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SAT 21 OCT

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Sunday 22 October

Telegraph Pole Project - The Next Stage

Preparations are underway for the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s project to restore the telegraph pole run along the length of the line to enter the next stage. 

Telegraph poles and wires were once a common sight alongside railway lines.  As communication and signalling methods advanced, these features have all but disappeared from the national railway network.  With the support of British Telecom, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway has been able to embark on a project that will see the return of this once traditional feature over the full five mile length of the line.  The one and a half mile section between Havenstreet and Wootton is being dealt with first.
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A total of 29 poles were planted during the winter of 2014/15, the first stage of the project.
During the winter of 2014/15 the project kicked off with a total of 29 poles planted along the Wootton Single Line.  At the same time numerous other poles that were fit for further use were coaxed back into a vertical position.  The replacement of life expired 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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Alan Brindley (left) and Steve Smart preparing new cross arms for installation during the next stage of the project.
Numerous components are needed to ‘dress’ each of the poles; foot-steps, cross-arms with insulators and, where appropriate, a ‘tin hat’ – the finial to prevent the ingress of rainwater.  These are now being prepared for installation which will take place in mid-November.

The project team will be operating a series of works trains (some steam powered!)  which will move a ‘cherry-picker’ platform along the pole run, dressing each pole in turn.  As a welcome benefit to having the cherry picker on hire it will also be used to clear some of the larger tree boughs that overhang our boundary.
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A selection of cross-arms being prepared for use.  All have been soaked in preservative and are having insulators fixed into place.
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Even our insulators have a history.  The one pictured originates from the London & North Western Railway, others are stamped GWR, LMS and GPO.  An IWSR member has generously donated a large quantity of these insulators to help progress the project.
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A special jig has been constructed to form the retaining clamps needed to hold each cross member securely in position against the curve of the pole.

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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One of the works trains run during the winter of 2014/15 for the first phase of the Telegraph Pole Project.  Similar trains will be in operation later this month, some are planned for steam haulage by WD192 'Waggoner'.

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