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Photos and article by Paul Wright, 2018
Gas pipe replacement 2018

Work started on the 24th July, 2018 to replace some of Rushden's oldest gas mains pipes, these were well past their sell by date, and the work was well overdue.

old main
One of the holes
The old main

The period of disruption was a couple of months, which was due for completion on September 24th 2018, during that time four-way temporary traffic lights had been in place.

Which, as you can imagine, gave motorists a fair bit of grief over the work duration, especially travelling past the Railway pub.

"Ian" was one of the gas engineers working on the project, and he very kindly informed me that some of the old pipes at the bottom of Shirley Road connected the former Rushden "town gas works" to the system. He can be seen pointing out this pipe work plan on his device in the cab of his van.

And because of the nature of connecting pipes back in those distant days it had involved collars, and packing rope into the joints, and then filling the connection with lead. Evidence of this former practise is clearly visible in our shot with some tools laying on top of the pipe.

And naturally over the years some had broken down and this gave several leaks at the bottom of Shirley Road.

There would always be a keen nosed person or two, who would say "can you smell gas?"

We can see in one of our shots some re-routing was needed with some smaller diameter yellow pipework being used as a bypass during the work.

The town gasworks ceased being around in the early 1960s, and by 1967 we were being "converted" to natural gas. With the promise that it would be so much cheaper having our gas coming from the North Sea; whether it was any cheaper is a matter of opinion, but it kept the conversion teams busy around here for a few weeks.

new pipe taps
New pipe laid
The taps

As we can see from our shots, there were stacks of bright yellow plastic pipes outside Asda supermarket; these would be the superior replacements for the old iron pipes that were dating back over one hundred years.


By mid September, the bright yellow pipes were buried in the ground, and awaiting the scheduled completion of the work by 24th September 2018.

Glad to say that it is all done, the dreaded temporary traffic lights have been taken away, and we can drive around that neck of the woods in comfort.

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