The heavens opened this afternoon and we had a deluge. All this rain makes a change!
Whilst walking around the local area I've noticed the occasional 6 foot white pole with what looks like a yellow and black stripped pitched roof on top. There’s also a disused oil distribution terminal rail siding just down the towpath. It has an abandoned look but still has an intact perimeter fence and working video surveillance equipment.
The rail siding and fuel distribution point
One of the local ‘live aboard’ boaters believes the cameras monitor his movements and there’s something sinister about the facility. It’s some type of secret base! I’m more inclined to believe it’s merely a disused siding and the surveillance cameras are on pre-programmed movements which just give the impression they are following your movements whilst walking adjacent to the perimeter fence.
The cameras appear to have an IR capability!
Everything started to appear more logical when on a walk I came across the GPSS facility at Padworth. It’s located on the top of a ridge to the south of the canal.
The white poles with the coloured tops mark the location of the underground petroleum pipes. My guess is the rail siding is; or was; linked to the Padworth GPSS depot.
Top arrow is the rail siding and the GPSS depot the bottom arrows.
The GPSS is the Government Pipeline and Storage System. It was built by the government during WW2 to store and distribute light petroleum products for PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean). This was the fuel pipeline that ran across the English Channel and followed the Allied armies. There are almost 2500km underground pipelines around the UK linking various refineries and military facilities. GPSS supplies fuel to the adjacent AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) and probably supplied the US Airforce base as Greenham Common when it was operational. The GPSS isn’t exclusively used by the military and apparently the government is encouraging more commercial use of the network.
It’s possible to see the extent of the GPSS pipeline on the Linewatch website.
The GPSS pipeline network
The entire UK pipeline network.
The government pipelines are shown in black and light purple whilst all the other pipelines are owned by petroleum and gas companies. Makes you think about what’s under your feet and how there could be a disaster if an excavator dug in the wrong spot!
Jan just made the comment “This is a bit boring!”