Steam Doubleheaders

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Wed Feb 3 12:02:38 EST 2021

The crews knew the railroad and what would be required at all times to control trains both up and down grades allowing for curves, weather or any restrictions. No, there was no direct communication between engines and everything relied on experience and skill. The rule book governed many things such as speeds at certain locations or other special situations and crews were obligated to follow the rules. Whistle signals were the main source of communication but they were just basically used when starting and a few other instances.
Roger HuberDeer Creek Locomotive Works 

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 06:57:44 AM CST, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:  
 I have a question about when steam engines pulled trains in tandem (if that's the right term for it.) I assume that today's locomotives are connected electronically which allows the power output to be balanced. But there was no such connection during the steam era. (I think.) And clearly each locomotive required an engineer and a fireman. So did the engineers communicate in some manner to balance the power? Would they set up a system of ropes and bells perhaps? Hand signals? Early radios? Or did the engineers just set a plan in place before they started the trip?
Thanks,Tom FultonAsheville, NC________________________________________
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