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Report - Thorpe Marsh Power Station, December 2010.

Ojay

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Staff member
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#1

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Shouts to Stepping Lightly for making this happen. It's been a big 'to-do' for a while now, but has always ended up on the backburner.

Since my injury last month I wasn't expecting to do any exploring until next year. But after being laid up for 6 weeks I needed to get out and do summat!

Thanks to S.L we were soon on our way, the sun was shining as we approached the site.... perfect.

Some say the 6 huge cooling towers are an eyesore, a blot on the landscape. Pfft, I couldn't disagree more as these grand hyperboloid structures portray an unmeasurable amount of awesomenimity IMHO.

The active part of the site is still owned and manned by National Grid.

I was never going to be stealthy hopping around on crutches, but hey blase was the only way on this occasion.

The site is huge and took it's toll as I struggled about for the best part of 3 hours, but was worth every minute. Naturally S.L climbed every structure in site, which once able bodied will have a crack at too.

I managed the majority of shots myself but again thanks to S.L for using both cameras to capture the more difficult to reach places.

As soon as I can walk I will return.... Me thinks this will make a good playground for the summer :D


A bit of History:

Construction of the station began in 1959, it being built as a prototype for all the large modern power stations in the UK. It was commissioned between 1963 and 1965. It contained 2 generating sets powered by coal, and had a gas turbine set using an industrial static version of a Rolls-Royce Avon aero engine with a capacity of 14.9 MW.

Initially being operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board, the station was operated by National Power following privatisation in 1990.

The station closed a few years later in 1994. The 45 acres (18 ha) site was acquired by Able UK in 1995. Much of the station has been demolished and now only its six cooling towers (each 340 ft (100 m) high and 260 ft (79 m) in diameter at the base), two ash slurry hoppers, railway sidings and the station's large adjacent electricity switching station still remain.

The structures still stand now because it is feared that any explosion would cause the banks of the nearby canal to rupture. They also contain asbestos, which would contaminate land for miles around the site.

There have been several controversial proposals for the site, including a car distribution depot and more recently a huge landfill site, neither of which have proven popular with the local residents.

The power station's cooling towers were featured in the final episode of the 1999 ITV drama, 'The Last Train', and in the first episode of the 2009 Channel 4 drama 'Red Riding'. - (Source Wiki)



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Obligatory Digger shot

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This is where the Coal was brought in by conveyor & rail and dropped into the Hoppers below

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Inside the Coal Shed

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Stairs at the Eastern end of the railway sidings, down to the hoppers/tunnels below

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I couldn't make it down here sadly, so off S.L went to grab a shot for me

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Next up was the Slurry Hoppers, getting close on the cutches was a challenge

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Before I knew it S.L was climbing his way to the top, until 'twang'. Be careful, the stairwell is rotten, descibed as "death on a stick" as one of the sections gave way :eek:

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After 15 minutes or so we headed for a closer look at the Cooling Towers themselves

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One of the Towers still has it's Internals left intact, but sadly I could only make it up one layer, so again off S.L went to grab some more shots...

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S.L. In your towers - Moments before taking this shot 2 doves and several pidgeons flew in past him whilst being chased by a peregrine falcon

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The final level inside the tower, again pic taken by S.L.

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As I waited for him to climb back down, I had a mooch about externally.

Here is where the water would run off and be pumped

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Remains of one of the Shafts used to power the Gas Turbines, now sadly been demo'd

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After a long walk about the site we made our way back to the van, passing the Pumping House

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Internals - Pics taken by S.L using my camera

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Security Lodge

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Gate Controls

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Outta Here

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