200 pair cable with 0.40mm copper conductors, cellular polyethylene insulated, jelly filled core, unit twin type with moisture barrier.

You can only trace a cable that is conductive, usually those with copper or aluminium conductors, or lead sheaths.

Optical fibre cables usually need a trace rod and sonde to be fed into the duct to produce traceable EMF fields for the locator, however some cables are fitted with trace wire/detectable marker tape, although this is often reserved for direct buried cables without a conduit/duct. Additionally, trace wire or tape is notorious for being broken, faulty or not producing a strong enough signal. Not all optical fibre cables stand out as much as the blue ones here and it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference in smaller pits with smaller cables.

Of course, it’s always easier when the cable code hasn’t worn off!

Always exercise caution, especially around these footway manholes. They are confined spaces and can be filled with contaminated water, dangerous fauna and toxic gases. Use a 4 gas detector and sniffer hose on the pit key holes before opening, and let them air before entering (if you have a confined space permit and it is safe to enter). Never forget to use your pit guards, to keep unsuspecting pedestrians from falling into a nasty surprise.

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