Watercress Line

Nearly There!

Signal Engineering Report - 14 June

After several years of hard work at Ropley following the move into the old Netley signal box, commissioning of the final stage of the Ropley signalling scheme is now in sight. All the mechanical work installing the 10 new signals and their associated wire runs from the signal box was completed over recent months. The new multicore signalling cables required were laid, terminated and tested in the lineside location cases last year as were the 3 new track circuits on the country side of the station. Following receipt of the final wiring diagrams, the majority of the remaining wiring has just been completed to the block shelf, lever locks/controllers and in the equipment location cases just outside the signal box. Some of the existing circuits are still in use and these cannot be changed over until the actual commissioning stage.

The MHR Signal Engineering team are not permitted to undertake final testing and commissioning, this work requiring the services of an authorised Network Rail contractor. We are therefore indebted to Atkins whose testers are currently at work leading up to the actual commissioning that is scheduled to start the week commencing 30th June 2014. This final stage is expected to take four days with a fully working signal box handed over to the Traffic Department on Friday, 4th July – an appropriate day! During the four days of commissioning, the signals and Electric Key Token machines will be out of action requiring hand signalmen and pilotmen to enable the railway to still operate passenger trains safely.

Phase 2 of the Ropley signalling scheme provides full bi-directional operation through both platforms and with the introduction of Outer Home and Advance Starting signals, will offer a more flexible regulation of trains especially during special events such as Day Out with Thomas and Steam Galas.


Rod Wicks

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