Watercress Line

Branching Out

Signal Engineering Report 14th October

Last week, the Signal Engineering "Thursday Team" switched their working day to Friday to assist ‘the guvnor’ with the installation of the new chunky traction bonds at Alton (no, we are not electrifying our line!). These new larger rail bonds are being fitted as part of the ‘fringe’ work being undertaken to allow full signalling to and from Network Rail’s platform 2. The purpose of these larger bonds is to provide an electrical path for the return traction current should a South West Trains unit overshoot signal WK459 at the country end of platform 2. If the pick-up shoes at the rear of a unit or train were still in contact with the "3rd rail" our normal track bonds would not be man enough to handle the return traction current from the trains’ electric motors.

However, this work had only just got underway when word came through that the Advanced Footplate Experience train had been curtailed due to a tree fall between Medstead and Alton. Always up for a challenge, the lads downed tools and returned to Medstead to fire up one of the Wickham trolleys. A chain saw and other tools were quickly loaded onto the trailer and then it was off to where the tree was blocking the line – we really must fit a blue flashing light on the roof of the Wickham. An hour later, the line was again declared ‘clear’ for the Footplate Experience to continue its round trips to Alton with the smaller branches being recovered to Medstead. It’s a pity we don’t have a wood burning stove in the mess room!

Rod Wicks - Signal Engineering Dept.

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