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Doesn't anyone miss the code line?

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  • Member since
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  • From: MRL 3rd Sub MP117 "No defects, repeat, no defects"
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Doesn't anyone miss the code line?
Posted by ValorStorm on Sunday, October 7, 2007 3:53 AM

I've mentioned this years ago in the old forum and got four apathetic responses. Here's a preservation point that never gets addressed: The "code line" is disappearing! Often called the "pole line," these poles & wires are a defining fixture of classic railroading. They're coming down everywhere, and I don't hear anybody talking about it.

Yes, I understand and fully appreciate that they're obsolete. I'm not against their demise. I wasn't against the demise of the way car either, but everyone got the photos and wrote the books.

When I was a kid in the back of Dad's station wagon, westbound on US 30 in Nebraska, the code line was the one thing that made the railroad landscape so vast when there were no trains in view. And when a headlight did appear miles ahead, you would see it blink between the poles. That was a great anticipation builder for a seven year old in the early '60s.

The Montana Rail Link is my hometown railroad. The semaphores have all come down. That's sad. But cabooses still hold sway on the Bonner Turn, track is relaid where a Milwaukee Road branch once passed under the NP at Milltown, and the poles and wires along the mainline still stand. The MRL still looks like the Northern Pacific.

My favorite locomotive? SD70ACe. But I long for the good old days as much as any true rail enthusiast. In this brave new world of ribbon-rail and concrete ties, all that's left of the good old days is the code line.

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Posted by BigJim on Sunday, October 7, 2007 6:39 PM

all that's left of the good old days is the code line.

Even that is going the way of the Microwave. Signals just don't line up as quick as they used to. Do I miss the poles? Yes, they were sure a big help when a unit doesn't have a distance counter.

.

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Posted by J. Edgar on Monday, October 8, 2007 6:13 PM

i concur with the pole issue.....fading icon like the caboose....was one of the first things the oldhand conductors told me when cubbing......good estimate for carlengths.....from a fan point of view i miss them in certain shots....adds something i think....and good for the ghost chasing which i love doing....

 

 Michigan Air Line ROW in Stockbridge Mi....line built 1860's...became part of the GTW.....pulled up late 1960's....local community made short path on ROW mid 80's now part of a 40 mile trail network from Waterford Mi to almost Jackson Mi.....but in downtown Stockbridge other then this one codeline pole youd never know steam locomotives pulled up here whistling for the flagstop that was Stockbridge

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Posted by tim o'm on Monday, October 15, 2007 3:29 PM
While it seems like a good thing to "open up" more photo opportunities by removing the poles and wires, especially if they're dilapidated, I agree that we are losing another identifying feature of the rail lines when the poles and wires go away. It actually seems ridiculous that many of the steam engines running are on modern, welded rail without a single aspect of history left on the rail line. The trouble is that so many people involved in "Preservation" have no concept that an old locomotive is like a fish out of water when placed in a modern setting. Yet, who wants to "save a pole?" especially when insulators are seen as shooting targets, and the wire is scavenged for the scrap value of the copper?

Brothers, I share your pain.
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Posted by Erie Lackawanna on Monday, October 15, 2007 4:14 PM

Must admit I won't miss it that much... Often times it made pictuers impossible... but in the days before GPS it was a good way to follow a railroad in territory you did not know.

Charles Freericks
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Posted by MOPACnut on Thursday, March 27, 2008 7:12 PM
Being an insulator collector and signal nut i agree. Nobody seems to care about these (and signals). In 2004 BNSF gave the Topeka sub poles a makeover which was nice, but many have a single 6 wire crossarm now which just doesn't look right for a signalled main line ( before half had 2 arm poles and the other half 4 arm). I rescued a big roll off dumpster full of crossarms (plus signs and some signal parts) that would've wound up at a dump if not for me (no charge either!). The're was a 18' piece of pole with them so i assembled a "Santa Fe" style 4 arm pole and put it up in my yard. I tried to get the pole next to the depot preserved but failed (the poles were removed in town).
  In addition tons of poles are going to waste along the abandoned MO-PAC line here. There's some a few miles east of town that are very tall, and mark where SF's Osage City district (Osage city to Quenemo, abd. 1933) crossed it. These will problay go sooner or later unless the're saved.
  I'd like to get a pole from this line to go with my pair of block signals i saved from it ;)
I preferr "Rail" over "trail".
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Posted by dldance on Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:16 PM

Made a family vist this weekend in Idaho and was pleased to note that between Pocatello and Idaho Falls is an intact, fully functioning code line with power lines as well.  Depending on signals and crossing protection in some places there are only 3 pair but a couple of places have 6 to 8 pair.

dd

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Posted by Railway Man on Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:58 PM

Almost none of these are "code lines" per se any longer, they carry no code, at least on western railroads.  Code is almost 100% transmitted through the rail via Electrocode, or by HD Linker radios to the control points, or by fiber-optic ring.  Many of the pole lines do carry signal circuits between the control points and the intermediates -- unless the block is Electrocoded -- and of course power.  The correct term is "pole line."

Code line does have a wonderful ring to it, but alas, no longer.

Visually, railways without pole lines look wrong to me, especially main lines.  A railway without a pole line says "branch line" to me.  I guess I'm showing my age.  I will always have in my memory the wonderful sight of many a main line crossing high plains and deserts, pole line marching with it over the horizon.

RWM 

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Posted by J. Edgar on Friday, March 28, 2008 5:42 PM

 

 RVM your correct....no code here either..lineside phones were removed 1995..but....like "hogger" and "gandydancer" its a term embedded in history and as long as wires hang next to the tracks foamers DSPRs and crews will call em codelines....." CSX AW DSPR to D70928""709""709 sorry bud codeline is down between Howell and South Lyon....permission past stop indication EE Howell per TT special instructions........." then ya know your on OT and order the taxi.....

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Posted by dldance on Saturday, March 29, 2008 10:56 PM
 Railway Man wrote:

Almost none of these are "code lines" per se any longer, they carry no code, at least on western railroads.  Code is almost 100% transmitted through the rail via Electrocode, or by HD Linker radios to the control points, or by fiber-optic ring.  Many of the pole lines do carry signal circuits between the control points and the intermediates -- unless the block is Electrocoded -- and of course power.  The correct term is "pole line."

Code line does have a wonderful ring to it, but alas, no longer.

Visually, railways without pole lines look wrong to me, especially main lines.  A railway without a pole line says "branch line" to me.  I guess I'm showing my age.  I will always have in my memory the wonderful sight of many a main line crossing high plains and deserts, pole line marching with it over the horizon.

RWM 

The last true code line in Idaho that I am aware of was the line to Hill City.  That key was operated until about 1970.  Now both the code line and the rail are gone.

dd

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