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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:56 pm 
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Alex wrote:
On a slightly related note, are Essex retrofitting LED to any more of their old SOX lanterns? This I approve of for the same reasons, even if it cannot guarantee excellent optical performance.
A few more parishes are switching to LED retrofits, but it isn't something we are likely to see adopted by Essex County Council, who have settled on the Philips/WRTL Luma and INDO Air 1 or Air 1+ LED lanterns.

In March 2017, David wrote:
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A close-up view of the last remaining Atlas Alpha One on an unsleeved Concrete Utilities "Avenue 3DNN" column in Clacton-on-Sea. The following correction was made in October 2017: "Thorn" changed to "Atlas". The Opticell has "Atlas Opticell" etched into it as per this example from nearby St. John's Road.

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The above close-up photograph of this lantern's opticell was taken in March 2017, hence I've corrected my earlier posts.

This post generally updates progress in the Clacton and Colchester areas on the replacement of all of Essex County Council's full-night lighting with LED, and the ongoing replacement of any existing lighting stock with expired lamps with new LED lanterns.

In December 2016, David wrote:
Last month, I spotted an LED casual replacement in Clacton-on-Sea, a town which I understand is not scheduled to receive any LED street lighting until the 2017 / 2018 financial year (based on a two-year roll-out which began in the south of the county).

This prediction was incorrect. All of Clacton's full-night street lighting, as far as I can tell, has just been replaced with LED, bringing it in line with nearby Colchester.

Part-night lighting remains as SOX and SON until the lamps expire, at which point the whole lantern will be replaced with a new LED lantern *.

* Having said that, Essex County Council announced in May 2017 that all part-night high-wattage discharge lighting (circa. 23,000 units) will also be replaced with LED lighting by January 2019, in addition to the current LED roll-out to all full-night lighting (circa. 19,000 units).

That will surely eliminate all of Essex's 90-180W SOX and all ≥100W SON in the next 16 months  :o

In December 2016, David wrote:
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In the town centre itself, there is still a “doughnut ring” of standard GEC Z8430CMs on Concrete Utilities “Avenue 3DNN” columns encircling the town centre's busiest shopping streets, e.g. in Jackson Road above.

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Sadly this “doughnut ring” of standard GEC Z8430CMs is no more, but most of the Concrete Utilities Avenue 3DNN columns remain to this day. Photograph taken in August 2017.

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This additional photograph from August 2017 shows new Philips/WRTL Lumas in place of GEC Z8430CMs in Clacton High Street.

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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The same scene photographed in August 2017.

In February 2017, David wrote:
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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.

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The same scene photographed in August 2017.

In March 2015, David wrote:
I'm afraid I haven't seen what the crews plan to do with top-entry lanterns yet, as none have been converted to LED. A spigot adapter would be nice if the street lighting crews could source some, but they may also request a new column for each location, else cut the bend off and install the Amperas post-top or, as has just been seen with the octagonal columns, they could even bring in their own brackets to fit over the Stewarts & Lloyds columns and solve the problem that way.

Similarly, none of the sleeved concretes have been converted to LED yet, so it's currently a mystery as to what the crews plan to do with these as well.

The all-night lanterns missed off Colchester's original LED trial, i.e. wall-mounted lanterns, top-entry lanterns or lanterns on sleeved concrete columns, have recently been changed to Philips/WRTL Lumas.

Casual replacements (in lieu of re-lamping) continue apace, depleting stocks of old favourites like the GEC Z5641 on the way. When an old lamp expires, the whole lantern is replaced with a new LED lantern...

In December 2016, David wrote:
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Scores of the town's Utility Major columns still hold their original mercury-running GEC Z5641 lanterns installed in the 1950s and early 1960s.

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The same scene in Bembridge Close, Clacton-on-Sea, photographed in August 2017.

Expired columns further deplete stocks of old favourites...

In May 2016, David wrote:
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Having said that, no new MBF/U fixtures since the 1970s and the expiration of the existing mercury stock through column or lantern old age / road traffic accidents means that mercury lanterns are now the exception rather than the norm, e.g Coopers Lane in Clacton-on-Sea above. The mercury lantern above is the only one left in a street once lit by GEC Z5641s and Z5671s.

All photographs in this post were taken in April and May 2016.

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The last remaining mercury street lantern in Coopers Lane got the chop in August 2017.

In May 2016, David wrote:
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There are still pockets of mercury to be found outside Frinton, e.g. Windsor Avenue in Clacton-on-Sea above.

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The same scene photographed in August 2017.

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There is hope that some old lanterns will not be changed to new LED lanterns when their lamps expire. Earlier this year, both these Phosco P111s in Colchester's Dutch Quarter (a 35W SOX version on the left and a 70W SON version on the right) were out of light, but both are now back in light. Furthermore, an LED Phosco P111 has appeared in Maidenburgh Street, also in the Dutch Quarter. Photograph taken in September 2017.

The catch? Colchester's Dutch Quarter is a conservation area.

Not Essex County Council, but Highways Agency:

In February 2017, David wrote:
The next village along the A120 is Coggeshall, which was bypassed in 1983. Each of the three junctions (to the western end of the village, to the north and to the eastern end) are generously lit with remote-geared Philips MA50s with the small streamline shoe:

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Lighting up time on the A120's generously-lit junction with the B1024 to the north of Coggeshall. Photograph taken in September 2013. Casual replacements have up to this time been strictly SOX.

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A photograph from December 2015 showing how well-maintained the 34 year old lighting on the Coggeshall bypass has been over the years, with all lanterns in light.

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The same scene photographed in October 2017.

Replacement of the lighting on the Braintree to Mark's Tey section of the A120 continues, although the SOX lighting on the western end of the Coggeshall Bypass and the SOX lighting through the village of Bradwell hangs on for the time being.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:24 pm 
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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.

I’m not sure what the new lanterns are. They are not Lumas I don’t think, I believe they are made by Phillips but am not sure. I’ll try and link to a picture if I can find one. I hope now that we have LED lights that they can stay on all night, but I’ll have to check back at 1am to confirm!

I’m sorry for such a wordy post, but I felt I needed to update you all about these developments.

If I don’t post again before, Merry Christmas!

EDIT: I’m still not certain but I believe they are Phillips DigiStreet lanterns. Could be wrong though.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:03 am 
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Suffolk's new installations are relatively closely following those in Essex. They also now use Indo Airs on side roads on unpainted galvanised columns and Lumas on main roads, although the Lumas are cool white whilst those in Essex are warmer white.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:06 pm 
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As we move into 2018, LED replacements in my area have picked up again after the Christmas break, and once again at quite an incredible rate. It’s really sad to see all these SOX lanterns (and also a good amount of SON Iridiums from earlier replacements) biting the dust so quickly. I reckon all main road SOX in my area will be gone completely in the next couple of weeks if replacements continue at this rate, and that is a very scary thought indeed.
A note to David and any other Essex streetlighting enthusiasts - make the most of your main road SOX while you can because when it’s gone, it’s gone and it may be sooner than you think!

It’s not all bad though, as side road SOX is still being relamped, so at least that will be soldiering on for the time being.

Meanwhile over in Southend (unitary authority - seperate from ECC) LED replacements are due to finish this year and are certainly on course to do so. It seems that roads requring new columns are being left to the end for the most part, though there is no real pattern as to what roads are having their concrete columns replaced and what roads are just having them resleeved, which has happened to the majority of roads
The A13 Bournes Green Chase is next on the list to have its concrete columns replaced, and there are signs suggesting that it will take 3 weeks of daytime closures to replace all the columns that are only located on one side of a 0.9 mile long road. Not so sure about that I must say...

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:45 pm 
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A13James wrote:
As we move into 2018, LED replacements in my area have picked up again after the Christmas break, and once again at quite an incredible rate. It’s really sad to see all these SOX lanterns (and also a good amount of SON Iridiums from earlier replacements) biting the dust so quickly. I reckon all main road SOX in my area will be gone completely in the next couple of weeks if replacements continue at this rate, and that is a very scary thought indeed.

A note to David and any other Essex streetlighting enthusiasts - make the most of your main road SOX while you can because when it’s gone, it’s gone and it may be sooner than you think!

Yes, it is a great shame that LED seems to be spreading across Essex like the current Australian flu virus (and is about as welcome with us enthusiasts as the flu!). Essex escaped the Philips Iridium invasion largely unscathed, but LED is inescapable. Here is a roundup of a few LED-related stories from the north of the county.

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. An example from Frinton-on-Sea is shown below:

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This photograph of Elm Tree Avenue in Frinton-on-Sea was taken in January 2015.

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Elm Tree Avenue had an unspoilt installation of Eleco GR100s from the Frinton level crossing gates to Frietuna Road. This photograph is also from January 2015.

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Another photograph of Elm Tree Avenue taken in January 2015.

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Elm Tree Avenue photographed at lighting-up time in September 2015.

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This photograph take last month (December 2017) shows the installation still unspoilt.

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However, the same scene photographed last night (January 2018) looked like this.

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The bend in the road, photographed in December 2017.

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And the same view last night (January 2018).

The B1033 from Kirby Cross to Frinton-on-Sea, once lit with Concrete Utilities hockey sticks with Phosco P149s which succumbed to SOX (in the 1970s energy crisis) is now having those Thorn Beta Fives replaced with LED lanterns. Other nearby B roads also lit with CU hockey sticks and Thorn Beta Fives, e.g. the B1033 from Frinton-on-Sea to Walton-on-the-Naze and the B1034 from Kirby Le Soken to Frinton-on-Sea still retain their familiar orange glow, but these lanterns' days are numbered.

In May 2015, David wrote:

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The housing estates that do exist in Weeley are lit to the required urban standards, although the lighting is still under the control of the Parish Council. Accordingly, lighting from yesteryear lives on, for example this GEC Z5676 on a GEC ZP3000 coloured plastic column.

Such coloured plastic columns were once common in neighbouring Clacton and invariably had a pale green, blue or turquoise finish, but they were all removed in the mid to late 1980s when they begun to shed fibres. This photograph was taken in January 2009.

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The same column and lantern at night, photographed in May 2015.

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The above GEC Z5676 close-up.  Photograph taken in January 2009.

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The same lantern at night. Photograph taken in May 2015.

Weeley has just had much of its existing lighting stock (Thorn Beta Fives, Philips MI26s, Philips mini-Iridiums, Hilclare cobra heads etc.) converted to LED, as recently undertaken in Little Clacton. In fact the same LED retrofit lamps appear to have been fitted in the SOX lanterns and LED corn lights fitted in the SON lanterns.

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The GEC Z5676 also lives on thanks to a conversion to LED. These three photographs were taken last night (January 2018).

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A close-up of the lantern.

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A view of the lantern and the GEC ZP3000 coloured plastic column at night.

The same retrofit conversions of existing lanterns have started to appear in other parishes.

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This Eleco GR525 on the B1027 in Thorrington has been converted to run an LED retrofit lamp.

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The street light lights a traffic island across this busy road. The rest of the lighting through Thorrington (with the exception of the B1029 crossroads) remains as SOX lighting for the time being.

Back to the County Council, and they have announced plans to switch off street lighting where there is an "over-provision". This has, inevitably, led to objections from councillors and stories in the press. But, in my opinion, this is actually a good idea!

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When I was young, this zebra crossing in Clacton-on-Sea (photographed in January 2018) was lit with one Thorn Alpha Nine on a Concrete Utilities Avenue 3DNN column.

The lantern was changed to SON, probably in the 1980s, to boost lighting levels, as well as highlight the zebra crossing to approaching drivers with a different light source. A second column then appeared on the other side of the road to further boost lighting levels. This also had a SON lantern on it. After that, the small black and white Zebra crossing posts were replaced with 8m columns with Urbis ZX2 "zebra crossing" lanterns running metal halide lamps, which boosted lighting levels even more, as well as provide an even starker contrast in light sources to alert approaching drivers.

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When LED arrived, it wiped out the Philips SGS203s and the Urbis ZX2 "zebra crossing" lanterns, as well as the Alpha Nines either side of it. Only the flashing Belisha beacons and the road markings alert approaching drivers to the zebra crossing (as was the case in the 1970s). This photograph was taken in October 2017.

In locations like this, there is clearly an opportunity to remove what are now duplicate columns and reduce the lighting level to a more acceptable level. And it would be nice to see a bit less LED  :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:55 pm 
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I am not quite sure about the choice of lantern in this Braintree District Council advertisement! (retweeted by @UKASTLE)


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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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