London's exploding pavements*


42 Responses to “London's exploding pavements*”

  1. semiotix says:

    I take it as a sign of progress. We’re only a few decades away from Star Trek-style exploding computer panels in every home!

  2. Jason says:

    The power company later replied with…

    Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements
    Even if it leads nowhere?
    Or would it be a waste even if I knew my place
    Should I leave it there?

  3. gehirnstuermer says:

    So this is what happens when your infrastructure goes to hell…

  4. theophrastvs says:

    “Underground power-boxes” (i’m assuming aka transformer or sometimes “pull boxes”) exist in every major city, yet this is the first i’ve heard of them exploding at anything near that rate (“12 explosions in 2010, rising to 29 last year”) so are the ones in London particularly ‘special’ in a known way?

    • kobrakai says:

       The were designed by Lucas?

    • nixiebunny says:

      The weather is more wet in London than in Tucson Arizona where I live. I’d expect the electrical stuff to be more likely to explode, due to the more frequent ingress of moisture.

      Or, it could be Lucas. Yeah, that’s it, Lucas.

      • theophrastvs says:

        as a selfish example in distinction, in Seattle, where i live, it’s pretty much the same wet-osity as London, yet [cups hand to ear] relatively few electrical explosions  (bridges falling down, yes…)

  5. fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

    “Listen, this old system of yours could be on fire and I couldn’t even turn on the kitchen tap without filling out a 27b/6… Bloody paperwork.”

  6. zachstronaut says:

    We’ve had 4 underground transformer explosions/fires in Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2013 so far.  I don’t think the holes were quite as dramatic, but I’ve got good video of the sidewalk being on fire.  Even saw multi-color flames like green and such.

    I wonder if they’re all of a certain age?  Certain flawed manufacturing?

  7. Astragali says:

    “Let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of –” *BOOM*. Could add a frisson to the old Ralph McTell classic ;)

  8. Sarge Misfit says:

    There’s a very easy fix to this. Put the office of each Director, Executive and upper Manager on top of those places where a power box is located. Shift them around randomly on a monthly basis.

  9. Gilbert Wham says:

    There was one blew up in town near me a few years back here in Newcastle as well. Caused quite the stir (and the power outage, natch).

  10. noah django says:

    so, it exploded once, blowing the hole in the sidewalk and attracting the attention of the videographer, and then it exploded again?  why is there a hole in the sidewalk initially?

    OK, read the uploader comments.  yep, two explosions.  confusing.

  11. fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

    What I’d be a bit more nervous about is whether equipment in this… fine state of repair… is also old enough to be full of delicious PCBs.

    Sure, you don’t want to be the guy standing on top of one if it goes *pop*; but once a good PCB fire gets going, it’s happy dioxin fun time for the entire neighborhood!

  12. grglblnc says:

    Still not as dangerous as bathtubs. 

  13. patch says:

    So a London Public service detonates more bombs a year in public then ALL the terrorists? 
    Surely a multi-billion pound dragnet network to monitor suspicious individuals is necessary.  UK Citizens walking over these areas endangers UK Citizens! 

    • NelC says:

      Clearly we need to extend the CCTV coverage underground! Then we’ll find out who’s planting these explosive devices.

    • Knifesmith says:

       A particularly good point.   If your failing infrastructure is more hazardous than your external “enemies”, then perhaps you should focus the MASSIVE amount of resources being directed towards “fighting terrorism” towards repairing said infrastructure instead.

      Oh yeah, not as politically flashy, and less likely to garner you votes etc…

  14. John Verne says:

    Not just blasts! Oh no, let us not forget how these boxes will spray boiling carcinogenic Oils in a wide radius. Burns and long term health problems!

    This happens in NA, too, just not as much.

  15. Mitchell Glaser says:

    In New York City, a bunch of people (and dogs!) have been electrocuted by stepping into a puddle. Probably happens other places too, I just never read about them.

  16. Ian Wood says:

    Summer in NYC is marked by exploding underground power things. That’s how ConEd knows when they need to be replaced.

    One blew up on my block in Astoria the summer after 9/11, it was great fun.

  17. redesigned says:

    time to make a london themed minesweeper google maps mashup!

  18. Tom Hartman says:

    Ahhh… reminds me of the days when manhole covers would periodically go flying into the air in DC.

  19. Tudza White II says:

    In response, a dragnet has been put out for all people mysteriously wearing jackets.

  20. Jonathan Roberts says: This happened this March less than a km from my home. The official story is that there were no fatalities, but someone I know who was at the scene has serious doubts about that. It’s actually on my way to work, I missed it by about 30 minutes.

  21. Nancy Jane Moore says:

    This was a major problem in Washington, DC, a few years back: manhole covers blew off. No one was seriously injured there, either — probably due to luck — but on a couple of occasions the explosion blew out the electrical service to a chunk of Georgetown for several days. And yes, the cause appeared to be inadequate maintenance of underground electrical utilities. (The electric company kept trying to blame it on the gas company, but I think it was eventually decided that the problem was electrical.)

  22. aluchko says:

    Anyone else read it as ‘powder boxes’? I was really confused for a while why boxes of gunpower were buried throughout London.

  23. Marching Mice of Mu says:

    …not as dangerous as London’s Rodents of Unusual Size.

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