Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Cables Galore

Tuesday 30th April

The next major stage at Broadway for the S & T Dept is the installation of the many cables needed for the track circuits, signal lamps, signal detectors and phones. So a strenuous day was spent shovelling ballast and replacing cable trough lids.
Cable drums ready for action once Neil C had determined the individual lengths required with a measuring wheel:

We started at the North end of platform 1 adjacent to the line-side cabinet by signal 39 (the one with the ground signal mounted on it). Firstly to dig a trench to feed the 20 pair cable (the one coming from the signal box along platform 2)  into the cabinet:

Next stage was to "tickle" a channel between the sleepers to fit the yellow plastic pipes which carry wires across the tracks

Signal lamp and signal detector wires from signal 38 and track circuit wires all have to cross over here. The object of the yellow tubing is to highlight the position of wiring hopefully to prevent damage by tamping, lighting of bonfires on top of cables (this has led to cable damage in the past!), etc. This is the reason we are now generally burying the armoured cables to a greater depth and using concrete troughs where burying is not practical.
There is now a multitude of cables feeding into this cabinet including a second 20 pair which feeds up to the next cabinet opposite the Route Indicator signal - quite a tangle to feed in! and 20 pair armoured cable is quite a swine to bend in a tight radius

A pause as 2807 runs round:

And then we moved northwards to the smaller cabinet opposite the Route Indicator signal to repeat the laying of the plastic tubes to take the wires from the signals and track circuits.
A close-up of the radial hole drilled into the tube to feed in the track circuit cable:

There are four cables required for signal lamps - one for the spectacle plate, one for the lamp behind the route indicator plate, one for the double ground signal at the base of the indicator and one for the ground Signal between the tracks.

And of course the track circuit cables. Just managed to get these all fed into the cabinet through our "patented" 90 degree brown soil pipe system!

And finally the lids were replaced on the cable troughs between the two cabinets:

Although all the necessary cables are now installed and buried with the exception of the ones along platform 2 (mini digger channelling required here) the connection of these will be a significant job for the future once we have the cables fed into the signal box (hole drilling through the brickwork required).
Over time the signal box locking room has become a workshop/storeroom and has accumulated a lot of equipment which now needs removing and tidying to give easy access for wiring activity.
The big tidy next week perhaps unless track bonding through the station is given priority.


PS. The cabinet by the bracket signal at the south end of the station holds the record for cable numbers - 15 in total - I'll treat you to an internal view once all the connections have been made.
There will be a fair amount of testing required.

I believe that the two track circuit connections from Toddington to Laverton have already been connected and tested and operate in Toddington Box - first one from the viaduct to the Stanton Aqueduct, the second one from the aqueduct to Laverton. The next two circuits will terminate at Childswickham Bridge.


  1. Fascinating to follow all the work. Thanks for the detailed report, it is much appreciated!


  2. Thanks for the update, Curly. Out of interest, will the cable to be buried under P2 be in conduit or directly in the ground? I'm guessing there are 5 track circuits between Toddington and Broadway- plus extra in the station itself?

    1. The cables along the platform south of the box will be buried along the ground off the back of the platform. The cable along the North end will be buried in the platform because of access problems round the back. These cables are steel armoured and do not require conduit protection.
      I think there will be six track Circuits between Childswickham and the Headshunt. We propose putting an additional one two panel lengths into the headshunt to indicate the presence of an engine - connected to a bell in the signal box to alert the signalman.

  3. Thanks for the update. Always interesting.
    Regards, Paul.

  4. Curly, another great report on your departments activites. Many thanks for this, yes a picture of the inside of the box wouls be great, you never know, one day it may be needed! Well done to your team for the work being done to ensure our railway is as safe as possible thanks to your efforts.
    Paul & Marion

  5. Amazing job you are all doing in S and T, a lot is beyond my understanding

  6. Always appreciate the update, don't always understand it! but thanks.