Some recent developments in railway telephony

Author(s): Gregory Brown
Publisher: IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Publication Date: 1 April 1911
Volume: 30
Page(s): 631 - 660
ISSN (Paper): 0097-2444
DOI: 10.1109/PAIEE.1911.6659706



The standard means of communication on railroads for despatching and blocking trains and transmitting messages for the past 60 years has been the telegraph. Although the telephone obviously possessed some advantages over the telegraph for railroad work, the fact that the railroads had been using the telegraph for such a long period and with such reliable results, made them loath to adopt a new and to them untried arrangement. About four years ago, however, a combination of circumstances arose which strongly focused the minds of railway officials upon the feasibility of the telephone to replace the telegraph for railroad work. The most important circumstance causing this result was the enactment of a federal law limiting the working hours of an operator transmitting or receiving orders affecting train movements, to nine hours. In addition to this, there had been a growing difficulty among the railroad companies in securing a sufficient number of competent operators to take care of the natural increase in business. It was also felt that the efficiency of the railroad telegraph operators had been steadily decreasing for some time, this state of affairs probably being brought about by the attitude of the Telegraphers' Organization toward student operators.