Fibre-optic cable corridors
One of the most promising new uses for railway infrastructure is in carrying long distance communications cabling. Last year R.V. Anderson Associates, consulting engineers of Toronto, helped design a ...
One of the most promising new uses for railway infrastructure is in carrying long distance communications cabling. Last year R.V. Anderson Associates, consulting engineers of Toronto, helped design a fibre-optic transmission system (FOTS) for Ledcor Industries. The system stretches 7,500 kilometres from Toronto to Vancouver primarily along CPR and CN Rail rights-of-way.
The rail lines are well suited to providing a backbone infrastructure for the communications industry because they are long and continuous corridors owned by a single party. Cable installation usually involves ploughing reels of armoured cable or polyethylene conduit directly into the ground at depths of about one metre. When conduit is used the cable is later “jetted” into the conduit using a compressed air system. Ledcor has designed and patented a track-mounted piece of equipment for the ploughing operation which can lay up to 10 conduits or cables at a time.
The fibre optic system completed last year is designed as a series of rings around nodes in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The rings ensure that diversion routes are available if one line is disrupted. Portions of the route also run through states in the northern U.S.
R.V. Anderson helped to design the system, the ancillary equipment and the shelters for the signal regeneration equipment. They also obtained the 3,200 government approvals that were necessary at locations like road crossings.