A comparison of the telegraph with the telephone as a means of communication in steam railroad operation

Author(s): M. H. Clapp
Publisher: IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Publication Date: 1 March 1914
Volume: 33
Page(s): 409 - 428
ISSN (Paper): 0097-2444
DOI: 10.1109/PAIEE.1914.6660834



Brief historical descriptions of the use of the telegraph and the telephone on railroads are given, the first train having been handled by telegraph in 1851 and the first handling of trains by telephone on long stretches of main line track having started as late as 1907: In comparison with the telegraph, the telephone circuits cost more to install and operate, but effect a saving in the operation of the railroad, both directly and indirectly, as it is possible to move trains over the road more rapidly. The advantages and disadvantages in comparing the telegraph with the telephone are summarized as follows: In Favor of the Telephone. Universality, saving of time, rapidity of transmission, psychological effects, promptness in raising offices, no necessity of specially trained operators, saving in expense of railroad operation, and best operation of circuit in heavy weather. In Favor of the Telegraph. Flexibility in handling circuits, simplicity in installing, maintaining and operating, circuit best adapted for long distances, effects of distance in transmission, saving in cost of installation and maintenance, and the standard of maintenance. In considering what are termed the four methods of communication, namely: by personal interview, by letter, by telephone or telegraph message, and by telephone conversation, attention is called to the fact that the use of the last-mentioned method by the railroads in this country has not been carried as far as it should.