A new winch system has been developed and tested for installation of underground, or overhead, power or communication lines. The system utilizes a hydraulically powered traction winch with emphasis on ease of rope threading on a pair of urethane-coated grooved pulling drums. Engagement force for traction is provided by a separate hydraulically powered storage winch with a hydraulic powered levelwind. The load, speed, and footage are monitored continually. Control, reliability, and ease of maintenance have been the prime objectives throughout this project. Separate components add to the flexibility of the system and permit tailoring of each application.