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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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