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Sat Dec 18 20:11:27 EST 2004

Using Pocahontas Division Emp. TT No. 23, Eff. 10/31/65 as an example,
General Rule No. 14 states, "White porcelain insulators have been installed
on certain portions of the Railway's communication pole line to indicate the
dispatcher's circuit.  Portable telephone users, when hooking up telephones,
will connect to this circuit.

"Caution must be exercised to see that connections are made only to the
Railway's communication pole line.  At some locations power companies, where
their lines cross our tracks or parallel our tracks either on or off the
right of way, use white insulators."

Gordon Hamilton

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <nw-mailing-list at>
To: "N&amp,W Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 10:55 PM
Subject: Insulators

> To: "N&W Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>
> Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 21:24:26 -0500
> From: nw-mailing-list at
> Subject:  White Insulators
> N&W used two white insulators on its lineside poles.
> I believe these insulators were used on the lines
> (wires) that allowed communication with the dispatcher
> and station agents along the right-of-way.  In an
> emergency, the train crews could attach a portable
> handset to these lines in order to communicate with
> other personnel.
> My question involves the location/placement of the
> white insulators.  I believe they were always on the
> lowest arm of the lineside pole, and were the two
> insulators closest to the track.  I've looked through
> numerous books but can't seem to verify this.
> I believe all other insulators were green in color,
> but I'm not certain about this.
> Anyone have a better insight into this interesting
> detail?
> Jim Brewer
> Glenwood MD
> Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 22:55:48 -0500
> To: "N&W Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at>
> From: nw-mailing-list at
> Subject: Re: White Insulators
> Jim,
> After a recent post on this subject I have been
> looking out for the white insulators. On the Pumpkin
> Vine near Starkey, VA they are located on the lowest
> arm, nearest the track. At one time they may have
> existed on all poles, but now most --but not every--
> pole has two white insulators.  When they are not
> white they are usually clear.
> The other insulators on the pole are a mixture of
> clear and green.
> I have not spotted any white insulators on the Main
> Line through Vinton, VA. Just a mixture of clear and
> green. Did this line ever have white insulators? Or
> were they only specific to certain divisions?
> Ron Davis
> December 16, 2004
> Hello, all:
> I do not think train crews had portable telephone sets
> to tap into the dispatcher lines.  Also, they would
> have to climb a pole to reach the wires.  It's my
> belief that signals and communications were the only
> people who made temporary connections, but might have
> done this under emergency conditions such as at a
> wreck site.
> The other color insulator used consistently on N&W
> lines was brown-glazed porcelain.  These were for the
> 440-volt conductors on the top crossarm.
> By the way, along the Hagerstown District, the white
> insulators remain.  However, even though other wires
> remain on the pole line, the wires have been removed
> from the dispatcher line and an adjoining message line
> (I think).  This suggests to me that dispatcher and
> message communications were removed from the pole line
> well before the signal code lines on upper crossarms
> were deactivated.  Does anyone know this to be a fact,
> or when the wire removal took place?  Is the same lack
> of wires attached to white insulators evident
> elsewhere on the N&W?
> By the way, I understand the contractor removal crew
> reached Elkton from Roanoke, but there is no
> currently-active code line removal in progress.  Ben,
> has worked resumed on the Bristol code line removal?
> Happy holidays,
> =====
> Dr. Frank R. Scheer, Curator
> Railway Mail Service Library, Inc.
> f_scheer at
> (202) 268-2121 - weekday office
> (540) 837-9090 - weekend afternoons
> in the former N&W station on VA rte 723
> 117 East Main Street
> Boyce  VA  22620-9639
> ________________________________________
> NW-Mailing-List at

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