Urbis ZX3

Lantern acquired in December 2004.

This lantern came from column DY3839 on Harvey Rd, Allenton. This means that it is one of the lanterns that was used to re-light Derby's Ring Road early in 2004, and had a very short life on the road. The reason for the lantern's removal was that the column was involved in an accident. I'm surprised that the lantern wasn't re-used, being so new, but obviously there must have been a reason why this happened. Urbis fittings are rare in Derbyshire and I thought that the ZX3s along the ring road were owned by the Highways Agency, but this is not the case, as the City Council removed it.

The ZX3 (and sister ZX2) lantern is distinguishable by its fairly low-profile ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) canopy, which is often finished in black, and aluminium chassis. This particular examples features a shallow curved glass bowl, with alternative options including a deep polycarbonate bowl or flat cover glass.

The front section of the canopy is fixed in place; however, the rear portion unclips and hinges forwards, allowing access to be gained to the lantern's interior. Over time, the plastic hinge can work-harden, and eventually, may crack.

From below, the lantern is quite similar to the ZX1 - including the presence of the blue gum material that seals the optical unit against all dust. The only real difference is near the bracket entry - the ZX1 cannot be mounted post top directly, but the ZX3 can, once the circular plastic bung is removed, and the grub screws relocated. The plastic bung is 60 mm in diameter, and will fit the post-top or side-entry position, allowing the unused entry to be plugged during installation. The lantern's former location and column number are written on the underside in paint pen.

Opening the hinged section reveals the Urbis-branded (but Philips-made) lamp control gear, along with the mechanism for removing the lamp from the optic - much as with the Thorn Alpha 1, the lampholder is fitted to a housing that completes the sealing of the optic when engaged. A rubber bung located in the rear of the casting ensures that a tight seal is maintained around the incoming supply cable too. Despite this, the gear area is rated at IP43, whereas the optic is rated at IP66.

The lantern was mounted to an AC Ford AC872 wall bracket on Tuesday, 9th August 2005. It was then wired up and switched on.

The lantern was rather glary when pictured at point-blank range!

Lantern warm-up video:

The lantern was replaced with a Holophane Syracuse Medium in autumn 2005. Originally, the Syracuse was mounted post-top to the column, however an outreach bracket was fitted shortly afterwards.

Thorn Alpha 4 | Thorn Civic 1




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