Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Railway's use of telegraph


I'm writing a work of fiction set aboard a train that's traveling between Chicago and San Francisco in the summer of 1898. If there was an emergency aboard the train that necessitated alerting the police at the next major station, were they capable of sending a telegram while still en route, or would they have to wait until the train reached the closest station with a telegraph? ...

Kathy Owen


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was easy to stop a train, climb a telegraph pole and connect to the telegraph line early on after the transcontinental railroad was built, because the telegraph circuit was very simple.

Later on when a telegraph line carried multiple multiplexed telegraph circuits simultaneously, this would have been a bit more challenging technically, but could have been accomplished if the train carried the needed telegraph equipment.

Not sure if trains routinely carried telegraph equipment in 1898.

4/05/2015 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"On the morning of the tenth [of May, 1869] the Union forces brought their track to within a rail length of that from the west. Al. Bowsher, the Central Pacific wireman, climbed a telegraph pole to connect the wire [see photograph with American Flag on the telegraph pole] with the spike maul and F. L. Vanderburgh, superintendent of the Central Company's lines made the attachment with the instruments to complete the circuit. ... The ceremony of uniting the two roads ended when Dr. Harkness handed the governor a gold spike donated by David Hewes of California. Mr. Durant gave it a tap for courtesy then Governor Stanford raised high in air a silver spike maul presented by Manager Coe of the Pacific Union Express, and brought it down lustily, sending a flash to both ends of the continent, New York on the East, San Francisco on the West, as the operator said 'Done.' "
Epic of the Overland, by Robert L. Fulton

4/05/2015 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sometimes a trainman would be seen climbing a telegraph pole to send a message."

4/05/2015 2:52 PM  

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