Busy junction plunged into darkness due to substation fire

The lights at Preston Circus were still out on Friday morning

The lights at Preston Circus were still out on Friday morning

First published in News

One of Brighton’s busiest junctions was plunged into darkness for 12 hours and drivers were forced to navigate with no traffic lights during rush hour.

Power was cut to nearly 670 homes and businesses as well as street lights and traffic signals after a blaze in a substation inside Preston Circus fire station.

Firefighters returned from a from a grill blaze on Lewes Road at 6.40pm on Thursday to find smoke pouring from the fire station and buildings from the viaduct on Preston Road to the Emporium on London Road were sat in darkness.

After the lights went out pedestrians, drivers and cyclists were forced to navigate the busy junction in the dark.


MORE:


Resident Curtis Tappenden said: “The blackout led to free-for-all traffic chaos.”

He said people were “taking their lives in their hands” attempting to navigate the road.

Another resident, 31, said walking in the dark was both terrifying and difficult, as he bumped into trees, walls and people.

Sussex Police said they were called to help direct traffic. But commuters driving through the junction yesterday morning were flummoxed to find the traffic lights were still out of service.

The delay between power being restored at 6.20am yesterday morning and traffic lights coming back on at 8.45am was because UK Power Networks and Brighton and Hove City Council needed to “sync” the signals.

Yesterday’s blackout followed another four-hour power outage on Wednesday afternoon – also at Preston Circus.

The area’s businesses have been left frustrated by the back-to-back problems.Ryeec Brody, from Preston Circus Laundrette and Dry Cleaners, said: “It was a pain. “We had customers in here when it went out and all the machines stopped.

“We had to close and customers had to pack up their soaking clothes and take them home. They having to come back to do another wash.”

At the Duke of York’s Picture House the outage cut short a showing of Wolf of Wall Street and Thursday’s blackout meaning the cinema had to cancel its special showing of Coriolanus at the National Theatre.

Some businesses took the outage in good fun.

A member of staff at International Foods on Preston Road said: “We lost all power but we put up candles and torches and invited people in from the street telling them it was warm and safe inside.

“It’s amazing to see what happens and how people band together in times when things go wrong.

“Our boss was worried about people stealing so we told them that we had night vision.”

A UK Power Network statement said: “UK Power Networks engineers worked through the night and into the early hours of Friday in order to restore power supplies to customers in the Preston Circus area affected by a fault that occurred on the electricity distribution network on Thursday evening.

“Some customers experienced brief interruptions while the engineers reconfigured the network but supplies to the final group of customers were restored at 6.20am.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused by this incident.

“Some customers in the Preston Circus area did experience some power cuts on Wednesday afternoon and into the evening because our engineers had to undertake some emergency repairs to our network. The number affected was similar to Thursday night.

“Our engineers are monitoring the network to ensure that the usual reliable service is maintained.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “Staff from our highways team worked out of hours with UK Power Networks when reports of the power out-age came in.

“Once we were notified that the power was back on our contractor pulled out all the stops to get affected traffic signals reset as quickly as possible, with engineers at work onsite in a matter of minutes.”

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:13pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Patsyr says...

The report is all a bit dramatic. Yes it was dark but it was still possible to see a bit.
I drove through at 10.30 in the evening with no problem, drivers were giving way and proceeding cautiously. The following morning when driving down Beaconsfield Road at 8.15am there were no queues at all. Unheard of when the lights are working.
I appreciate that for residents and traders it was very inconvenient but as a driver it seemed vastly improved.
The report is all a bit dramatic. Yes it was dark but it was still possible to see a bit. I drove through at 10.30 in the evening with no problem, drivers were giving way and proceeding cautiously. The following morning when driving down Beaconsfield Road at 8.15am there were no queues at all. Unheard of when the lights are working. I appreciate that for residents and traders it was very inconvenient but as a driver it seemed vastly improved. Patsyr
  • Score: 13

12:43pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Goldenwight says...

"Some customers in the Preston Circus area did experience some power cuts on Wednesday afternoon and into the evening"

Understatement of the century?
"Some customers in the Preston Circus area did experience some power cuts on Wednesday afternoon and into the evening" Understatement of the century? Goldenwight
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Sat 8 Mar 14

mimseycal says...

Patsyr wrote:
The report is all a bit dramatic. Yes it was dark but it was still possible to see a bit.
I drove through at 10.30 in the evening with no problem, drivers were giving way and proceeding cautiously. The following morning when driving down Beaconsfield Road at 8.15am there were no queues at all. Unheard of when the lights are working.
I appreciate that for residents and traders it was very inconvenient but as a driver it seemed vastly improved.
I must say that I am impressed by the fact that there were no major incidents involving pedestrians and cars or cars and cars for that matter.

Maybe the sheer number of traffic lights we seem to have are rather redundant.
[quote][p][bold]Patsyr[/bold] wrote: The report is all a bit dramatic. Yes it was dark but it was still possible to see a bit. I drove through at 10.30 in the evening with no problem, drivers were giving way and proceeding cautiously. The following morning when driving down Beaconsfield Road at 8.15am there were no queues at all. Unheard of when the lights are working. I appreciate that for residents and traders it was very inconvenient but as a driver it seemed vastly improved.[/p][/quote]I must say that I am impressed by the fact that there were no major incidents involving pedestrians and cars or cars and cars for that matter. Maybe the sheer number of traffic lights we seem to have are rather redundant. mimseycal
  • Score: 7

6:52pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Tallywhacker says...

Patsyr wrote:
The report is all a bit dramatic. Yes it was dark but it was still possible to see a bit.
I drove through at 10.30 in the evening with no problem, drivers were giving way and proceeding cautiously. The following morning when driving down Beaconsfield Road at 8.15am there were no queues at all. Unheard of when the lights are working.
I appreciate that for residents and traders it was very inconvenient but as a driver it seemed vastly improved.
It is surprising how careful drivers are when the lights are out. Maybe random blackouts would cut back on accidents at lights.
[quote][p][bold]Patsyr[/bold] wrote: The report is all a bit dramatic. Yes it was dark but it was still possible to see a bit. I drove through at 10.30 in the evening with no problem, drivers were giving way and proceeding cautiously. The following morning when driving down Beaconsfield Road at 8.15am there were no queues at all. Unheard of when the lights are working. I appreciate that for residents and traders it was very inconvenient but as a driver it seemed vastly improved.[/p][/quote]It is surprising how careful drivers are when the lights are out. Maybe random blackouts would cut back on accidents at lights. Tallywhacker
  • Score: 1

6:59pm Sat 8 Mar 14

melee says...

I used to live next to a busy junction which always took a long time to cross whether as a driver or pedestrian. Things always went more smoothly whenever the traffic lights went out and I don't recall any accidents at those times during the 10 years I lived there. I think drivers are actually a lot more cautious when crossing such junctions without traffic lights than when the lights are working and you constantly see people trying to dash through in the last few seconds before they change. You certainly see fewer queues and it does make you wonder!

On a different note I see the buildings "were sat in darkness". Makes me cringe. Do they not proof-read nowadays?
I used to live next to a busy junction which always took a long time to cross whether as a driver or pedestrian. Things always went more smoothly whenever the traffic lights went out and I don't recall any accidents at those times during the 10 years I lived there. I think drivers are actually a lot more cautious when crossing such junctions without traffic lights than when the lights are working and you constantly see people trying to dash through in the last few seconds before they change. You certainly see fewer queues and it does make you wonder! On a different note I see the buildings "were sat in darkness". Makes me cringe. Do they not proof-read nowadays? melee
  • Score: 2

9:41pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Levent says...

melee wrote:
I used to live next to a busy junction which always took a long time to cross whether as a driver or pedestrian. Things always went more smoothly whenever the traffic lights went out and I don't recall any accidents at those times during the 10 years I lived there. I think drivers are actually a lot more cautious when crossing such junctions without traffic lights than when the lights are working and you constantly see people trying to dash through in the last few seconds before they change. You certainly see fewer queues and it does make you wonder!

On a different note I see the buildings "were sat in darkness". Makes me cringe. Do they not proof-read nowadays?
I think as the libs successfully eradicated discipline from state schools from 1997 onwards, most people under the age of 30 are therefore total illiterates. Proof-reading has thus become superflous, as nearly no one can string a sentence together anyway. Look at any online newspaper and you will see basic errors from journalists through to commenters. You can measure the civility of a culture based on its literacy, and foreigners routinely speak English better than most native English. Gud doh innit?
[quote][p][bold]melee[/bold] wrote: I used to live next to a busy junction which always took a long time to cross whether as a driver or pedestrian. Things always went more smoothly whenever the traffic lights went out and I don't recall any accidents at those times during the 10 years I lived there. I think drivers are actually a lot more cautious when crossing such junctions without traffic lights than when the lights are working and you constantly see people trying to dash through in the last few seconds before they change. You certainly see fewer queues and it does make you wonder! On a different note I see the buildings "were sat in darkness". Makes me cringe. Do they not proof-read nowadays?[/p][/quote]I think as the libs successfully eradicated discipline from state schools from 1997 onwards, most people under the age of 30 are therefore total illiterates. Proof-reading has thus become superflous, as nearly no one can string a sentence together anyway. Look at any online newspaper and you will see basic errors from journalists through to commenters. You can measure the civility of a culture based on its literacy, and foreigners routinely speak English better than most native English. Gud doh innit? Levent
  • Score: 1

10:54pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Tussle says...

Was this comment creative writing, as it's no longer in the article - "Another resident, 31, said walking in the dark was both terrifying and difficult, as he bumped into trees, walls and people". It appears that 30 somethings are stupid now as well as blind - Just because the lights are off, doesn't mean that your eyes are shut. How do people exist?
Was this comment creative writing, as it's no longer in the article - "Another resident, 31, said walking in the dark was both terrifying and difficult, as he bumped into trees, walls and people". It appears that 30 somethings are stupid now as well as blind - Just because the lights are off, doesn't mean that your eyes are shut. How do people exist? Tussle
  • Score: 7

10:56pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Tussle says...

The bit about the car drivers not being able to see??????? No lights? Must be horrendous on the country roads - Hey Maisy, guessing it's a left about n....
The bit about the car drivers not being able to see??????? No lights? Must be horrendous on the country roads - Hey Maisy, guessing it's a left about n.... Tussle
  • Score: 3

12:17am Sun 9 Mar 14

nemenator says...

If we really must have traffic lights across Preston Circus can they now be properly programmed to work well with the other nearby traffic lights?
If we really must have traffic lights across Preston Circus can they now be properly programmed to work well with the other nearby traffic lights? nemenator
  • Score: 3

12:29am Sun 9 Mar 14

disgruntledHove says...

My favourite bit was aboutthe laundrette ............We had to close and customers had to pack up their soaking clothes and take them home. They having to come back to do another wash.”

I also wondered why there was not a single policeman who was able to do 'Point Duty' ...but l doubt they would even know what that was.
My favourite bit was aboutthe laundrette ............We had to close and customers had to pack up their soaking clothes and take them home. They having to come back to do another wash.” I also wondered why there was not a single policeman who was able to do 'Point Duty' ...but l doubt they would even know what that was. disgruntledHove
  • Score: 5

1:06am Mon 10 Mar 14

melee says...

You can't do point duty in the dark, health and safety you know! (obviously torches have never been invented).
You can't do point duty in the dark, health and safety you know! (obviously torches have never been invented). melee
  • Score: 1

6:09pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Mr chock says...

i hope this is of help https://twitter.com/
ukpnnews its to see the news on power faults from uk power networks

and another link
https://twitter.com/
UKPowerNetworks

some people think when the power goes out its preventing access to the internet so here is the phone number too
South East of England
0800 783 8866
i hope this is of help https://twitter.com/ ukpnnews its to see the news on power faults from uk power networks and another link https://twitter.com/ UKPowerNetworks some people think when the power goes out its preventing access to the internet so here is the phone number too South East of England 0800 783 8866 Mr chock
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree