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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:56 pm 
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The area I live in still has lots of converted gas columns, and there are plenty of folks that would like to see these old cast iron columns preserved if this can be done.

The council is in the process of converting all lighting in the area to LED - their contractors have had some success with the old cast iron columns by retrofitting an LED lantern (V-Max is their preference) to the swan neck, but we know this isn't a satisfactory long-term solution as the columns don't have space or an access door for an isolator and local DNO will not work on columns without an isolator at low level so in the event of a fault the column has to be scrapped.

The council have costed up the addition of an external isolating pillar but this would have to be away from the lighting columns as the columns are by the kerb and is considered prohibitively expensive. So we are looking to suggest a cheaper alternative arrangement.

Has anyone ever come across an isolator in a trap under the pavement or a similar arrangement? Or is it just not possible to install switchgear in an underground chamber safely? Suggestions welcome :)


Last edited by Stargazer on Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:55 pm 
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Not really practical to have cutouts underground due to water ingress issues and potentially ingress of gas from leaking pipes, (telephone underground chambers are supposed to be tested for gas before engineers work inside them).

Some crash safe columns have electrical connection pits, but they haven't really cured the water ingress issue.

More normal and easier to fit a small feeder pillar close to the column.

The cost is not of the feeder pillar itself but of the service rearrangement, from the column to something else. This will be of the order of £1000 per column. Underground works to build chambers will be considerably more than that (per column) and will be an additional cost on top of the service rearrangement.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:33 am 
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Yes, I was guessing that an under-pavement isolator might be difficult to implement but thought this might be worth a try.

Here's a photo of a fine example of the type of column we're trying to save:

Image

There can't be too many of these left on Britain's streets now but here in Reading we still have over 100 left, all made by local foundries. This particular one is a rarity in that it isn't next to the kerb so for this it will be somewhat easier to add an isolating pillar. I'll try adding a gallery later. In the meantime I hope you don't mind me giving our campaign a plug - it's at https://loveyourlamppost.wordpress.com.

The town also has nearly 200 mid-20th century Revo Moseley columns that we would also like to see kept - the good news is that the council tells us it intends to keep as many of these as possible as they have a low-level door.

The council's contractors have managed to fit Holophane V-Max lanterns to a few of these swan necks by cutting off the finial but are finding the installation unreliable so don't want to do any more. It's not aesthetically ideal (personally I'd love to see a little round top-entry lantern on that finial, perhaps an AC 730) but they have been trying at least. I did some research looking back at historic street photos, and the choice when the gaslights were replaced was ESLA reflectors or small round lanterns (perhaps GEC Z5590s).

So we're just trying to find out if there's a safe lower cost option to keep the original gaslight columns in light - they've survived over 100 years and are probably going to stand for a good few more if they're allowed to. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.


Last edited by Stargazer on Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:17 pm 
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Stargazer wrote:
I did some research looking back at historic street photos, and the choice when the gaslights were replaced was ESLA reflectors or small round lanterns (perhaps GEC Z5590s).



I far as I know, Reading were loyal customers of GEC. They used GEC Z5225 lanterns on these columns, not ESLA.s although they looked similar.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:38 pm 
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Re: Reading Lighting Columns.

An interesting and worthwhile cause if I may say so.

Both Manchester and Tameside councils were faced with the same issue many years ago due to the large number of ex gas columns still in use. Converted to electric operation in the 1960s, they both used a swan neck with connection / fuse box placed at the top of the column. In later years, Norweb would become increasingly reluctant to service such columns for the reasons already stated. As a result of the renewal schemes given approval during the late 80s, Tameside Council replaced their gas columns, although a few lingered on into the 2000s.

Those still in active service on Manchester's streets were destined to survive even longer. There were large concentrations in Didsbury, Chorlton and Abbey Hey, with some examples having been relocated into the City's conservation areas.  

Manchester's gas columns were finally seen off by the Amey PFI scheme in 2007-8, with the scrap yard being the final destination. One notable survivor of the class (which presumably didn't come under the Amey scheme) is the column which (still?) graces the end of Coronation Street in Weatherfield.

Although probably not practical at the moment, but one way of ensuring the old gas columns survive with LED technology is to dispense with the electric supply altogether. We already have solar powered bollards (granted they are pretty useless) but surely a solar powered VMAX can't be too far away!


Attachments:
File comment: An ex Ashton Corporation lighting column, still wearing its 1970s municipal livery. It was finally replaced a few years ago, lasting far longer than others in the borough.
2007_01300067.JPG
2007_01300067.JPG [ 1.13 MiB | Viewed 9397 times ]
File comment: A typical Manchester Corporation gas column, one of many still in active service prior to redundancy by Amey's PFI. The column's base looks to be a similar pattern to the Ashton variety, however the pole itself is more ornate.
2008_05190063.JPG
2008_05190063.JPG [ 1.09 MiB | Viewed 9397 times ]

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:23 pm 
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Hi All,

Whitehaven in Cumbria still has a few of these old gas columns with swan necks fitted with Beta 5s.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.55337 ... 312!8i6656

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.55338 ... 312!8i6656

Regards,

Andrew.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:44 am 
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Many thanks for the replies and interest in our campaign. Claire - I stand corrected :) (to be fair the archive pictures I've found aren't very clear so it would need some expertise to identify the lanterns. I'll try posting some links later.)

We've been sent some costings for refurbishment of the two different types of column and retrofit of a new swan neck bracket (from AC Ford).

As expected a major cost is for SSE to disconnect and reconnect the supply cables. We're trying to calculate the exact NET cost of refurbishment vs installation of a new cheap steel column - I know that contractors generally install a new column alongside the old one and presumably SSE will come back later to remake the connection (in the case of one near us that's been nearly 6 months and it's still not lit!)

I imagine the council would still have to pay for disconnection and reconnection when a new column is installed - or is there a cunning cheaper way to do this? Either way the isolator would have to be replaced and the supply cable shortened as necessary, so I guess that cost is incurred regardless. Plus for refurbishment of a Revo column the cost of digging up the pavement is saved. Or am I missing something?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:05 pm 
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SSE have a fixed charge for service transfer, regardless of whether its from old column to new, or old to feeder pillar. This includes cost of pavement digging up and reinstatement. Only the DNO is permitted to work on the supply cable and its termination.

I doubt the cost of refurbishment of an existing column (corrosion removal e.g media blasting probably couldn't be done in situ due to H&S issues) plus made to order swannecks and labour to do all the work, will be less than a new column.

There is then still the issue of siting - those immediately behind the kerb, and spacing - probably too large to meet the optical performance of LED light sources, to consider.

There are also future maintenance liabilities for non galvanised columns, as well as safety considerations for continued use of older columns. The South Coast PFI were required to test for hidden cracks on cast iron columns they retained to meet public liability insurance requirements.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:50 pm 
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We've clarified costings with the council and they agree that the same charge would be made for disconnection and reconnection when a new column is installed. The cost estimates we've received include a test for soundness and visual inspection.

Apparently SSE's charge includes trenching up to 1m - the old columns that are at the kerbside would probably mostly fall outside this but I'd have thought that since the extra distance is marginal (just measured one near my house - it's 1.25m) and the supply cable doesn't need to be lengthened the council might have a bit of room for negotiation there.

I agree that we're very unlikely to get down to the cost of a new column, but we're hoping to persuade the council that the difference is worth it. I understand the DfT funding will pay for most of the cost of a new column or refurbishment so the actual marginal cost, particularly for the Revo columns, is pretty small. We just need to see how many of the Victorian columns we can persuade the council to find the money for. Wish us luck :)

Edit (slightly OT!) One for Claire perhaps - here's a picture from 1940 showing a converted gas column with reflector lantern http://collections.readingmuseum.org.uk/images/s1108180.jpg - I thought the top looked a bit narrow for a GEC lantern, so was wondering whether it was made by Revo, as Reading bought lots of equipment from Revo including swan neck brackets and Moseley columns.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:27 pm 
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Another year on, and we have an update - with some good news! With a lot of campaigning we've managed to save at least 40 of the original gas columns in Reading, along with about 180 Revo Moseleys. We managed to get £25k of CIL money and some more from a small underspend on the LED lighting project (anyone that has been to Reading recently will notice that the this project is almost complete now).

The council did a structural check of all the remaining cast iron columns in the town in early 2018 and found them all to be in sound enough condition to keep, although their contractors weren't willing to correct any that leaned excessively so a few were lost at that stage. We have been working with the Conservation Area Advisory Committee to define a list of gas columns to be retained, and the replacement programme has nearly finished.

The refurbishment programme for the remaining cast iron columns is due to start at the end of February. All of these will have new custom-made swan neck brackets and be fitted with V-Max lanterns, and the old gas columns will be rewired with a small bollard nearby. The Revo Moseleys have a door and will just be rewired internally.

There is funding to paint all the refurbished columns starting in the spring, so we hope the end result will look pretty smart. The column shown in my profile picture happens to be first on the list for refurbishment so I hope to be able to post a 'before and after' picture of this soon.


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