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Pylon of the Month



September’s Pylon of the Month is a minute little bit of a retro photo that I took myself on a Holga digicam which is a “goal cult basic of analogue pictures” per this Lomography internet build. I’m silent experimenting with it as you are going to have the capability to model from the truth that the image above comprises part of the previous and following frames and I made up my tips to retain that in the (doubtlessly ineffective) hope that it could perhaps most likely glimpse a minute bit more arty and experimental.

Anyway, the represent is of the Cowley substation near Oxford (and Didcot vitality station) where the 400 kV traces from Didcot earn stepped down to 132 kV.  The marvellous ‘Excessive Voltage Substations in the United Kingdom‘ is your dash to source for data while you happen to are procuring for one thing identical on your part of the UK.  The Electrical Engineering Portal tells us that Excessive voltage substations

are parts in the vitality gadget where vitality could perhaps furthermore very well be pooled from generating sources, distributed and transformed, and delivered to the weight parts. Substations are interconnected with every other so as that the vitality gadget becomes a meshed community. This increases the reliability of the vitality offer gadget by offering alternate paths for float of vitality to address any contingency so as that vitality offer to the loads is maintained and the mills assemble now not face any outage.

I in particular like the busbars that could perhaps furthermore very well be viewed in the background and they offer the represent a futuristic vibe. As you methodology the build, the contrast to the golf green fields sloping down to the nearby River Thames is in particular inserting.  The Cowley substation has furthermore been in the guidelines goal goal nowadays because it the build for the largest hybrid battery ever deployed. The 50 MW battery will vitality a 10 km community of electrical car cost parts. This energy superhub is most foremost to enhance the more frequent exercise of electrical vehicles and the charging parts they’ll want in Oxford. It needs to be carried out by 2022.


July’s pylon of the month is an attractive mannequin made by a pylon fan who had this to affirm:

The structure of the pylons is a extremely consuming form to me and I basically luxuriate in goal goal nowadays made an “natural pylon” out of twigs and branches which had been gathered whilst out walking my dogs……I am now not tremendous if there will be a requirement for this as a creative verbalize, but it undoubtedly is one thing I enjoyed building even supposing it took longer than I in the begin thought!

The shadow solid by this month’s pylon is furthermore a thing of beauty and the stage of consideration to ingredient is extraordinarily one thing.


The sizable majority of pylons that feature on the weblog are right lifestyles pylons that could perhaps furthermore very well be visited, but through the years there had been a pair of objects or other creative choices. There became as soon as a pylon tattoo help in October 2012, adopted in December 2013 by a Meccano pylon as well as others that luxuriate in the ‘Art’ mark linked to the put up.  

Now for a minute bit more technical ingredient about using wood in right lifestyles in preference to in mannequin pylons. Wood poles in the UK are broken-down for lower voltage traces (33 kV and 11 kV) and likewise you model them alongside paths and near residential areas where the voltage has been stepped down from the most foremost transmission community.  For photos and cramped print of the loads of kinds of vitality traces, this internet build is an trusty and moderately straightforward handbook.

That’s obsessed with this month. Extra pylon action here subsequent month or while you happen to would in actual fact like more frequent pylon action on your lifestyles then dash to Twitter and Instagram @pylonofthemonth.

Untitled picture

After a pylonless April, I made up my tips that May perhaps presumably well needs to be a pylon represent that I had taken myself in preference to 1 in every of the assorted sent in on a traditional basis by fans of the on-line build.  Near where I are living a pair of miles south of Oxford is a part of the Nationwide Cycle Route 5.  A mile or so north along the (newly improved) route from Sandford Lock you pass interior a pair of metres of the wonder in the foreground of the photo appearing as a body for the subsequent two pylons in the road.  It’s seemingly you’ll well furthermore cease and like the size and scale of it from up finish (and underneath for that matter) old to you proceed alongside the River Thames to Oxford.  Peek more sparsely at the represent however and likewise you have to per chance well model that there are four pylons and this total build is a pylon rich ambiance thanks to the proximity of Didcot Energy Feature.  If it is miles a scorching day and likewise you take out to chilly off in the river as part of your day out, watch out about taking a dip with out being mindful of a finish-by hazard.

Sandford Lasher, or weir, is on the left bank well upstream of Sandford Lock. The pool below the weir has been notorious for the reason that 19th century thanks to the assorted of different folks who luxuriate in drowned there.

Despite having lived there for 16 years, I’d never heard of it old to but it undoubtedly’s critical sufficient for the J. Paul Getty Museum to luxuriate in a photo from 1872 in their assortment.

I’m now not as correct at identifying the loads of pylon designs as I needs to be, but I judge these are L6 pylons but I’d be elated to be corrected if I’m immoral.  This internet page from Flash Bristow’s internet build is an trusty build to originate while you happen to must know more about the loads of sorts of pylons. A rapidly take a look at confirms that it is on a 400 kV line as shown on the launch infrastructure draw, one other colorful source of data about the electricity transmission community in the UK.  At the nearby Cowley sub-station, the 400 kV line will get stepped down to a various of 132 kV traces and one other rich source of data about sub-stations in the UK is the Wikipedia internet page on Excessive Voltage substations in the United Kingdom.  So there you luxuriate in it for one other month; native historical past, a toddle of culture courtesy of a Los Angeles museum and arcane technical data about pylons and electricity transmission networks.  Advance help for more subsequent month!


March became as soon as slipping away, but like an abominable lot of different folks, I get myself spending more time at dwelling and so there in actual fact is not very any excuse now to not earn writing.  Normal lifestyles could perhaps furthermore goal be suspended for rather a pair of us in the mean time, however the other folks working at vitality stations are very crucial and so their work goes on as, I’m tremendous, does the work of any individual working on the electricity distribution gadget.  They deserve our grateful thanks.

March’s pylon became as soon as sent in by a fan of the on-line build earlier this month after he became as soon as distracted on an early morning hotfoot near the River Tyne.  The pylon above is on the south aspect of the river, but there became as soon as furthermore an image of the pylon on the north bank which I’ve integrated at the foot of this put up.  They are splendidly atmospheric images and I’m shy that I will’t resist the bustle to encompass a link to Fog on the Tyne by Lindisfarne, the English folk rock band from Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The e-mail that I got furthermore integrated the revelation that: 

… a aged electricity community firm (Northern Powergrid) employee and prolonged-duration of time energy networks geek, I basically luxuriate in easiest goal goal nowadays found your pylon of the month internet page, and am upset that I basically had been lacking out for see you later!

I’m elated to welcome one other pylon fan into the fold.  The e-mail went on to affirm that “Right here is now not removed from the Stella North and Stella South GSPs”. For those now not in the electricity distribution sport (me integrated – thank you Google), GSP is an acronym for Grid Provide Point and is a “Programs Connection Point at which the Transmission Machine is linked to a Distribution Machine”. I’m now not tremendous that I’m too noteworthy the wiser as a outcomes of having looked it up, but as a outcomes of doing so I did glimpse that Stella North and Stella South had been two vitality stations that luxuriate in now been demolished.   Stella South, a coal-fired 300 MW vitality station, became as soon as constructed on the build of the critical Blaydon races which provides me an excuse for one other musical interlude.  It has been replaced by a housing property.

That’s obsessed with now, although with easiest a week of March left, you received’t must wait too prolonged for one other pylon.  Until then, preserve stable.

North (1)


After a dry January on the pylon front (but now not on the alcohol front….), February’s pylon is a cracker. As with so many of the photos on the weblog, it became as soon as equipped by a fan of the on-line build and the e-mail that accompanied the represent is an inspiration to pylon fans in every single build.

We luxuriate in always had a fascination with pylons, living on a farm as adolescence we would on the total stroll out into the fields and stand below them and wonder. 

The represent became as soon as taken near the village of Claxton in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.  My easiest confer with to that build became as soon as finish to 25 years ago and a minute little bit of Googling led me to the build I stayed; The White Swan in Pickering.  It became as soon as easy to monitor down because finish to basically the most straight forward thing I remembered about the preserve became as soon as the gargantuan various of St. Emillion wines.  Or now not it is correct to glimpse that nothing has changed in the intervening years on the wine front!

Anyway help to the pylons and to the guidelines equipped by the photographer.

Two high voltage vitality traces wicked paths, and in expose to enable one to pass below the opposite a neat pylon has been constructed for one vitality line, while the opposite vitality line has been split into two smaller pylons that pass below the upper vitality line. 

Then there is a lyrical passage that could undoubtedly elicit nods of recognition from readers of this weblog.

I judge there is a beauty to this structure. Before the complete lot in a mathematical sense, the symmetry of this association of the pylons and the geometric shapes setting up the actual person objects. But furthermore in the sense of how these silent giants contrast so carefully with their pure atmosphere but managed to mix in so ignored by so many as in the event that they had been simply bushes that had always been there. There could be furthermore the truth that these objects expend such importance to on a typical basis lifestyles, and that hours upon hours of thought will of gone into the placement and form of this structure by the hands of engineers – goal for them to peacefully mix away to the countryside: seen by easiest a pair of.


Pylon (1) (1)

December’s pylon of the month is one other first for the weblog as the observant amongst you luxuriate in already got seen.  It is an absence of pylon or a pylon of the creativeness, now not less than in the represent above.  I seen it on Twitter goal goal nowadays where it became as soon as posted by @geospacedman with the following description:

Contrails? No, electricity cables backlit by building works lights over the hill. I judge there’s a pylon in this shot but invisible.

For those who are now not elated with the vitality of their creativeness and want to glimpse it in right lifestyles, you prefer to pass to the cycle course from Lancaster College into Lancaster.  Or now not it is miles the transmission line by the middle of this draw below taking a see west towards the pylon goal over the railway line.  

In accordance with Susan Hill in this Guardian article, ghost tales fulfil a basic human want and since the creator of the very repulsive Lady in Sad, she could perhaps furthermore goal silent know.  I’m taking a see at this represent and already thinking of prolonged demolished pylons that reappear on particular nights when challenging happen in the native vicinity.  I’m thinking of a light misty evening, walking dwelling by myself when the buzzing noise that you simply earn from pylon traces in damp weatheris heard as a warning of coming near demise; a more or less electrical banshee.  Need I’m going on?  Perchance you are already taking a see at the represent above, feeling a shiver hotfoot down your spine and swearing never to maneuver by myself near pylon traces at tiresome evening.  On the other hand perhaps now not.  

Merry Christmas to Pylon fans in every single build and jam you again in 2020.  Whenever you are going to have the capability to’t wait unless then, you have to per chance well well furthermore always make investments in one in every of those dazzling Christmas tree decorations.


1.  That sound has a title, per BC Hydro specialist engineer Mazana Armstrong.  Corona, Latin for crown, is the title for the sparkling “crown” of cramped sparks that could perhaps well, very every so continuously, be visible around equipment much like vitality traces and insulators. Or now not it is this crown that causes the occasional buzzing and crackling that you simply are going to have the capability to listen to…..”Water droplets like rain, snow, or even fog and mist, help slump the electrical breakdown of the air particles, making the corona louder and more straightforward to listen to,” she says.


October slipped by with out a pylon and November became as soon as in grave risk of going the identical plot unless two issues came about.  One became as soon as a comment on the weblog asking when the subsequent pylon became as soon as going to be posted and the opposite became as soon as a confer with to Geneva where I saw this beauty.  But it wasn’t goal Geneva, this pylon is completely interior the cathedral of physics that is the ‘Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire‘ or CERN because it is know during the enviornment.  As a Physics teacher here’s about as correct because it will get and so how could perhaps furthermore I presumably resist.

CERN makes exercise of rather a minute little bit of electricity when it is up and running:

At height consumption, on the total from May perhaps presumably well to mid-December, CERN makes exercise of about 200 megawatts of vitality, which is a pair of third of the amount of energy broken-down to feed the nearby metropolis of Geneva in Switzerland.

The annual electricity bill is about €60 million but about 90% of this is linked to the operation of the accelerators and in the mean time, the Gargantuan Hadron Collider, is shut down for upkeep and enhance work so there whoever has the job of feeding coins into the electricity meter needs to be having an effortless lifestyles.


This second prolonged shutdown (LS2) is attributable to be carried out by early summer 2020.  Until about March visiting CERN is well value the effort as you are going to have the capability to earn underground and glimpse around in a wat that goal is now not imaginable when the complete lot is up and running.  Earn there whilst you are going to have the capability to!


This month’s pylon is from Italy and could perhaps well well goal silent be in particular liked by pylon fans of a bibulous disposition. It became as soon as sent in by a fan of the on-line build and became as soon as taken in the Piedmont relate of northwest Italy.  In explicit,  the vineyards of Barbaresco, and per wine-searcher:

Barbaresco is one in every of the gargantuan wines of the Piedmont relate in northwestern Italy. Historically it became as soon as known as Nebbiolo di Barbaresco (Nebbiolo being the grape it is comprised of) and became as soon as broken-down by the Austrian Normal Melas to celebrate his victory over the French in 1799.

Such is the wonder and distinctiveness of this part of the enviornment, that in 2014 it became as soon as recognised as a World Heritage Feature because ‘……the Piedmont vineyards present outstanding living testimony to winegrowing and winemaking traditions that stem from a prolonged historical past, and which had been consistently improved and tailored as much as the present day’.

So pylon fans heading for this part of the enviornment can tick off the slightly beautiful asymmetric pylons in the winery old to retiring to a bar to pattern the native wine.  In doing so, it’d be wise to assemble particular the adaptation between the 2 native wines Barolo and Barbaresco is successfully liked.  

The principle incompatibility in Barolo and Barbaresco is in the soils. The soil in Barbaresco is richer in nutrients and, thanks to this, the vines don’t earn as noteworthy tannin as found in the wines of Barolo. Both wines scent of roses, body spray and cherry sauce — and they each and each luxuriate in a extremely prolonged assemble. The adaptation is in the taste on the mid-palate; the tannin received’t hit you rather as laborious in the Barbaresco.

The quote above is from wine folly and with loads of wine ideas to expend a see at out, oenophile pylon fans will be in heaven.


July’s pylon is one other Wiltshire pylon and the red sky and clouds present an incredible looking out backdrop to its dazzling silhouette.  There is well one thing here for the cloud spotters and the photographers, but you are going to have the capability to take out the Stockbridge dampers and two units of ceramic insulator discs so there is furthermore one thing there for hardcore pylon spotters.  It became as soon as sent in by a fan of the on-line build and is on the A350 in Chippenham, near the Premier Inn.  Pylon fans attempting to get an excuse for a road time out could perhaps furthermore assemble worse than heading down the M4 to Chippenham, which :

….enjoys a recognition as a flourishing and exciting market metropolis, with a compact centre and thriving commercial lifestyles, it has been granted Red Flag Space for its nightlife.

By no formula heard of the Red Flag Blueprint? No, me neither so let’s educate ourselves by the Association of Town & City Management (ATCM) internet build:

The Red Flag traditional, launched in 2012, is an accreditation course of equivalent to the Green Flag award for parks and the Blue Flag for beaches. It permits people of the final public to hasty identify metropolis & metropolis centres that offer an fascinating, various, stable and appetizing evening out.  

If you luxuriate in ticked the pylon off your to assemble list and perhaps enjoyed a evening out in Chippenham there  are loads of locations to confer with because:

The gargantuan homes and artwork treasures of Longleat, Bowood, Corsham Court, Lacock Abbey and Dyrham Park are interior easy reach, as is Castle Combe Racing Circuit.

That’s all of us – more pylon action subsequent month or while you happen to basically can’t wait then dash to @pylonofthemonth on Twitter.


June’s Pylon of the Month is an absolute cracker that I first came across on Twitter courtesy of @CPF_Photography who then proper gave permission for me to make exercise of it.  It became as soon as taken in Birmingham near one in every of the metropolis’s many canals and for more fabulous Birmingham images glimpse on the CPF pictures internet build.  Let’s take care of Birmingham and canals old to we earn into the pylons themselves.  A rapidly google search will mask claims that Birmingham has more canals than Venice with 35 miles of waterways in comparison with Venice’s 26 miles.  It appears to be like to be goal but as the Nationwide Community Boats Association parts out:

It’s at the heart of England’s canal community and has 35 miles of waterways so it does technically luxuriate in more than the 26 miles of navigations you’ll get in Venice. But Birmingham is much greater than Venice, so the density of canals there makes them a noteworthy more outstanding feature of the metropolis. Also, the canals of Venice are wide, whereas Birmingham’s waterways are slim.

My elder son is at university in Birmingham and so I’ve been there loads of cases in the closing couple of years, however the canals luxuriate in yet to feature on my time out itinerary.  That clearly needs to be rectified as soon as imaginable.

Now to more pylon linked complications.  The very first thing that struck me when taking a see at the photo is the fabulous reflection in the canal of the pylon in the foreground.  Extra careful inspection printed that this foreground pylon is a terminator pylon – the stop of the road where the cables dash down to assemble at a sub-station in preference to continuing to 1 other pylon. This became as soon as hasty adopted by noticing that the subsequent two pylons further help glimpse loads of with two ‘ears’ in preference to a single apex.  The 2 pylons further help are, however, an incredible line and I must confess at this point that I’m now not entirely tremendous why they luxuriate in two ‘ears’.  I assemble know that the skinny wire running by the discontinuance of more traditional pylons is an earth wire designed to offer protection to the pylons from lightning strikes but why two?  I glimpse forward to learning more so as that I will wicked it off my ‘issues I silent want to perceive about pylons’ list.  Despite the total time I’ve spent writing about pylons through the years and the truth that I’m a Physics teacher here’s silent rather a prolonged list. Let me know while you happen to’ll have the capability to help to shorten it a minute bit…..

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