RR Telephone Boxes

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RR Telephone Boxes
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:12 PM
[?]

I'm considering doing something a bit unusual to install a new telephone
line in my model railroad room, and I have a question for the forum
members (this could arguably be more suited to the Classic Trains
forum, but this forum seems to have more active-readers). [:)]

Though I'm not much of a woodworker, I'm thinking of building a replica
of a wooden railroad telephone box, and then maybe buying a restored
antique telephone to put inside (that is at least similar to what some
railroads may have used).

The problem is that it's been pretty hard to find plans or even basic
dimensions for such enclosures. I've seen plenty of photographs of the
wooden boxes, but I've found practically nothing in the way of specific
blueprints. I've even made an offer to Progressive Rail to purchase an
old metal box on their property (still awaiting their response, if any will
be forthcoming).

Might anyone know where I could find plans/diagrams for any
railroad's box design that I could work from? I'd want to build it as
accurately as possible (same hinges, paint, lock mount, and
telephone if possible - that degree of detail is most of the fun in the
activity).

Suggestions are welcome!
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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, April 21, 2005 1:42 PM
I'd be willing to bet that you can do just about anything and it will fit some prototype, somewhere. Doesn't strike me as an item that would be amongst the fanciest on the road - it just had to keep the weather off the instrument. I would build the boxes out of boards, not plywood. If you can plane them down, it'll probably work better.

IIRC, many of the railroad phones were more like a headset and a microphone (like the old fashioned crank phones), but were on a continuous circuit. No dialing or cranking necessary. Pick up the phone and the DS answers.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, April 21, 2005 4:37 PM
http://prr.railfan.net/standards/standards.cgi?plan=59586-A

http://prr.railfan.net/standards/standards.cgi?plan=61981--

http://prr.railfan.net/standards/standards.cgi?plan=70350-C
Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by edblysard on Thursday, April 21, 2005 4:45 PM
Well,
Ya just cant beat that, now can ya!

As a after thought...the last phone box I saw was at Tower 13, west end of Eureka Yard, former Katy yard in Houston...the box looked almost excatlly like the last drawing mudchicken provided, with the exception that the phone was nothing more that a basic Westren Electric handset, on a hang up hook.

There was also a simple shelf under the handset, to use as a desk...

When the crews wanted to call in, they just picked up the handset, and it shows up as a open circut to the dispatcher...

Ed

23 17 46 11

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, April 21, 2005 4:55 PM
Western Cullen Hayes still has the grey fibergass boxes in their catalog, but I don't think 1970's design is what WIAR was looking for. Most standard plan books sets sold in hobby stores only have a small fraction of the drawings a typical railroad would use.

My favorite was the old 8-sided Santa Fe Tall Pagoda telephone booths that were used with message phones out on the branchlines in dark territory. Is WIAR going to keep the sound effects that came with the old message phones as in the "talking down a long pipe" or gawdawful humm sound?

[:D][:D][:D]
Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 21, 2005 6:35 PM
One thing you might look at is the old CNJ concrete boxes on at least one of their Ocean County, NJ lines. Heck, there are quite a few of the things still around (albeit in severe need of repair). Even ATSF pagodas might not have been quite as stylish as those! (You could make castings as molds, and duplicate the panels and roof in something like fiberglass).
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 22, 2005 6:50 PM
Hey thanks for all the input (especially mudchicken's)! I found two old EL
(Erie) concrete phone enclosures back in 1999. One was on the county
fairground property in Preble, IN and the other was along the EL's ROW
justwest of the 10th St. crossing in Decatur, IN (those towns are fond
memories of mine as a kid watching EL action from grandma's house).
Unfortunately I had neither the means to pick them up or the space to
store them, and with my luck, if I would've erected them on my property
tthey would've become havens for wasps just like they did in EL service!
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Posted by ben10ben on Friday, April 22, 2005 7:33 PM
Originals aren't too terribly difficult to come by, and aren't all that expensive. Most of the ones that I have seen have either a telephone operator's headset or a an intercom-style handset. I've never seen one that used a standard style handset, although I'm sure they existed. The most apropriate type for that would probably be a Western Electric F-1 style handset(black), which is readily available for few bucks off of Ebay. A later G-style handset would probably not be apropriate.

Another common style was a candlestick-type phone mounted on a metal accordion-type swivel with the intercom style handset as mentioned above.

Anyway, your best be(if you were to use an original) would probably be to wire the handset or transmitter and receiver along with the hookswitch to a Western Electric 102 or 202 subset. The 202 is preferable, although either can be easily used. These integrate either a sidetone(102) or anti-sidetone(202) network along with a ringer.

You could easily mount a Western Electric #4H or equivalent dial inside of the case, and wire the pulsing contacts in series with the hookswitch. The shunting contacts need to be wired parallel to the receiver to keep the loud popping of the dial pulses from giving you a headache(trust me on this one).

I collect telephones in addition to my trains, and would be glad to help you in any additional way that I can.
Ben TCA 09-63474
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Posted by mudchicken on Saturday, April 23, 2005 1:25 PM
WIAR - Copies of the EL's Standard Plans (including the telephone boxes) can be found in the special collections of the University of Akron next door in Ohio.
Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west

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