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Telegraph Pole Project - Next stage underway

Despite some very wet and windy autumn weather, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s telegraph pole project team got their winter 2015/16 work package underway today, Saturday 14th November.

This stage of the project, which will ultimately see the telegraph pole run restored along the entire 5 ½ mile length of the railway, involves the ‘dressing’ of the poles in the Wootton section.  Foot-steps, cross-arms with insulators and, where appropriate, a ‘tin hat’ – the finial to prevent the ingress of rainwater, will be fitted to the poles.  Last winter’s work package was the initial restoration of the pole run between Havenstreet and Wootton. The poles were either restored to vertical or, if deemed unfit for further use, replaced.

The replacement of the rotten poles was made possible by the magnificent donation of used but entirely suitable telegraph poles and related items by British Telecom, in response to an appeal by IW Steam Railway volunteer and British Telecom employee Steve Smart.
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The morning of Saturday 14th November 2015.  A 'tin hat' being fixed to one of the telegraph poles, close to the Havenstreet Up Distant signal.
The team’s works train, powered by Hunslet Austerity WD192 ‘Waggoner’ left Havenstreet early this morning and made steady progress towards Wootton, stopping at each pole in turn to adjust it to final height and then add the ‘tin hat’s.  A ‘cherry picker’, mounted on a Lowmac wagon, made the access to the top of the poles quick and easy.  By lunchtime the works train had covered more than half of the distance towards Wootton.

Once all poles are at the correct height the next job is for the works train to make another pass along the line. This is to allow the team to secure the cross-arms, with insulators already fixed in position, to the poles.

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WD192 'Waggoner' at the head of the works train.  In the background the cherry picker can be seen in action.
Work will continue tomorrow and then next weekend, with the telegraph pole project works train steam powered by ‘Waggoner’ on each occasion.

Taking advantage of having the cherry picker on hire, the Permanent Way gang will also be using it during the coming weeks.  It will be providing them with a mobile work platform, enabling the clearance of a large number of branches that are currently overhanging the railway’s boundary fencing and encroaching towards the track.  Further works trains are needed for this clearance work and will be diesel powered by British Railways Class 03 D2059.
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Another 'tin hat' is put into position, pre-prepared cross-arms and insulators are ready for installation on the flat wagon in the foreground.

Join The Team...

There are always vacancies to assist with this project and in all of the railway’s other departments. New volunteers are always warmly welcomed to the small, friendly team who keep the Railway's wheels turning.  Please visit our Volunteering Information page for more information about the opportunities available to you.
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The telegraph pole project team in action on the morning of 14th November 2015.

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