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Old December 20th, 2010, 11:59 PM   #1
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Lights at motorways

Maybe some more than me sometimes looking at the lights at the motorways. I think the most classical motorway style of lighting is the twin arm with low pressure sodium lights. When I see that style think that's the real motorway feeling.

But I don't think all of the countries in Europe had low pressure sodium lights. And more and more of them are now replaced by high pressure sodium lights. Maybe more practical and more economic, but not that much motorway feeling around them.

But how many European countries get any low pressure sodium lights? In Sweden most of the motorways had them before, but many are now replaced by high pressure sodium. Same in Croatia and Serbia. They had a lot of low pressure sodium in former of Yugoslavia, but they are also replaced now at many places. Netherlands and UK had a very lot of them, and even more of them in Belgium. I had seen them in Poland, France, Luxembourg, Greece and Italy too. Also in Germany, but they have very few lights at motorways at all. But some of them still exist in Hamburg.

Netherlands and the UK have very similar style of the lights on the motorways. Same luminaries, and same style of twin arm lamp posts. Netherlands and the UK also have a lot of catenary lighting in exactly the same style.

But I think some countries never had any low pressure sodium at all in the history. I have never seen any low pressure sodium in Denmark at all and I think that never existed in Denmark at all. I think that’s the same with Spain and Portugal too. Also in Hungary, Czech republic or Slovakia I think they had never existed.

Do anyone here know more about typical motorway lights?
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Old December 21st, 2010, 03:02 PM   #2
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Interesting topic!
I am from England, Low Pressure Motorway lights (or SOX lamps as they are called) used to be "king" on all UK motorways. Not now...

A great many have been replaced, only about 5% are left. If you see what I mean.

The M6 is having its last bits of orange SOX being replaced right now.
The M2, M4, M5, M11, M20, M26, M27, M42, M65, M65, M66 don't have ANY SOX Orange lamps all...

The M1, M25, M53, M54, M58, M40, M60 and M62 I think have some very small sections of SOX Orange but only a few KM's, if that. I doubt they will last much longer....

Belgium loves SOX lamps, they seem to want to hang on to them!

I am amazed that Germany only has a TINY amount of motorway lighting, considering the extent of the network and unlimited speeds.

I quite like some of the old SOX lamp designs, but to be honest new high pressure sodium lights are better.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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I'm a real fan of SOX lamps.

SOX lamps was the king of the motorways in Sweden too before. If it was lamps at a motorway in Sweden before, it was only SOX lamps.
But also in Sweden only about 5 % are left. Maybe even more are replaced now. Also in Netherlands it looks like they prefer to replace the SOX lamps with high pressure sodium lights. I think also in former of Yugoslavia most of them are replaced now. They had before a lot of beautiful SOX lamps in Belgrade, but they are replaced by high pressure sodium lights at the E70 and E75 in Belgrade. In Stockholm there was a lot of SOX lamps at al motorways there. But they are replaced now. We had before some very nice SOX lamps in Uppsala as well but the last was replaced a few years ago.

But I think Belgium are going to keep their SOX lamps.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 06:37 PM   #4
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you're right about Croatia. we had a plenty of low pressure lights at motorways, but they are changed with high pressure. and those low pressure were really fabolous, i adored them!
anyway, you can find them still on Slavonska avenue in Zagreb (exit Zagreb east and direction west)
Svaki dan sanjam autobahn...
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Old December 21st, 2010, 11:57 PM   #5
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The UK & (I think) the low countries employed SOX almost as standard on all roads, from around the 1970s through to around 2000. Certainly in much of the UK, the only areas that weren't SOX would be older pre-70s installations of mercury or tungsten, with some SON or other form of white light reserved only for downtown areas. It was quite a contrast when going to France or Spain, where only mercury and SON appeared to be used anywhere.

A few European countries, it seems, did use SOX for motorways but very rarely anywhere else. The only SOX I ever saw in Finland was on the motorways around Helsinki (interestingly, they all seemed to be fairly young installations). They still have a surprisingly high amount of residential mercury, depsite the EU planning to ban it. It sounds like Sweden is/was similar to Finland.

Sadly, the UK is getting rid of its SOX at a very fast rate. I'll admit, I never really liked them in residential areas (I still have one opposite my house) but for many main roads, particularly motorways, they seemed ideal. They have less glare than SON and are a lot more energy efficient, which is why it's surprising in these energy-conscious times that SON is taking over in mass. I don't see the point of SON, to be honest. There are better white light sources these days, such as fluorescent and metal halide. I don't think motorways really need lighting for the most part, but where they are lit, it should really be SOX.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 04:10 AM   #6
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In Sweden low pressure sodium lights (SOX) was used most of the times at bigger roads and motorways. But I don't think Sweden and Finland are similar here. I think Finland only have ha few SOX at motorways around Helsinki and only a few of them. I think Sweden is more similar to former of Yugoslavia here. Same sorts of roads with SOX in Sweden had SOX in the former of Yugoslavia too. And also now they replace the SOX to high pressure sodium in Croatia and Serbia at the same way like Sweden.

In Sweden there were SOX lamps at nearly all motorways from 1960s to around 1995. After around 1995 new motorways get high pressure sodium instead of the SOX lamps. But at around 1970 many motorways get SOX lamps just at the motorway. The sliproads around the motorways get only mercury or tungsten lamps. But in Belgrade it was the same. The E70 and E75 in Belgrade had the SOX lamps but mercury or tungsten lamps at the sliproads.

Sometimes some streets at the cities in Sweden had SOX lamps. But most of the streets in 1970s had mercury or tungsten. In restricted areas in Sweden most of the streets had mercury or tungsten, but very few of them could have SOX lamps, but that was very unusual. If there were SOX lamps in restricted areas there were normally restricted areas very close to bigger roads.

Netherlands and the UK had SOX lamps like a standard a little bit everywhere. And the style was so very similar too. I think Netherlands and the UK sometimes was looking at each other, and I think they still do that.

I don’t know when the first SOX lamps came to Sweden. From the begin they were maybe like a symbol for motorways. Maybe that’s the reason I still think the SOX lamps make the real motorway feeling. But I had seen some pictures with early SOX lamps from Stockholm from 1950s from early motorways. Uppsala get the first SOX lamps in 1967. That was for the first part when they were building the first parts to the older motorway system in Uppsala. The journalists at the local newspaper in Uppsala were impressed about the SOX lamps when they were new and they were writing about it. But now are all SOX lamps replaced in Uppsala. But I have two of the old SOX lamps from Uppsala in my cellar.

Most of the motorways in Sweden now have the SOX lamps replaced by high pressure sodium lights made by Phillips and that’s the models called SGS 203, 204, 305, 306, 253 and other SGS models Phillips are producing now. Most of the modern lights in Sweden are now identical to the lights in Poland, Netherlands and the UK.
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