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Rail Mount Plowing System

Rail-mount plowing system

The rail mount plowing system devised by Ledcor’s Bernie Stene and Lionel Desmarais to lay fibre-optic cable along existing railway tracks improved upon the system previously used.

The earlier rail-mounted system had an inherent disadvantage, their patent claim noted: "First, the capital cost of the equipment utilized is unnecessarily high. Second, if a train is required to use the same tracks as the cable laying equipment during the cable laying operation, the locomotive and flatcar must find a siding where the train may pass. Such a siding may be located a good distance from the working site of the cable laying with the result that there is a non-productive transportation downtime involving all of the expensive equipment."

The second cable laying system pervious to their own, delivered from a platform which straddled the tracks, often damaged the ties, and was cumbersome to remove from the tracks to allow a train to pass through.

Stene’s and Demarais’ device used a platform mounted on rubbers wheels which were outside the tracks, along with rail wheels which allowed the vehicle to travel along the tracks. The platform could easily travel along the rail lines, and was also relatively easy to remove from the rails when a train was coming through.

The plow for digging the cable trench was mounted at one end of the platform, along with a cable feeder device. The plow could be positioned on either side of the platform, and the system could lay cable at different depths, depending on the requirements.
This rail-mounted system was used by Ledcor and its partners to lay thousands of kilometres of fibre-optic cable across Canada and the United States. The fibre-optic cable in turn, is used by telecommunications firms to provide for data, voice, and Internet services.

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