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Report - Lots Road Power Station, London 14/04/09

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Rookinella, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Rookinella

    Rookinella I should have danced all night
    28DL Full Member

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    Visited with Alias and Siologen.

    I wasn't going to bother doing my own report of this place but I got my new laptop and by the power or greyskull..ahem..I mean Photoshop, I managed to salvage shit photos into something bearable. For the first time in weeks, the heavens decided to open over the South East and we were caught in some serious downpours whilst driving through the city. I was getting stressed out, we were swearing at taxi drivers, honking the horn and trying to find a way to drive down Tottenham Court Road for a sneaky peek. Returning home 5 hours later, I discovered that yet again, I had cut my leg open producing an unsightly gouge on my shin and multiple bruises. Possibly should be re-named "The Accident and Emergency Tourists". Anyway, it was a good night none the less.

    Woop! Here's the history:

    Lots Road Power Station is a disused coal and later oil-fired power station on the River Thames at Lots Road in Chelsea, London which supplied electricity to the London Underground system. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as Fulham Power Station, a name properly applied to another former station a mile up river.

    The station was commissioned by the Metropolitan District Electric Traction Co (which was soon to become part of the Underground Electric Railways empire of Charles Yerkes) in order to provide power to the Metropolitan District Railway (now known as the District Line). The station allowed the District Line and Circle Line trains to change from steam haulage to electric. At around the same time the Metropolitan Railway built their power station at Neasden.

    The station was built end-on to the Thames, on the north bank of the tidal Chelsea Creek. Permission for the station was granted in 1897 and construction started in 1902 and completed in 1905. The station burned 700 tonnes of coal a day and had a generating capacity of 50,000 kW.[1] At the time it was claimed to be the largest power station ever built and would eventually power most of the railways and tramways in the Underground Electric Railways group.

    The station was re-equipped on several occasions. The modernisation undertaken in the 1960s converted the station to 50 Hz generation and from burning coal to using heavy fuel oil. The number of chimneys was reduced from the original four to two. But between 1974 and 1977, with the discovery of natural gas in the North Sea, the boilers were converted to run on gas, with the option of oil firing if required. The station later worked in conjunction with the ex-London County Council Tramways power station at Greenwich to supply the London Underground network.

    The station unwittingly played a part in the birth of commercial radio in the UK. When the first two stations opened in October 1973 (LBC and Capital Radio), the site for their medium wave transmitters was not complete. As a result, a temporary 'Tee' antenna was strung up between the two chimneys (transmitting LBC on 417m (719kHz), and Capital Radio on 539m (557kHz)), until the permanent site at Saffron Green was ready in 1975. Some years later the site was used again, on 720kHz, for a low power MW relay of BBC Radio 4's LW service.

    In the 1990s, it was decided that rather than re-equip Lots Road, it would continue to operate until the machinery's life was expired. It remained in operation until being shut down on 21 October 2002. Since then, all power for the tube system is supplied from the National Grid.


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