Watercress Line

Beyond The Fringe

17 September - Signal Engineering Report.

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend and the week following, the Network Rail signal boxes at Farnham, Aldershot and Ash Vale were closed with control being transferred to a new panel in the Woking Area Signalling Centre. The next phase of the work that involves the Mid Hants is completion of the "fringe" work that will allow trains to be fully signalled to and from our line into Platform 2 at Alton.

Following the commissioning of the new panel at Woking, two temporary signs have been applied to our panel in Alton box, one of which shows the new numbering for the Network Rail colour light signal at the end of Platform 2, now ‘WK459’. Fringe work on our side of the gate has recently seen the installation of two new location cases that will house additional equipment such as relays and power supplies associated with the signalling changes. New multicore signalling cables have been laid and today saw the start of terminating and testing them. The site for the Network Rail interface location has been completed and just awaits the installation of their case. As reported earlier this year, new junction indicators have already been installed on our two signals on the approach to Alton box that will illuminate with 5 white lights when a "route" is set from the Mid Hants into Platform 2.

The ‘Thursday gang’ have also been busy in the Medstead workshop making up three new ground structures that are fitted with reconditioned pulley wheels for signal wires. During the ‘quiet season’ (November?), they will be installed at Alresford to allow the rerouting of the many signal wires along the platform wall to the ground and semaphore signals on the Ropley side of the station. Currently these signal wires run in the "six foot" under a boarded walkway adjacent to where locomotives stand before departing with Up trains. Consequently the signal wires and pulley wheels get immersed in sludge and are constantly causing problems. This is a big job and can only really be done when we are not operating trains.

Rod Wicks
Signal Engineering Dept.

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