It would be nice if this were a website about railway architecture, but it isn’t. If it was I could wax lyrical about the amazing railway viaduct on the “Heart of Wales” railway line near Cynghordy, Carmarthenshire. This truly is a masterpiece of Victorian railway engineering. Or I could prattle on about the fantastic line itself which meanders through some of Wales’ finest scenery on it’s four hour journey from Shrewsbury to Swansea. There’s another on the line at Knucklas near Knighton.
I was actually there on a dual hill-walk/house hunting mission when I saw this unusual arms-wood-less telegraph pole which I thought I would share with you dear listener.
It’s been a while since I updated the site and the postbox is full. I’ll deal with the most recent first. Philip wrote from mwosb.co.uk with those questions we all want answers to :
1. Did anyone ever answer the question about the lifespan of a telegraph pole?
2. Is there a legal requirement to replace them after a certain number of years
3. Are they required to be inspected / tested annually (or at another period)?
4. Does anyone know the breakdown of the codes affixed to a pole?
We put these questions to our Honorary Technical Advisor Keith S**** at his secret lair somewhere in the UK. And as always, despite his being Britain’s top telegraph pole spook, he went above and beyond the call of duty to answer a needy listener.
The life span of a properly creosoted pole is infinite, if it were kept in ideal conditions it would last forever, however, when ‘planted’ it is subject to the rigours of the environment. Rot (decay) is the only enemy of the pole apart from impact from heavy objects (like cars). Rot in timber requires three factors, oxygen, moisture and the spores of a fungus. These are, in poles, usually only found at the ground line and it is here a pole will decay.
There is not to my knowledge any statutory requirement to replace poles at a specified time. Poles are,or were in my time, tested on a regular basis by engineers dedicated to this task who would take a sample boring from the pole at a point remote from the ground line, (there was a scurrilous rumour at one time that they just whacked them with a heavy hammer) ie a pointless exercise. Occasionly one would come across a pole with decay at the tip caused by the pooling of water there.
As to the codes on poles, telephone poles that is, (not electricity poles ) typically there would be length in feet (early poles) or in metres after metrication and class of pole. eg:
30L (30ft light)
30M (30ft medium)
8L (8 metre light)
9M (9 metre medium)
Light and Medium (and stout of which there were very few) referred to the diameter of the pole. Heavier poles were needed to carry more wires. Also ‘cut in’ was the year of processing eg 79 would be 1979. Other marks (Cutting in) on the pole varied at different times.
Not for nothing is Keith our (H.T.A.) (T.P.A.S.)