N&W icons: the singularly N&W 440-volt line on poles

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Jul 31 22:36:39 EDT 2006

Wrote Lloyd Lewis:
My Dad, who was The Virginian Railway's last Supervisor of Telegraph & Signals, told me this extra wire on the N&W's pole line above all the other numerous lines and crossarms was the perch upon which rested a special N&W-only 440-volt line....

Doesn't add up for me, Lloyd.

1.) Where's the other side of the circuit (the "neutral" or "return" wire) ?

2.) 440 isn't enough juice to go very far. I haven't done the calculations, but I'll bet you'd see a 50% line drop in voltage over a hundred miles.

3.) Other railroads, and mebbe even the N&W, were hanging 4,400 volts on poles and using it to light stations and drive AC signal systems, as early as 1911-1913.

4.) CTC code line is almost invariably shielded (insulated) because of its critical importance.

I hope one of the museums can get a couple of N&W poles, crossarms and wire, and two of those distinctive angle brackets !

-- abram burnett
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