Radford Div. Stoops to Telephone Dispatching - 1909 Telegraph Age Magazine

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Jul 6 16:50:10 EDT 2016

Attached is a two page PDF abstracted from the October 16, 1909, issue of
Telegraph Age, mentioning the implementation of telephone Train Dispatching
on the Radford Division.

The first page gives the details and mentions that the cut-over to
telephones was hastened by a magnetic storm which disabled the telegraph.
That storm occurred on September 25, 1909, and on the second page of the
PDF I have put the magazine's mention of that story. So that should
pinpoint, within a few days, of when the actual implementation occurred.

If anyone reads the trade publications of the telephone people from that
era, you might find further details there.

I might mention that in 1909, there most likely was no such thing as the
"amplification" of telephone voice signals on the railroads, so this was
probably a rather poor quality circuit.  Lee Deforest did not invent his
"grid Audion" [sic,] which habilitated the amplification of electrical
signals, until 1906, and as I understand the history, amplification of
voice circuits on railroads did not come around until after 1909.  The
"Selective Ringing" of stations on the Train Wire came even later (Western
Electric's package was introduced in 1916.)  From the literature, it
appears that in the early days of telephone Train Dispatching, the Train
Dispatcher would use the Telegraph to signal the various Train Order
offices when he wanted them to come on the telephone circuit. Some
railroads also used a Gill Selector on the Telegraph wire for the Train
Dispatcher to signal the various offices.  So far as I know, no one has
written up the history of this interesting time of transition on the

Happy Telegraphing, every one !

-- abram burnett

Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
... better than AT&T 4G LTE

 http://nwhs.org/mailinglist/2016/20160706.N&W_Radford Div_Adopts Telephone
Dispatching_Telegraph Age_1909.pdf
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