A substation at Greenham Common

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Alansworld

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While on routine patrol at Greenham Common with my drone the other day I spotted something which I needed to investigate:

1.jpg


Later on I walked round to the object with camera and drone and found this:
3.jpg


Taking to the air I took a few pics:
6.jpg



7.jpg


8.jpg


A derelict substation!

Ignoring rumours I had heard regarding the fence itself being an antenna and transmitting bad things upwards which would down a drone, I ventured over the fence:

10.jpg


The drone did not self-destruct.


Next to the substation I'd spotted something else. Poking the camera as close to the fence as poss, I got a bit of a view of it:

10a.jpg


Close investigation from aloft revealed this, which appeared to be something vaguely electrical.

12.jpg


So the object is an electrical substation with, close by, a fat cable installation.

To the best of my knowledge there are three of these substations. You can spot one of the other in my first picture, just above the first T of 'what is this'. Another lies at the other end of the GAMA fencing.

I hope you find this of interest.
 

BikinGlynn

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Poss had a generator in the enclosed room? it looks similar toteh generator house at RAF Grafton near me
 

Hayman

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Poss had a generator in the enclosed room? it looks similar toteh generator house at RAF Grafton near me
But why the blast walls, but no roof? And why was the building at an angle to the road? The concrete block with the two truncated cables could have been for a CCTV camera on a mast.
 

sutts

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The building with the roof is the substation that receives the high voltage 10000V supply and contains the high and medium voltage switch gear and transformers. The open enclosure with blast walls is an M&E Plinth which takes the medium voltage and converts it to a useable 3 phase supply for the local area.
 

Hayman

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The building with the roof is the substation that receives the high voltage 10000V supply and contains the high and medium voltage switch gear and transformers. The open enclosure with blast walls is an M&E Plinth which takes the medium voltage and converts it to a useable 3 phase supply for the local area.
Thanks for the info
 

Alansworld

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The building with the roof is the substation that receives the high voltage 10000V supply and contains the high and medium voltage switch gear and transformers. The open enclosure with blast walls is an M&E Plinth which takes the medium voltage and converts it to a useable 3 phase supply for the local area.
Thanks for this info Sutts. useful to know. The roofed building has steel doors on the outside, which are well welded shut. However, peering though small gaps by the hinges you can see it's now empty.
 

Hayman

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Thanks for the info
Just to add, the heavily-built substation is the very opposite of switchgear in fully open compounds with nothing more than high wire mesh fences, and they were just safety precautions against the general public or others coming too close. Large oil-filled transformers open to the elements were readily visible. I still not see the reason here for what look like blast walls, with the maze-like narrow ways in or out.
 

sutts

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Most wartime plinths had blast walls. I guess it provided some protection from attack while not being overly expensive. As you say, the plinth equipment is not affected by the weather in the same way the high voltage equipment in the substation might be.
 

john1975

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The idea of the walls is for the protection of the incoming supply, otherwise, you could knock out the entire operational ability of the base with simple small arms fire..
 

Hayman

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The idea of the walls is for the protection of the incoming supply, otherwise, you could knock out the entire operational ability of the base with simple small arms fire..
True - I was forgettiing the war time aspect. A mortar shell aimed to drop inside the walled area would have been more tricky.
 

Currymonster

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But why the blast walls, but no roof? And why was the building at an angle to the road? The concrete block with the two truncated cables could have been for a CCTV camera on a mast.
A local brewery has just opened in a WW2 era building here that was part of the war materiel assembly area (east coast US), it talks about the construction of the building, basically built like a brick shithouse, but the roof can blow easily, in case of an "incident". Possible it's made along the same lines?
 

Pastybarm

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thanks for the pics and report, I always find abandoned brick buildings interesting, and looking at what is on google maps and then going for a look, and wondering what purpose they once had. Is it partially in use still, as there is a fenced off area on the compound where the cables ran underground (not sure if I am correct?).
 
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-harleyd-

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thanks for the pics and report, I always find abandoned brick buildings interesting, and looking at what is on google maps and then going for a look, and wondering what purpose they once had. Is it partially in use still, as there is a fenced off area on the compound where the cables ran underground (not sure if I am correct?).
One side of the fenced off area is open to the public, the other side is a "Designated National Monument" and is private property (I think Copart use the former Gama site to store cars). It is however no longer in use as its original purpose since the US Airforce buggered off home and took their cruise missles with them.
 

Pastybarm

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It is however no longer in use as its original purpose since the US Airforce buggered off home and took their cruise missles with them.

With current events, I bet they wish they still had the place. Thanks for the reply.
 

Benjy41

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The building you spotted is actually aligned to the orientation of the large squarish hardstanding visible to the left of the subject building in your top photograph. They are known in RAF terms as M&E plinths. Mechanical and Electrical Plinths carry cables, transformers and switchgear. This is a fancy version which includes a covered building. They normally control all manner of airfield lighting.
 

Hayman

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The building you spotted is actually aligned to the orientation of the large squarish hardstanding visible to the left of the subject building in your top photograph. They are known in RAF terms as M&E plinths. Mechanical and Electrical Plinths carry cables, transformers and switchgear. This is a fancy version which includes a covered building. They normally control all manner of airfield lighting.
Absolutely right. No surprise that it was aligned with something larger than itself.
 

David Edge

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Blast walls and roof: I'm no expert, but isn't the point of the blast wall to direct the blast upwards should the transformer or switchgear to decide to explode? In which case a roof would be counter productive. Our local 132/33kV substation has tall but very slender blast walls which would never survive an explosion were there a roof.
 

Hayman

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Blast walls and roof: I'm no expert, but isn't the point of the blast wall to direct the blast upwards should the transformer or switchgear to decide to explode? In which case a roof would be counter productive. Our local 132/33kV substation has tall but very slender blast walls which would never survive an explosion were there a roof.
Or were the walls to protect the equipment from external attack, rather than internal explosion? I've walked by countless substations in built-up areas, all with roofs. If the roofs are just to keep off rain and snow, they can be constructed of very light materials.
 

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