Railroad time

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sat Nov 26 22:29:39 EST 2011

Last night my mother gave me a railroad watch certification card for my great-grandfather's watch that he used while the engineer on trains nos. 1 and 3 in the 1930's. I know of the great wreak in 1891 that led to the creation of special watches manufactured specifically for railroad personnel. And I know these watches were required to be set to the correct time every 14 days, and re-certified every 6 months. But who kept the official time (down to the second) and where did they get their time from?

Today it's all computerized, but in the early days of steam when the telegraph was king the concept of synchronized time seems very difficult to attain. Does anyone know how they did it?


Blair Miller

Sent from my iPad

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