Station agents and telegraphers

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Aug 30 01:04:32 EDT 2015

Don't forget wire 112 when it's running is the Shenandoah side ;-)

On Aug 27, 2015 9:01 AM, "NW Mailing List" <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:

> Francesco:
> Re your request for information on station agents and telegraphers who may
> have worked at AY, Rural Retreat. (You probably know that the original name
> for the railroad station there was Mount Airy. The old telegraph call, AY,
> was never changed.)
> If you are willing to invest some elbow grease in this project, go to
> Google Books and find all the digitized issues of a magazine called
> Railroad Telegrapher. It was the monthly publication of the Order of
> Railroad Telegraphers. Each local lodge of the ORT had a correspondent who
> was supposed to send in the local news, for publication. The N&W goings-on
> are reported under the heading of Division 12.
> Depending on the diligence and literary skills of the correspondent, these
> reports range from quite juicy to hopelessly trite. Who became married, who
> had babies, who took vacations and where they went, who was off sick, who
> went hunting and fishing, who changed jobs, who was working relief
> assignments, and other gossip. Some of the monthly reports contain only a
> paragraph or two of meaningless information, and some run to three pages of
> very interesting data. To me, the most valuable postings concern the
> opening and closing of various telegraph offices and stations, the
> implementation of manual block or automatic block rules, the addition of
> second tracks, and the like.
> Division 12 covered the entire N&W, and this leads to one drawback. If the
> correspondent were, say, a Shenandoah Valley man, his monthly rants would
> be heavy on S.V. happenings, and almost nil on events on other territories.
> So the information you get for a given territory will be hit-and-miss, but
> quite frequently you find a real jewel which has been recorded in no other
> source.
> I am presently reading through the 1907 volume of Railroad Telegrapher,
> abstracting information on other railroads in which I am interested. If I
> see anything on AY Mount Airy / Rural Retreat, I will pass it along.
> Since you now have a station of your own, we should talk some day about
> getting your location on the Internet Telegraph Wire we now have. A number
> of museums are now putting in a set of telegraph instruments and hooking
> them up to the Internet Wire using a laptop computer. All you need to make
> it live is someone who understands Morse (and an amatuer radio person won't
> fit the bill, because radio people use the wrong code.) Something to think
> about, long term.
> -- abram burnett
> SW Telegraph Office
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