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Lemmy117

Sheffield History Member
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Everything posted by Lemmy117

  1. Don't think the ordinary rails were manganese, the cast parts of the junctions were and that's why these were recovered, they had scrap value. I think the standard rails were ordinary steel
  2. The standard equipment in a modern lamppost is a double pole miniature circuit breaker (MCB) not a residual circuit device (RCD). RCD's were tried in the 1970's but the harsh environment in a lamppost caused them to trip regularly, no ideal workers were going all over the place just to switch them back on. The modern MCB is in a rated and sealed enclosure, so does not suffer so much and now the transformer is in the lantern there is not such a temperature change when the light is on. There is also an earth marshalling block so all the earth cables are joined together and then connected to the supply earth. As has been said the electrical regulations have been tightened up considerably, and although not a onerous as house wiring some of the older equipment didn't meet it, so needs replacing. Theoretically every piece of electrical street furniture needs testing every 5 years, that's lights, street signs, bollards, control boxes etc. All told there must be nearly 120,000 items in Sheffield, that's a lot of work!
  3. The reason the council went for the PFI is that it attracts money from central government via the banks, you can get a big investment (such as is needed for highways and street lights) very quickly, but the private sector has to be involved. The council then pays the contractor a set amount per year for the life of the contract, in this case 25 years, and that is how the contractor get his money back. As you will probably see, the council will eventually have paid through the nose for this, all previous PFI's have not been good value for the public sector, the private sector have made millions out of it! Capital investment in street lighting was cut in the 1980's, and never really got back to any level where inroads could be made into the ever increasing backlog of replacement work. As a quick example there are roughly 60,000 lamps in Sheffield, assuming an average life of 30 years, then you need to replace 2,000 per year to stand still. A reduction of capital meant that dropped like a stone, roughly 30,000 are now nearing the end of their useful lives. You are correct about the concrete cancer, but lamp posts do have certain weaknesses that can let water in and cause the concrete to crack. The most usual place is at the top of the post where the arm is fitted, water gets in, freezes, expands and starts the cracking from the top down. It is difficult to tell which ones are structurally compromised until a lump of concrete falls off! Cast iron is a sound material, so long as it is not subject to sudden shock when just shatters. You may remember a few reports in the local papers when tops fell off cast iron lampposts, usually as a result of the post being bumped and the top cracking. There was a proposal to put the electrical connection in a specially designed box at ground level, the prototypes looked good, but the cost proved too much, although I don't see why it could not be done in certain special locations. When the Shiregreen area was re-vamped a few years ago, there were some cast irons that were re-used as sign posts, and painted in 'interesting' designs, so again you are right, that is an option. The earthing problem comes about because the electrical supply up the column only consists of a live and neutral connection, there is no separate earth cable, and it is usually a very old supply cable, and as all conductive metal parts have to be bonded to earth you need a good connection of the post. A post that has been in the ground umpteen years cannot be guaranteed to have a good earth, you need to make a new attachment point, say by drilling it, but then that can cause it to crack and fail. A modern post has an earthing stud to which the supply earth, all internal earth wiring and the post door are all bonded to ensure there is earth continuity. I believe in the contract there are certain clauses where special items, granite setts, Yorkstone paving, stone kerbs, etc have to be offered to the Council for first refusal, after which if they are not wanted they can be disposed of by the contractor, couldn't say if this is the same for cast iron posts. I know the cast irons were offered for sale by the Council in years gone by, and the money made was ploughed back into system. There were also a number of times posts were ripped out of the ground in the dead of night and were found in local scrapyards days later, so yes, there is a good market in them. I have no idea how they make the decisions about what roads will be done first, except that all Sheffield should be done within the first five years of the contract, they are already 18 months, and side roads are easier to do than main roads, I imagine there will be all sorts of chaos when they get to the major routes. I hope you get satisfactory answers from the council and I hope something can be done to preserve some of this heritage. Oh, and by the way, on your first point, after working for the council for over 38 years, I can categorically state that over-payment never seemed to come my way, and it is difficult to 'fiddle' money when year on year the budgets reduced.
  4. The reason that the council farmed out the highway and street lighting work to Amey is that so much of the infrastructure is in bad condition that it could not afford to replace it itself, a PFI would bring in the much needed money. As far as the lighting goes, the concrete posts are all at least 25 years old, some much older, and all are deteriorating rapidly. In recent years a number have had to be cut down as the reinforcing bars inside them are rusting away and the columns are becoming unsafe. As far as the steel lamp posts are concerned, the older ones have a life of about 25-30 years, there are a lot past this age, they suffer from rusting from the inside, we had quite a time in the 90's when whole swathes of posts manufactured by one particular supplier had to be cut down because they were unsafe. The cast iron posts suffer from a slightly different problem, the electricity supply terminates in the box at the top of the post, and Yorkshire Electricity (or whatever they are called now) would not repair the cable if it went faulty. Additionally they were problematical in regard to the current requirement for electrical safety testing where 'earthing' became a problem. I agree that it will be a loss to Sheffield when these traditional pieces of street furniture disappear from Sheffield, and I hope some will be preserved somewhere, but the problems with them cannot be ignored.
  5. I think there a 2 lamps that are lit, Brincliffe Edge Road and Frog Walk. It was a right problem to get them reconnected. I'm not sure what the position is now, the council have hived off the maintenance to Amey, not sure if they were included in the maintenance contract.
  6. I would guess the steam shed is Grimesthorpe
  7. In common with several other places the road at Heeley was "dropped" specifically to accommodate double deck trams, the others being Upwell Street and Brightside Lane. The overhead wire was arranged to be at the side of the tram almost level with the top deck guttering. Until recently the railway bridge had the fixings for the overhead still visible
  8. Ponds Forge was down on Sheaf Street, the tram turns left from Commercial Street into Haymarket, so doesn't go anywhere near it. Nigel L
  9. The Classic also used to specialise in horror film nights, usually of the low budget type that were more funny than scary!
  10. Visited last Sunday and was pleasantly surprised to see it is running again!
  11. The one at Darnall was removed when Prince of Wales Road was widened, (late '80's?) and the junction altered. It was carefully taken down and stored for re-use when the work was completed to be put up in a new position. Came the great day and it was transported back to site to be put up, but when lifting it off the lorry it cracked and fell to bits! Difficult thing to deal with being cast iron.
  12. Before the new estate was built, a company was contracted to clear the site and deal with hazardous substances and unsafe structures, a process known as "remediation". I visited the site quite a few times in connection with my work and never heard of any mishaps during the building, so I would assume any underground structures were suitably filled in.
  13. Went on one of those tours last year. The egyptian building is classed as unsafe so it was not possible to look inside, I believe they are trying to get a grant to repair it. I last went in the church in the early 70's, it was in a state them so heaven knows what it is like now.
  14. Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire railway, also known as Money Sunk and Lost!
  15. Don't know if this has been mentioned before, as part of the Moor re-development the old Redgates building on Furnival Gate is due to be demolished early 2013.
  16. It is supposed to represent an ingot of steel (the round end) being shaped to a knife edge (the pointy end). Sadly for the city of steel I believe it ws made in Bristol!
  17. They were actually on their way from Barrow Hill to Bury to take part in the Deltic gala this coming weekend.
  18. Can't remember the name but there was a record shop on London Road, right hand side going from town about opposite Bennett Street, mostly ex-jukebox, but also ordinary second hand. Remember buying an Iron Butterfly album from there mid 70's
  19. I thought it opened about the end of September, there was an almighty rush to get it ready in time, then just days after it opened Spital Hill was closed off after some locals had a dust up and someone was stabbed! Bet that was not what Tesco needed! As part of the works the clad the wall at the back of the old Wicker Goods yard and covered up the bricked up entrance to the railway tunnel under Spital Hill.
  20. I was on the Supertram gauging run when it went down Netherthorpe Road. The railway inspector called for an open top bus and had it parked in the 'fast' lane From the top deck he leaned out holding an umberella to see if he could reach the wire, which had been isolated temporaorily. Needless to say all was well and the run continued when the power was restored. That would be about late '94 early '95 as the tram opened to Shalesmoor in Feb '95
  21. The tunnels were all filled in when the subways were closed. I believe the ends of the tunnels were sealed with blocks and a gap left so that they could be pumped full of flyash. I walked through the complex in connection with my work when it had been closed off but before the filling work began, wierd. The middle was part filled with the remains of Kelvin flats.
  22. It was interesting but had it's drawbacks, I was heartily sick of Christmas by the time we switched them on having been working on bits of them since September. Funnily enough I hate decorating our christmas tree at home and dread the thought of testing the lights! I knew the chap in charge of Blackpool lighting in the 1970's he was called Arthur Elliott and was in his late 50's by then. Their operation was a year round job, they made most of the set pieces in their own workshops. Things have changed in Sheffield now, a private firm supplies and fits the illuminations and the council only has to make sure the electricity supplies are still working.
  23. Yes I know Richard, I live not far away from you now, he'll remember Nigel
  24. I think the plan was to extend it up towards the Sheffield boundary at Grenoside, but it never came to anything. Interestingly there used to be a tram section box near the junction of Hill Top Road that controlled the street lighting, it was removed in the 70's I think.
  25. Somewhere around I have loads of pictures taken during construction as I worked on the project from 1990 until construction finished. I must get these scanned.
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