Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Breakdowns

From: "Doctor Z" panther9@skypoint.com

A friend and I were talking the other day about the history of the Transcontinental Railroad, and a question came up.

In the 1870's there was no radio communications, and telegraph needed a hardwired station, and the fact that there was telegraph means the Pony Express was gone, so we were wondering about this and hopefully you will be able to provide an answer.

Let's say you have a passenger train heading along the Transcontinental Railroad and the Locomotive breaks down. Exactly how did they get word to alert the other trains that the tracks were blocked, and how did they get the locomotive repaired when it was stuck in the middle of nowhere, and how did they care for all the stranded passengers during the wait?

I guess that was three questions but they all relate to the one situation. Exactly what was the procedure in place at the time to handle mechanical failure 100's of miles from nowhere in the 1870's?

—Russell