towns like Colchester and Clacton-on-Sea is still extant to this day. The exceptions being the LED trial in Colchester and columns where all-night lighting is needed, e.g. at junctions.

A drive through the city of Chelmsford last week indicated that phase 3 of the LED roll-out hadn't arrived here (or certainly on my diversionary route to avoid a traffic jam on the A12), with deep-bowl Phosco P157s and shallow and deep-bowl Thorn Alpha Nines nestled in among the Eleco GR100s, GEC Z9454s and Philips MA90s still extant in the south east of the city. Much of the large-wattage SOX in Witham (halfway between Chelmsford and Colchester) has gone, but large stretches still remain.

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Although LED may have arrived in Clacton town centre, the unusual green-coloured Concrete Utilities "Avenue 3DNNs" installed in the 1960s are still going strong, e.g. Anglefield above, photographed in October 2017. The columns outlasted their previous installation of Thorn Alpha Nines which themselves replaced mercury-running GEC Z8430CMs in the 1970s energy crisis.

In December 2016, David wrote:
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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.

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1960s-vintage unsleeved Concrete Utilities "Avenue 3DNNs" in Wellesley Road, Clacton-on-Sea, photographed in February 2018.

In March 2017, David wrote:
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Looking south down Jaywick Lane towards the coast and Jaywick itself.

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A lucky escape for Clacton-on-Sea's one remaining Atlas Alpha One. The adjacent concrete column has now been uprooted and a new column and Philips Luma LED lantern have been installed.

In March 2017, David wrote:
Clacton-on-Sea only has two Alpha Ones left. The other one is on a Fabrikat casual replacement column installed in St. Osyth Road in the 1970s. It was visible out of the windows of my reception class at St. Osyth Road County Infants School in circa. 1978!

Sadly the Thorn Alpha One in St. Osyth Road, Clacton-on-Sea has been replaced with a Philips Luma. Unexpedtedly, the Atlas Alpha One has outlived the Thorn Alpha One in Clacton-on-Sea.

In February 2017, David wrote:
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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.

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As of January 2018, LED casual replacements have started to arrive, although it is still vastly outnumbered by the quantity of SOX lanterns. One Philips Luma arrived on King's Parade in January 2018 and another arrived around a month ago. This photograph showing the first arrival of LED on King's Parade was taken in January 2018.

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The same view in daytime, photographed in February 2018.

With reference to Essex County Council's LED roll-outs, the large-wattage SOX and SON lanterns culled in Phase One (the small LED trial) were replaced with Urbis Amperas. Phase Two (replacement of all whole-night large-wattage SOX and SON lanterns in the county) used Philips Lumas instead. Phase 3 (replacement of all part-night large-wattage SOX and SON lanterns in the county) appears to be using Philips Lumas in larger towns and ASD Lighting Highway Diamond Elites in the smaller towns and villages.

In January 2018, David wrote:
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However, the same scene (Elm Tree Avenue in Frinton-on-Sea) photographed last night (January 2018) looked like this.

Frinton-on-Sea, one of North East Essex's smaller towns, has succumbed to phase 3 of the LED roll-out, and ASD Lighting Highway Diamond Elites have een chosen. This is also the case in Harwich and Dovercourt, Ardleigh, Manningtree and Thorpe-le-Soken.

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A picture of the A137 in Ardleigh taken in January 2018 during phase 3 of Essex County Council's LED roll-out. ASD Lighting Highway Diamond Elites have replaced the village's original Eleco GR100s and their subsequent casual replacements (generally GEC Z9454s and Davis GR100s to begin with, then Philips MA90s later on). A shallow-bowled Davis GR100 remains on the straight section of road with a deep-bowled Eleco GR100 around the corner.

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A close-up of one of Ardleigh village's ASD Lighting's Highway Diamond Elites in action. Ordinarily, the long bracket arms would be cut back to the stubs when the LED lantern is installed, but the design of these long up-tilt Fabrikat brackets mercifully prevents the brackets being cut back here.

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The village of Weeley, just outside Clacton-on-Sea, has also gone LED. This photograph was taken in February 2018. In fact both the Essex County Council-controlled lighting as well as the parish-controlled lighting has gone LED.

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A close-up photograph of one of the ASD Lighting's Highway Diamond Elites in the village of Weeley. Once again the previously long brackets installed in the village (in this instance circa. 1.5m to 2m long) have been cut back to stubs.

Many of the large caravan parks in and around Clacton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea, as well as the large caravan parks in the surrounding area, e.g. St. Osyth Beach near Jaywick and the Naze Marine Holiday Park in Walton-on-the-Naze still have good quantities of local-authority spec street lighting surviving to this day.

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Sacketts Grove caravan park in Jaywick Lane, Clacton-on-Sea is smaller in scale, but it has some local-authority spec GEC Z9484s, which used to be installed in Holland-on-Sea until the early or mid-1980s. This photograph, taken in August 2017 from an adjacent field, shows one of the Z9484s with a 35W SOX lantern in situ.

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The same GEC Z9484, photographed from the same field in April 2018. It looks like the caravan park's Z9484s will live on for years to come as they have been converted to LED.

Also on the subject of old SOX lanterns being given a new lease of life...

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This Thorn Beta 5 in Little Clacton, which was recently converted to LED along with all the other parish-controlled lighting in the village, was spotted day-burning in February 2018.

In conclusion, there is only 6 months left before all large-wattage SOX and SON is wiped off the map here in Essex, but there is still plenty to see while it lasts, as well as legacy local-authority spec street lighting in some of north east Essex's caravan parks. Furthermore, some of the local parishes and even some of the local caravan parks are extending the life of old lanterns by retrofitting their SOX lanterns with LED.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:35 pm 
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Interesting post as ever, David. Those ASD lanterns are different to what’s being installed in my area of Essex for Phase 3 of the LED Rollout. Round here we have Phillips DigiStreet lanterns being installed. Sadly, almost all main road SOX has now been wiped out in Castle Point, Basildon and Rochford districts, however a few roads have been missed out for no apparant reason meaning SOX lives on there, but you have to wonder how much longer it has left.

Over in Southend, whose separate LED rollout is due to finish this year, I can only think of one road without LED lanterns (Western Approaches in Eastwood, currently lit with Beta 79s on sleeved concrete columns). But that being said, I haven’t been down that road for quite a while so they could have gone by now. If so, other than an SGS203 which somehow got missed next to Southend Pier, and one MA50 awaiting removal on Belton Way in Leigh (which had its columns replaced), I think, barring any other old lanterns still in situ of which I an unaware,  Southend may well be all LED now.

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Long Live SOX!!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:22 am 
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In December 2017, A13James wrote:
Huge developments in my area!

As David alluded to in his post of October this year, all main road SOX  lighting is being replaced now by LED, in my area of Essex, Castle Point to be exact. However, the rate at which replacements are happening is quite alarming. Whether the aim is to get as many lanterns replaced as possible by Christmas or not I don’t know, but I’ve never known streetlight crews in this area work so quickly.

The first lanterns of this wave went in on Monday or Tuesday I believe, and I reckon by now there has easily been over 120 lanterns replaced. Sadly, this has meant the end for some Alpha 9s, GR150s, MA50s, masses of MA90s, a single Z9554 and a handful of SON lanterns including some SGS203s and Iridiums and P567s that are only a year old in a couple of cases.

It has come as quite a shock seeing these lanterns that have been in place for my whole life so far bite the dust so quickly, and at around 13:30 today, also a slight element of sadness as four of the five MA90s visible from my bedroom window in the next street were removed from service. The fifth remains, I’m not sure if the crews stopped there for the day or if they couldn’t access it for whatever reason but either way, the view from my window is now different after having been the same all my life.
Phase 3 of Essex County Council’s LED roll-out, which will eliminate all ≥55W SOX lanterns and ≥100W SON lanterns with LED, has hit Clacton-on-Sea in the north east corner of Essex. After what seemed like a bit of a hiatus in this corner of Essex - some smaller towns and villages like Ardleigh, Dovercourt, Frinton-on-Sea, Manningtree and Thorpe-le-Soken saw the ASD Highway Diamond Elite arrive in the winter of 2017 / 2018, LED replacements have only just started in this area’s biggest population centre of Clacton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea. The roll-out is motoring ahead once again at a frightening pace.

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The lantern currently being installed in Clacton-on-sea and nearby Jaywick and Holland-on-Sea is the Philips DigiStreet. This photograph was taken last Sunday (10th February 2019).

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In the Clacton-on-Sea / Holland-on-Sea conurbation, this lantern is being installed on columns as low as 5 metres (on bus routes) and up to 10 metres on main roads, noting that there are only two roads in the Clacton-on-Sea / Holland-on-Sea conurbation with street lighting at 10 metres (Valley Road in Clacton-on-Sea and King’s Parade in Holland-on-Sea). The mounting height in Constable Avenue in the photograph above is 6m. This photograph was also taken last Sunday.

In February 2017, David wrote:
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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.
In July 2018, David wrote:
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As of January 2018, LED casual replacements have started to arrive, although it is still vastly outnumbered by the quantity of SOX lanterns. One Philips Luma arrived on King's Parade in January 2018 and another arrived around a month ago. This photograph showing the first arrival of LED on King's Parade was taken in January 2018.

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The same view in daytime, photographed in February 2018.
This view, of circa. 50 SOX street lights with perhaps two or three SON casual replacements and two LED casual replacements was unchanged until Sunday night (10th February 2019), but by the end of Tuesday 12th February 2019, all but five SOX lanterns remained. Here is the same view taken on Tuesday this week:

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King’s Parade, Holland on Sea, as photographed on Tuesday 12th February 2019.

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The view from the Holland Haven of King’s Parade taken on the same day.

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A tighter crop taken from the above photograph. You’ll notice a street lighting crew in an unbranded cherry picker busy at work.

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By dusk, only four SOX lanterns remained to be changed to LED at the northern end of King’s Parade.

This is how the same road looked two days earlier (Sunday 10th February 2019):
In February 2017, David wrote:
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Kings's Parade in Holland-on-Sea, as photographed from the other end (the Holland Haven end).

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King’s Parade, Holland-on-Sea, as photographed from the Clacton end on the evening of Tuesday 12th February 2019. Just one SOX lantern remains to be changed over to LED.

In December 2014, David wrote:
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Clacton used to have an extensive installation of both top-entry and side-entry GEC Z8430CMs throughout the town centre and stretching along the sea front from Butlins to the west to Holland-on-Sea to the east. This D. Constance Ltd. postcard posted in August 1970 shows King's Parade, which runs the length of the sea front at Holland-on-Sea. Top-entry GEC Z8430CMs are shown installed on distinctively green Concrete Utilities Avenue 3DNN concrete columns.
The introduction of LED to King’s Parade returns the road to white light for the first time since the 1970s.

The ferocious speed of the replacements in Clacton-on-Sea mirrors the urgency that A13 James noted when Phase 3 of the LED roll-out took place in Castle Point in the south of the county in circa. December 2017 with Rochford and Basildon quickly following on. This turn of pace may be aided by a decision not to cut the brackets arms back to the stubs which was a feature of phase 2 of the LED roll-out.

The apparent hiatus in Phase 3 of the LED roll-out may have been the crews working elsewhere in the county, or perhaps may have been caused by the performance of two LED lanterns being installed in Essex being the subject of a Highways England warning in March 2018. The Urbis-Schreder Ampera was used in Phase One of the roll-out and the Philips Luma was used in phase 2 of the roll-out. I recall phase 3 of the roll-out began with the Philips Luma but now uses the Philips DigiStreet (as used in Kings Parade in Holland-on-Sea above) and the ASD Highway Diamond Elite, as used in nearby Ardleigh, Frinton-on-Sea and Weeley.

In Clacton alone, Phase 3 of the LED roll-out will see the loss of scores of Eleco GR100s, GEC Z9454s, GEC Z8600s, Philips MA50s and Thorn Alpha Nines, the loss of numerous Philips SGS203s and Philips MA90s and the loss of a few GEC Z9554s and Philips Iridiums. Also going will be Clacton’s last Atlas Alpha One. This Atlas Alpha One in Jaywick Lane outlived its later replacement the Thorn Alpha One which was also popular in Clacton.

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This Atlas Alpha One on Jaywick Lane is the last remaining Alpha One and unsleeved Concrete Utilities Avenue 3DNN combination. This photograph was taken on Tuesday this week (12th February 2019) in the certain knowledge it only has a few days left in service.

My Dad was a teenager when the main roads in Clacton were being relit with this column and lantern combination. Today he celebrates his 75th birthday! If I had my way, this street light would be listed as were the street lights along the sea front footpath (listings here and here, although it should be noted that the listing didn’t help these street lights out when needed the most).

This visually pleasing combination of column and lantern ruled most of Clacton’s main roads from the 1960s to the 1980s with only the roads in and around the town centre and the road along the sea front utilising a different lantern. Avenue 3DNNs were also used for the roads in and around the town centre but they held the mercury-running GEC Z8430CM. In the 1970s energy crisis, the Z8430CMs lighting the town centre roads were converted to SON and the Z8430CMs lighting the roads around the town centre and most of the sea front road were replaced with ELECO GR100s, ELECO GR110s, GEC Z9455s and Thorn Alpha Nines.

The only main road in Clacton not to have Avenue 3DNNs was Valley Road which had Thorn Alpha Fives on Concrete Utilities Highway “X” 35 columns with steel brackets.

Atlas Alpha Ones and their Thorn Alpha One successors were still being installed in Jaywick, Clacton and Holland-on-Sea as a casual replacements until the late 1980s.

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A close-up of the Atlas Alpha One on Jaywick Lane, as photographed on Tuesday this week (12th February 2019).

The “ATLAS OPTICELL” inscription confirms its origin, although this photograph also confirms that it is the later version of the Atlas Alpha One with the toggle fastener on the underside of the shoe instead of the Tufnell screw. Clacton’s last early-version Atlas Alpha One with the Tufnell screw was removed from service in 2010 after it lost its opticell.

Although it is terrible to witness the demise of large-wattage SOX in the town, there is currently no wholesale replacement of street lighting on side roads. These are generally 80 and 125W MBF/U, 35W SOX and 50 and 70W SON in Clacton-on-Sea and the surrounding areas including St. Osyth, Jaywick, Holland-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze, and generally 35W SOX and 50 and 70W SON elsewhere in Essex, noting that there could be pockets of mercury elsewhere in Essex that I am unaware of. Having said that, I understand that there is much-reduced or even no re-lamping of side road lanterns. Instead, new LED lanterns are being fitted to side road columns with expired bulbs.

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The junction of Valley Road and Mountview Gardens in Clacton-on-Sea, as photographed on Tuesday night (12th February 2019).

The Philips MA50 on Valley Road (the main road) has just been replaced with a Philips DigiStreet LED lantern, column one on Mountview Gardens with the MA50 will surely suffer the same fate very soon, but the GEC Z5641 will not be touched until the mercury bulb expires, the lantern falls apart from old age or the Concrete Utilities "Utility Major" column is struck by a vehicle.

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An ASD “Highway Diamond Elite” on a Concrete Utilities "Utility Major" column that previously held a mercury-running GEC Z5641. Photograph taken in January 2019.

This lantern appears to be a rather versatile unit, with one size apparently suitable for installation at all mounting heights from the historic 15ft (as above) up to 12 metres, although that could be an optical illusion (the lantern is available in four sizes).

In February 2017, David wrote:
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 …  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."

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.

With reference to the number of street lights that are out seeming little higher than usual, this continues to be the case in and around Colchester and Clacton-on-Sea. The policy of replacing many street lights with expired bulbs with new LED street lights only may have caused issues with stock, especially considering the difficulties suffered by the Urbis-Schreder Ampera, the Philips Luma and the Philips LED Iridium which may have driven many local authorities to alternative products and alternative suppliers.

The increase in lanterns out of light has recently become a news item in Colchester and in Clacton-on-Sea.

Although new LED lanterns are now routinely appearing where the bulb in the old lantern has expired, I have noticed a few exceptions.

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This bowlless ELECO GR501 in Great Clacton, as photographed in December 2018, has recently been out of light.

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Imagine my surprise when I saw “12.18” written on the cap of the new bulb!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:10 am 
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Having just reported on what is happening in Clacton-on-Sea and the surrounding area, here are some of my recent observations from elsewhere in the county of Essex.

Question 5 on page one of this PDF published on this page on Essex County Council’s web site gives a proposed order of installation for the Phase 3 LED roll-out per local authority area, which was correct at the time of publication in March 2018: Maldon, Harlow, Brentwood, Epping Forest, Braintree, Tendring, Castle Point, Rochford, Basildon, Uttlesford, Chelmsford and lastly Colchester. We should note that A13James has previously reported that Castle Point local authority area was converted to LED in circa. December 2017 with Rochford and Basildon quickly following on, and all three of these local authority areas appear after Tendring on the list - Tendring being the home of Clacton-on-Sea and the nearby towns of Holland-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze.

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Phase 3 of the LED roll-out has reached Witham (in the district of Braintree). Pictured above is a circa. half-mile stretch of Freebournes Road which is currently undergoing conversion to LED. This picture was taken on Friday night (15th February 2019).

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A number of these unusual ELECO GR101s (ostensibly the cutoff version of the GR100) will be scrapped. This photograph of two of the GR101s in Freebournes Road, Witham was taken in September 2011.

Two more pictures from Witham taken on Friday night (15th February 2019) follow below. While large-wattage SOX is currently getting the chop, small wattage SOX is safe until the time the lamp expires.

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The A12 bridge over the B1018 Maldon Road in Witham. The large-wattage SOX has been removed but the small-wattage SOX – in this example 55W Thorn Beta Twos – get a stay of execution.

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Maltings Lane in Witham, built in circa. 2005. The footpaths are a little too far from the main road for the light spill from the 8m street lighting to reach, and 35W SOX street lighting was installed on the footpaths. Despite the road being build in the mid-2000s, both the main road and the footpath street lighting were originally SOX.

The city of Chelmsford currently looks untouched by Phase 3 of the LED roll-out, although my journeys into this city are usually restricted to diverting away from slow traffic on my commute to work and visiting a few supermarkets that are within easy reach of the northern end of the A12 Chelmsford Bypass (the Boreham Interchange). Therefore I cannot conclude that Phase 3 of the LED roll-out is yet to reach the City. On the Phase 3 LED roll-out list, Chelmsford is after Tendring, Braintree, Castle Point, Rochford and Basildon local authority areas.

Last on the list is Colchester. It is very generous that ECC have left my home town to last  :lol: . Phase 1 (the LED trial in the town centre and the town centre approach roads) and Phase 2 (all full-night lighting units) are both complete, but I am almost certainly sure that Colchester has yet to see any Phase 3 works. The town is still seeing new LED casual replacements as and when old SOX and SON bulbs expire, but this is a slow process.

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Phase 3 of the LED roll-out is yet to reach Colchester, lanterns with expired bulbs are likely to be replaced with a new LED lantern when the street lighting crew visit the column. Pictured above is Highwoods Approach in Colchester last month (January 2019).

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Although lanterns with expired bulbs are likely to be replaced with a new LED lantern, many locations in Colchester still have well-maintained and unbroken installations of SOX street lighting, e.g. in Circular Road South pictured above on Tuesday evening (12th February 2018). Nothing is out of light in this photograph.

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Even the cycle lane and footpath alongside Circular Road South, pictured above also on Tuesday evening, has nothing out of light. Perhaps Essex County Council is still installing SOX lamps in some locations to keep everything in light until the LED roll-out arrives.

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Another view of Circular Road South, taken also on Tuesday evening from the opposite direction of the first photograph. Once again, nothing is out of light, although it should be noted that the high standards above are not necessarily kept elsewhere across Colchester.

Colchester still has a small population of Thorn Alpha Ones. As Clacton-on-Sea is about to lose its last Alpha One, I hope Colchester’s Alpha Ones remain in service until at least the LED roll-out arrives.

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Pictured above are two Alpha Ones in the Parsons Heath area of the town, photographed in January 2018.

I believe that the following lanterns are under the control of Highways England, as they are at the junction of the A12 and the A120 (both are Highways England roads). Had they been under the control of Essex County Council, they would have been replaced with LEDs under phase 2 of their LED roll-out.

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The Prince of Wales roundabout in Mark’s Tey on the outskirts of Colchester is a step back to the 1970s. To this day, it is exclusively lit with 135W SOX lanterns - Eleco GR150s, Philips MA50s, a Thorn Alpha Four and a Thorn Alpha Six.

The Alpha Six is on the single column on the traffic island in the foreground of this photograph taken on Friday night (15th February 2019).

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Another photograph of the exclusively SOX-lit Prince of Wales roundabout in Mark’s Tey taken on Friday night. The 1980s / 1990s trend of boosting lighting levels at important junctions by fitting SON lanterns never happened here!

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Adjoining the Prince of Wales roundabout is a short stretch of dual carriageway which carries the A120 over the A12. This photograph was also taken on Friday night.

With the exception of a traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossing, this dual carriageway is also lit with 135W SOX lanterns. Many of the lanterns were renewed with new SOX lanterns in January 2012, although the sleeved concrete columns mounted on the bridge parapets were not tackled. The image below is from approximately the same location, and the Thorn Alpha Six on the first column on the left is still extant to this day.

In January 2012, David wrote:
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The same scene yesterday (22nd March 2012). I thought it would never happen, but the Highways Agency are replacing the sleeved concrete columns, which seem to have stood there for an eternity. Even the double bracket that was missing its Alpha Six for at least four years (it previously lit the A12 northbound on-slip) is now back in light.

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A quick look at the other end of the short section of dual carriageway reveals that the previous eclectic mix of Alpha Fours, Alpha Sixes, GEC Z9554s, GR150s and remote-geared MA50s on sleeved concrete columns have now been swept away and replaced with new Philips SRS201s on gleaming new Stainton columns. By coincidence, I think the old columns are Stanton & Staveleys (I'll assume Stainton isn't a mis-spelling of Stanton, and the two companies are seperate entities).

It looks like the Highways Agency have once again missed an opportunity to trial the latest new technology that the street lighting industry could offer Essex in 2012, e.g. High Pressure Sodium, as well as the chance to install some new, up-to-date lanterns like the Philips SGS203  :lol:  

But I am possibly being unfair, as the recently-installed pedestrian crossing point across the dual carriageway is lit by SON lanterns, in line with the possibly threatened Essex policy of sticking to SOX, and using SON to boost light levels only where light levels need to be boosted.

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The same scene depicted in the first two images, but photographed from the other side of the bridge over the A12 and showing the on-slip which was missing its Alpha Six for four years.
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Approximately the same scene as above, as photographed on Friday night (15th February 2019).

Knowing that Phase 3 of Essex County Council’s LED roll-out will eliminate all the ≥55W SOX lanterns in Essex within the next few months, perhaps we may be relying on Highways England to keep remaining large-wattage SOX alive in Essex!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:11 pm 
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Excellent and comprehensive posts on the state of lighting in Essex, once again David. Good to see some pictures of well maintained SOX in Colchester, even though its on borrowed time.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:16 pm 
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Very thorough and interesting update as always David, thanks.

Not a huge amount to update on in my area, perhaps only that the new lantern being installed in side road casual replacements is now the ASD Diamond Elite or whatever it’s called! I haven’t seen any Indo Air 1’s installed for a good few months.

I also have evidence that side road SOX is still being maintained, the Beta 5 outside my friend’s house had been out for a few weeks but in the last few days has been relamped, so all is not yet lost!

It’s a great shame to see Clacton’s last Alpha 1 bite the dust, but it’s certainly had a good life.

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