Peering into a manhole chamber

Dear readers, I’m sure you will know of my curiosity of looking into holes, whatever kind they are. In today’s peering into a manhole I was alerted by the flashing yellow lights on the vehicle. They are almost magnetic in drawing me in.

The result of my peering was most interesting. The two engineers were fitting a devices into a waste water sewer manhole. While it’s not far from our home, I’ve never previously seen inside. It was much larger that I’d anticipated. The two devices that were fitted were a level sensor on the flow of the waste water – an HWM SonicSens3 – and a data logger for general sewer monitoring – HWM Intelliegens WW. The data is transmitted through an integral modem back to Thames Water. The internal battery is said to have a life of 5 years.

I do recall many years ago that this waste water pipe became blocked, and overflowed, requiring to be flushed and subsequently given an environmental clean of the surrounding area. Perhaps that’s why this particular manhole was fitted with these devices. The engineers did say that they already fitted three such devices that day, with more to do after this one.

Having taken a photo of the manhole interior I checked on the names on the devices and found that they are manufactured by a British-owned company. The company is Halma plc. I trawled round their website and became most impressed, there’s a high percentage of women in senior roles.


Traffic cones in Camberley High Street

While not thinking about it in great detail, I’ve had a sort of mental niggle for quite some time about the poor definition between road, pavement, and parking in Camberley High Street.

We visited Camberley yesterday for an appointment at Specsavers. I noticed that the High Street had a profusion of traffic cones that were placed on the pavement to deter parking. Using traffic cones is no substitute to having considered that random parking would be a likely occurrence.

Pleasing improvements to Knoll Walk in Camberely

Before Christmas we visited Camberley town centre, where I was pleased to see that Knoll Walk, the footpath between Knoll Road and the High Street, was open. Surrey Heath Council’s latest update on Knoll Walk renovations says,

The walkway is now open to pedestrians. Improvement works are now taking place.  The improvements will bring new trees, a green wall of plants, seating and lighting to this area. The new lighting fixtures are now in place and the majority of the paving is now complete.  The street furniture is in the process of being installed.

I’m pleasantly surprised at the improvements, about which I originally had reservations  Here’s my photo of the status of the work.

Definition needed between pavement and road in Camberley High Street

On Monday, after my eye test, I looked at the work to revive Camberley’s High Street and side roads. I like the new High Street pavement surface and see improvement in Knoll Walk and Princess Way. I also like the new lighting on the High Street.

Ok, praise given, now for my gripes. The tarmac part of the High Street is poor. It looks unfinished, which I hope is the case. The definition between pavement and road is unclear, primarily because of the number of places where tarmac has been bunched up to the pavement edge. The empty shop at the top of the High Street as it meets St George’s Road sets a very poor aspect to the new road works. Good quality hoarding with appealing decoration would hide this horror.

Here’s my photographic evidence, taken on Monday this week. click on images to expand.

Travelling on old tube trains in the Isle of Wight

A fun day out for us is a day trip to the Isle of Wight. I’ve previously talked about such day trips to the Island on this blog. Choosing fine weather for a day trip In late October, we parked our car in Gun Wharf Keys in Portsmouth, then a short walk through Portsmouth Harbour train station to the Isle of Wight fast ferry terminal.

In just 30 minutes or so the fast ferry arrives at Ryde Pier Head. There’s then a choice, a half mile walk along the pier to Ryde Esplanade or catch a tube train from the pier head to Ryde, which is what we did. Sad chap that I am, one of the reasons for the day trip was a last trip on the 83 year old tube trains before they are removed from service at the end of this year.

We travelled on the tube train to Ryde and then by bus to – I’ll tell you about this later. Returning to Ryde from our visit we caught a tube train from Ryde to Ryde Pier Head. I captured the tube train experience on a video, which I’m sharing with you below.

Footpath re-routings due to impending new Esso fuel pipeline

Alerted by a friend about a notice about a footpath re-routing, I had the opportunity yesterday to check on that notice. I walked from Deepcut back to Lightwater via the track alongside the Bisley and Pirbright ranges, which is designated footpath 126a.

I firstly came across a notice on a path alongside the Maultway in Heatherside. See photos below numbers 1 and 2. The notice shows a small footpath re-routing – nothing significant. One wonders why this should be. Then later on my walk I saw a notice about the compulsory purchase of land by the Southampton to London Pipeline project, and it all became clear. The footpath re-routing is connected to the Esso Pipeline.

Much further on on my walk I saw the notice about the footpath re-routing through Folly Bog. See remaining photos. What does surprise in this notice is that footpath 126a is considered to run along side the range fence line through Folly Bog. This is not sensible footpath as it crosses the stream emanating from Chobham Ridges, and it very boggy. I’ve walked the route just the once in dry condition. Even then I had to take special care with each step.

I do not see any objection to these re-routings. Click on the photos to expand.

Update on Broadway Road drainage works

Me, I do like peering into holes in the ground. I couldn’t, therefore, resist re-visiting the Broadway Road drainage works in Windlesham. To see the details about the works, Windlesham Parish Council has it HERE.

There is, however, no explanation of the what the work entails, nor a detailed explanation of the reason for the work. All I learned from questioning the workers on site was that an underground chamber associated with drainage from the M3 motorway was faulty in some way, which they said led to road flooding, necessitating its replacement.

Have to say, I remain unclear as to the purpose of the sump or chamber, and where the water goes after crossing the road. I’m presuming that it somehow finds its way into Windlesham Brook.

Here are the photos I took a couple of days ago on the current state of the works. Click on images to expand.

The Maultway sarsen stone happily sitting in its new home

Yesterday I took a longer constitutional walk than I’ve done recently. Up the heathland track alongside Red Road, to the Maultway roundabout with Red Road, and then through the MOD vehicle test track and back home.

Reaching the island at the Maultway with Red Road, I crossed over to visit the sarsen stone, over which there was much discussion about its future during the recent road widening.

I can report that it sits happily in its new home. I also read a couple of notices at the entry to the test track. See photos of both below. In looking back at my writings on the Maultway sarsen stone I realised that I’m repeating myself, a consequence of lockdown. I’m not currently venturing far from home.

The Island Line receives an investment boost

A day trip to the Isle of Wight is a regular favourite of ours – though not in lockdown times. Portsmouth to Ryde on the ferry is our preferred route. Where to then, we sometimes take the tube train or occasionally a bus from Ryde.

I’ve discussed the state and future of the Island Line in The uncertain future of tube trains on the Isle of Wight. I’ve also commented of the joys of train travel on the island in A magical day out to the Isle of Wight, and of fun to be had at Brading station.

It’s pleasure to report on something annouced last year, which I missed. It’s the £26 million investment in new trains and track for the Island Line. The troubles of the current tube trains are that they are over 80 years old, and were last given a major overhaul in 1990. Here are the announcements,

Here are the proposals for the Island Line upgrade,

September 2019 Island Line investment announcement made at Brading
Late 2019-2020 Build of new Vivarail Class 484 trains begins at Long Marston, Midlands
Late 2019 onwards Design and planning work for Island Line infrastructure
April 2020 Testing begins on first Class 484 Island Line unit
Spring 2020 Wifi and Ticket Machines installed at stations
Summer 2020 First Class 484 train arrives on the Isle of Wight for testing
October/November 2020 More new Class 484 carriages arrive on the Isle of Wight
Winter 2020/2021 Disruption during infrastructure works – shuttle service in operation
February 2021 Final new Class 484 carriages delivered
March 2021 Last 1938 stock Island Line train decommissioned
May 2021 Brand new timetable introduced with new trains

Camberley views No.2: London Road shop frontages between High Street and Park Street

Here’s another view of Camberley. This time it’s the run of shops on the London Road between the High Street and Park Street. It’s an unloved part of Camberley, referred to as the London Road Development by Surrey Heath Borough Council.

Below is an artists impression of the proposal, and below that are my photos of the existing shop frontages. They are a sorry sight to behold. The council, in their March 2020 update, say,

The development will take place in three phases and is likely to take approximately eight to ten years to complete. Due to the complexity of developing a planning application for a scheme of this scale and ambition, the development is at least two years away from the start of demolition and construction work for Phase 1. Until then, the area is very much open for business!

There are lots of fantastic, varied independent businesses currently situated in the London Road site including cool bars and restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons, dry-cleaner’s and specialist shops – please continue to visit and support them.

SHBC’s Economic and Development team are providing ongoing support to these businesses to help them find new premises within Camberley or the borough depending on each of the business’ requirements.

I wonder how successful the Council will be in protecting the businesses. Way back, wasn’t there a record store, a second hand book shop, and a golf shop. Is the Angling shop still open, I don’t know. I’d be mightily surprised if Kier, the developers, will be submitting plans any time soon.