97I. Shenstone Railway Station, Shenstone, Lichfield, Staffordshire With thanks to YouTube user "MT 48" for informing me of these Survivors. Attached to Abacus base-hinged columns on both of the station's platforms are a number of GEC Z8260 lanterns, designed for running two 2 ft (600 mm) T12 40 Watt MCF lamps. The Z8260 was British Rail's preferred lantern for general platform lighting (as well as for lighting other walkways around railway infrastructure) in the 1960s and 1970s, although it had fallen out of favour by the 1980s, with the Urbis ZX1 becoming popular instead, and used as a retro-fit solution in some cases. Despite this, many Z8260s continued in service until the mid-2000s, when their numbers declined rapidly, and now, are a rare sight throughout the UK's rail network.
A double-armed column supporting two Z8260s is located alongside the staircase that allows access to Platform 1 - the platform for trains heading in the direction of Lichfield City Station on the Cross City Line.
The columns are painted in the colours of the West Midlands Railway; however, a slight fleck of green paint, from when the line was run by London Midland, is visible on the left-hand lantern.
The short double-arm bracket looks rather ungainly when compared to the much longer lanterns that are fitted to both of its limbs.
The other platform lights are all attached to single-arm columns.
With 2 ft 40 Watt lamps being obsolete, the lanterns now run twin 18 Watt T8 lamps instead. Although physically the same length, the 18 Watt lamps are not electrically-compatible with the Quickstart ballasts that would have been employed to run the older type. Therefore, the lanterns may have received replacement control gear, although why they were not replaced outright is a mystery - where Z8260s have failed on the platforms, other lanterns have replaced them.
The columns are around 4 m in height, with the brackets being part of them, rather than bolted on separately.
This view demonstrates the narrower lamps clearly.
Two newer Abacus columns supporting Philips FGS 104 compact fluorescent lanterns can be seen beyond this column - I assume that the platform was extended in the 1990s, requiring the installation of the two additional columns.
The lanterns are very clean internally, with the bowls (generally) being free of discolouration.
Looking over to the other platform allowed the Z8260s to be captured from a different angle.
This column is situated alongside the station's 1884 London and North Western Railway booking hall.
The lantern is fitted with a Royce Thompson P42 photocell detector; the only lantern on the station with this modification - it may, therefore, serve as a group switching point for the other platform lights.
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