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Report - NGTE Pyestock, Fleet - 21.09.08

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Partimer, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Partimer

    Partimer 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    The Pyestock Experience.

    Someone on another forum had mentioned that there hadn't been any reports from Pyestock for a while and as it's been on my list of places to see...

    Thanks to the information on Simon Cornwell's excellent http://www.ngte.co.uk/ site I was able to go prepared with some of the history and more importantly a map of this vast site.

    I left home whilst it was still dark but had forgot my map of how to get there. :rolleyes: I drove round for a while and eventually found a place to park. I walked of into the woods that surround Pyestock, not 100% sure of where I was... even still, the sun was just coming up, the moon was still visible and the sky was clear. I had a good feeling about today.

    I managed to get passed the perimeter fence and proceeded to make my way a long way round to where I thought I wanted to get into the site. Up through the undergrowth towards the herras fence as Pyestock started to reveal itself...

    [​IMG]

    There was a low buzzing noise as I approced the internal herras fence and as I got closer I realised that I had come out of the woods by the main CEGB electrical station. Not quite where I had planned but it would do. The amount of electricity that must of been required to power this place would of run a small city and it was unerving to still hear it buzzing.

    Now that I had my bearings next was the herras. I struggled a bit with this and made things worse by dropping down and getting a foot full of boggy water. Okay - not very comfortable but I at least I was in.

    Concious of what others have said about security, I was in some small way grateful that I was on my own. Stealth drops expodentialy with the more people your with and I was walking, stopping and listening every 20 steps.

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    Round the CEGB enclosure to be greeted by Pyestock's iconic blue pipes and onto Cell 3 West.
    Quote: Cell 3 West was built as a capability enhancement to Cell 3, specifically designed for the new generation of high bypass ratio, civil turbofan engines. Its air drying and large capacity air cooler allowed icing tests to be performed on engine/intake combinations and helicopter roter blades.

    The shear scale of the design, manufacture and fabrication of this place suddenly hit me. But hey - this is where they tested jet engines!

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    On I crept trying to stay in cover, trying to keep my time on the miles of road to a minimum. Onto the the CECA plant:

    [​IMG]

    After consulting the map I decided to take a look at the Air House Cooling Towers. A path down the side of this building was slightly overgrown or I could chose the less overgrown part down the small bank. People talk about luck and being busted... I'm not sure about that - it's all about the decisions you make. Some are lucky others aren't!

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    I took the path looking for a doorway and the path starts becoming more and more overgrown. My jeans are starting to get wet in the dew and I'm wondering whether I should drop down the bank. Suddenly I hear a voice and a cough and I drop like a stone.

    I'm now shitting it. I don't want to meet the Gurka's!

    I hear it again - walking towards me. The blood is thumping in my ears and I'm trying to stop the condensation from my breathing from rising up from the undergrowth like a chimney. I can't hear him walking until he hacks and gobs what seems to be right next to me. Then nothing. I wait and wait and wait. Do I go back the way I came? Do I follow him? Do I just stay here for a while longer.

    I make a decision and follow him. Turn out that if I had doubled back I might of bumped into him coming back round the building as that was the only route out.

    Quote: Security are now active. Confirmed.

    Next the Air House.
    Quote: When existing testing facilities at Pyestock couldn't cope with the next generation of gas turbine and the move to supersonic, a huge expansion of the site was built to the north west. The Air House, with its eight GEC compressor/exhauster gas turbines, simply had two functions: to blow air at supersonic speeds through a test cell or to suck air at supersonic speeds through a test cell.
    Whilst this sounds extremely impressive, the interior views are even more so. The GEC gas turbines are all still in-situ in the massive turbine hall, watched over by the impressive modernised control room.


    And impressive it is. Wow. F*ck!ng WoW!

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    Each of these GEC turbines have their own sub-station complete with CO2 suppression. A wise choice seeing as it takes 11,000 volts to drive them :eek:

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    And under each of them sits a Warrington Simpson behmoth.

    [​IMG]

    Next onto the Plant House.
    Quote: Built in 1955, it was to be the penultimate test cell facility at Pyestock (as space was left for a ram-jet test cell to its east and the Battle Test House). The machine hall dominates the centre of the building, the cavernous space host to three huge turbines which supplied or sucked air to the combustion, turbine and compressor rigs in separate rooms to the north and south.

    Once again I was greated by an enormous space housing huge pieces of machinery. I crept through with the building creaking and pigeons flapping, I wondered what it would of been like to work here when it would of been so full of noise and life.

    [​IMG]

    Yep - just the motor rotor weight is 10.5 tons. The rest combined weighs even more.

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    Complete with Vintage Control Panel.

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    Power Security are obviously aware of this site as they have been graffing things like 'Power Security Rules' on the blackboards in buildings. I found this quite amusing but also made me accutley aware that the real message was 'We now patrol inside the buildings.'

    [​IMG]

    Next on through Cells 1 & 2 as I couldn't find a way in, I slip into the Assembly Bay 547 which is where I spy a problem.

    [​IMG]

    Lee's Demolition are on site. They've put herras round The Assembly Bays and No.1 Workshop and have 2 machines on site. There is evidence of recent large scale copper stripping going on in a lot of the buildings.

    I'm gutted. Not just because demo might be starting but because that's now blocking my way to another part of the site I wanted to look at.

    So I decide to go and investigate Cell 4.
    Quote: The test cell inside this building is probably unique in the world. This huge mass of pipes, doors, ducts and sensors was built as a free jet supersonic wind tunnel, capable of flying a Concorde power plant at Concorde's cruise condition i.e. Mach 2 at 60,000 feet.

    It's completely sealed up except for one panel where they've ripped out some copper, but again the scale of construction is impressive.

    [​IMG]

    And more blue pipes coming out of the western elevation.

    [​IMG]

    It's at this point I realise that the Sigma Building to the north of the site has been modernised and is in use. There's even a camper van in the car park. :crazy

    Time to head for No.10 Exhauster.
    Quote: Despite the sheer force produced by the Air House, it simply couldn't deliver enough power. Cell 4 was later extended to accommodate more exhauster plant (which was labelled number 9), so when another test cell was planned, a separate building housing a lone gas turbine to act as an additional exhauster was also completed. And was known as number 10.

    The Parsons turbine sits in solitude...

    [​IMG]

    ... with it's own control room.

    [​IMG]

    It's now nearing midday and I'm close to where I came in so I decide to call it a day. I jump the herras and make way cautiously through the undergrowth all the way back to the car.



    It saddens me to think that this site was once full of cutting edge British engineering in it's hey-day.... now it looks like it might be levelled and become a supermarket distrubution centre.

    Some like Pyestock; others don't. I'm just glad I've seen a small part of it and felt the history of the place.

    Thanks for reading.
     

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