Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Cables Galore

Tuesday 17th Dec

A super turnout today with 10 of us (must have been the potential of  mince pies at break time!)

Lots of activity on the cabling front today.
The existing cables between Far Stanley and the distant signal just south of Greet tunnel (a distance of 1700 metres) have to be replaced. These are a collection of 25 pair and 30 pair cables with two lineside cabinets and 5 troughing joints. The troughing joints are pretty basic and not well protected and subject to rodent "nibbling" and water ingress causing intermittent faults.
So - the whole of this 1700m will be serviced with one continuous 10 pair cable (we only need 7 pairs over this section).
Steve W and his JCB have been digging a 12" deep trench over this length to bury it:

A small lineside cabinet is being installed at the distant signal to terminate this cable. This will join to the remaining bit of (overkill) 30 pair cable down to the electrically operated signal just before Greet tunnel. This cabinet will service the lamp on this signal and the  adjacent treadle (triggered by the engine wheels) which rings a bell in the signal box to alert the signalman of a train approaching the tunnel

Neil C then wrestles with removing the outer coating and steel wire armour on the 30pair cable - it really is difficult to prepare the ends to reveal the wires inside - there is a knack to it combined with brure force! .Connections to the box will be done tomorrow

Here's what the inside of a 30 pair looks like:

One of the large lineside boxes we removed was a connection nightmare - don't quite know how it got into this state - been here from the dawn of the railway I should think!

And removing a cable joint from a concrete trough

OK that's got rid of the old stuff now the new cable can go in. This had been unrolled from a drum on the diesel railcar previously and had already been terminated at its southern end so this was now a track walk to feed it into the trench.
We passed Lineside Clearance doing a grand and noisy job with a 360 machine with an awesome flail mincing everything in sight!

But I digress. Having installed the new cable in the trench (which Steve will now fill in again with the JCB) we turned our attention to removing the now redundant cables. These are buried in ballast up near the ends of the wooden  sleepers and because P Way have an imminent program of life expired sleeper replacement over this section we need these cables out of the way.
So the cunning method of getting them out is to attach an end to the railcar trailer and slowly pull them out

Then drag the extracted length along the track and deposit it in Winchcombe yard.
This was repeated for the second length.

Back at Winchcombe we dismantled the scaffolding round signal 4

And here it is finished with the scaffolding team posing:

And finally a photo of the whole S & T team gathered in front of our notorious "workshop". We don't all fit in at mess-time so here's hoping that all those rumours of a new workshop will materialise in the new year!

Seasons greetings to all my blog followers



  1. Very interesting blog (as always).
    Regards and 'Sidings of comfort and joy' to you all. Paul.

  2. A great blog guys. Enjoy reading what you do

  3. Happy Christmas to you all. Thanks for all the updates throughout the year.

  4. I will echo the others and say it's been great to have a detailed look at what you all do. The hard work you put in to create it is really appreciated; thanks!


  5. The wiring in that old cabinet is a great illustration of how far the railway has come since the "early days". Many thanks for all the interesting blogs in 2019 and hope to read many more in 2020!


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