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

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Aug 1 10:42:03 EDT 2006

Abram, Certainly could be that my Dad told me this was a 4,400-volt line but I could have sworn he said it was 440 volts....Sounds mighty high to me -- But it's probably been at least 45 years since he told me this....And You are probably right, these lines likely are not CTC code lines, which truly are insulated throughout their lengths for protection against the weather, line voltage leakage, etc., because they provided the power to operate the critical signal and switch systems. Where is the "return" or "neutral" wire?? -- You've got me on that one, Brother Abram. I dunno....I am certainly and definitely no electrician -- and never was -- but my Dad surely was -- and I may have misquoted him on some aspects of this explanation....So, does someone else have more accurate answers?? Where is that REAL N&W or VGN signalman in Our Crowd?? About All The Men I knew when a Young'un are Gone to Their Great Rewards in That Signal Bungalow in the Sky, in which I sure hope it IS NOT 125-30 degrees inside about this time of EVERY year!!....Let's try for some more explanations....Lloyd Lewis
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.orgDate: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 02:36:39 +0000From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.orgSubject: RE: N&W icons: the singularly N&W 440-volt line on poles

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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