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Pennsy radio antennas

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Pennsy radio antennas
Posted by restorator on Saturday, July 21, 2018 9:26 PM

Does anyone know when the Pennsylvania RR first start installing the large roof mounted antennas and when did they remove them?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, July 21, 2018 10:03 PM

They called it the Trainphone.  The system started in 1945 and was phased out around 1967.  When they actually removed the antennas might be another story.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 21, 2018 10:53 PM

As an add on question... How much of the Pennsylvania was equipped to use the TrainPhone?

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I understand it required lineside equipment also to make it work. If this is true, it would have been a huge task to install it all across the line.

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Was it used mainly in rural areas or urban areas?

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, July 22, 2018 2:00 AM

From a 1953 booklet "Pictorial Review of Progress on the Pennsylvania"

 PRR_1953progress by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Regards, Ed

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, July 23, 2018 12:51 AM

restorator
Does anyone know when the Pennsylvania RR first start installing the large roof mounted antennas

A few additional notes gathered from some of my documents:

PRR and Union Switch & Signal began development just prior to WWII. The prototype installation was in September 1941 on the Belvedere Branch. By June of 1942 a locomotive and cabin car had been equipped and additional wayside equipment installed. The developmental installation was complete by 1944 on the line between Trenton and Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

At that time ten locomotives, ten cabin cars and one wayside station, Frenchtown, NJ, were equipped for a full trial. For this installation the carrier was on a 5.7 kilocycle AM frequency.

The signal was radiated at so low power that an FCC licence was not required.

By 1947 the installation grew from the initial Bel-Del line to two main line divisions between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh initially on passenger engines and shortly after in freight locomotives and cabin cars. The single carrier frequency was changed from 5.7 kHz AM to two FM frequencies 88 and 144 kHz. Selectors on the equipment were marked L or H for each frequency.

Although some descriptions say the signal was carried through the rails it was actually lineside wires that picked up the signal. If the wires were a distance of more than 150 feet from the track an additional wire was strung closer to the track and insulated from ground.

The transmitter loops were the prominant feature of locomotives and cabin cars. A wire was placed inside this pipe. On cabin cars the recieving loop was placed inside a disc-like case. Sometimes these were used on locomotives if space was a problem.

PRR expanded Trainphone to most of the system by 1940 excluding the electrified zones.

PRR attempted to develop a "Carryphone" which was a thirty-pound box with a handset and loop antenna on the bottom of the box. It never got past the development stage.

restorator
and when did they remove them?

The PRR also used conventional radio usually in specific, larger yards. By the mid 1960s radio development (transistors) surpassed any advantages of Trainphone. There were just over thirty vacuum tubes in each trainphone set requiring frequent replacement and added maintenance cost.

PRR gradually removed the phone equipment and installed radio. "Radio Equipped" decals appeared on such equipment. 

The last new locomotive delivered with trainphone was an Alco C-424, number 2415 delivered in 9/1963. A general order was issued on April 30, 1967 officially ending trainphone use.

Hope that helps, Ed

 

PED
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Posted by PED on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 3:11 PM

What does "radio equipped" mean?

I have a Santa Fe caboose that is a traditional red except that the coupla is painted white. From some info I found, that white coupla was supposed to mean that the caboose was radio equiped and was capable of traveling in PRR territory.

Does that souund right? If so, I would like to know more about how that caboose was used in PRR territory.

Paul D

N scale Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Southern Oklahoma circa late 70's

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 3:45 AM

If I'm not mistaken, the run-through agreements came after the Penn-Central merger. Sure they were run on former PRR territory but Trainphone was long gone by then.

Some of the railroad radios had limited frequency selectors, say six or eight channels or so and they were tuned with plug-in crystals. Perhaps the specific Santa Fe cabooses had radios that included the frequencies needed for communication on Penn-central's road frequencies.

http://members.localnet.com/~docsteve/railroad/scanfreq.htm

Today's radios can digitally tune any of the needed frequencies.

Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 26, 2018 6:44 AM

This thread is just giving me more questions...

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I painted the cupolas on two STRATTON & GILLETTE cabooses yellow, mainly just because I thought it looked good and mixed up the fleet a bit.

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Does the yellow (or white) cupola actually indicate the presence of special equipment?

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-Kevin

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Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by dti406 on Thursday, July 26, 2018 7:16 AM

The yellow and gray cupolas were to designate pool service cabooses, yellow was for east and west and gray was for north and south.

Rick Jesionowski

Rule 1: This is my railroad.

Rule 2: I make the rules.

Rule 3: Illuminating discussion of prototype history, equipment and operating practices is always welcome, but in the event of visitor-perceived anacronisms, detail descrepancies or operating errors, consult RULE 1!

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