Telegraph pole Spacing standard

Discussion in 'Right of Way' started by pbender, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Does anyone know what The Frisco's standard telegraph pole spacing was?

    Is it the same 100' spacing as the stations mentioned elsewhere or is it some other value?

    Also, does someone know what the typical distance was from the track centerline to the telegraph poles?

    I've been looking at some of the drawings Karl posted from his father's notes, and those show the pole locations. This certainly would be nice to be able to model.

  2. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    The "common" spacing was 40 to 50 poles per mile (more or less). The spacing was dependent upon topography, dependent upon whether or not the setting was urban or rural, and dependent upon the track configuration. The pole line was also set inside the ROW line so that all wires were located inside the railroad ROW. For single track the right of way was usually 50 feet wide, and through towns, the right of way was typically 100 feet wide. The pole line "wandered" within the ROW in order to avoid structures, tracks, etc. In "town" the poles were taller to provide overhead clearance for the grade crossings; in a rural setting the poles were shorter.

    I have copied another page from my father's notes that show the number of poles per each mile on the KC Sub.

    Also attached is a page from the 1914 Rules for Maintenance of Way and Structures that depict the nomeclature for numbering the poles.

    This was later simplified. A single sheet metal square indicated 5 poles and a band around the pole indicated 10 2 bands equal MP X plus 20 poles, etc.

    KC_sub_pole_per_mile.jpg pole nomclature.JPG
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2011
  3. pbender

    pbender Member Supporter

    Thanks Karl.

    That was exactly the kind of information I needed.

  4. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2016
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Karl, do you know the approximate time frame for the simplified pole-numbering setup? I've experimented - successfully thus far - with modeling this using some white decal stripes from a Walthers MoP decal set. I'm trying to figure out if it's close enough for my modeling era. I might use it, regardless. I think it makes for a neat detail.

    Best Regards,
  6. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    I was in Ada, OK the other day and saw one of these posted on the wall in the yard office (former Frisco, now BNSF). I was a little preoccupied at the time, but now I really wish I had taken a photo of it. Maybe next time...
  7. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Chris, the pole line in the foreground of the Frisco Archive photo is a private utility. The Frisco pole line is behind the train. Attached is an image of the +15 pole just north of Synder, OK on the Enid-Hobart Sub.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2016
  8. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Chris will have an answer for you in a day or two.
  9. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Karl, thanks. I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't look closely enough. It wouldn't have taken much to see the actual line in the background. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, and for the supplemental photo.

    Best Regards,
  10. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Supporter

    On the Cherokee Sub from Tulsa to Monett the normal number of poles was 40. We did have more poles on some miles in the very curvy run between Jeff and Granby following a nice stream which, as I remember, was called Clear Creek. The speed through this area was 45 mph due to the curves. Johnny Townsend, one of my favorite engineers, jokingly would tell me that this one particular mile was the longest mile on the Frisco because of the extra poles in it. He also taught me to set first service as we approached these 45 mph curves west bound and pull the train through them at 50 mph or a little above to smooth out the ride for the conductor and rear brakeman in the caboose. In those days, we would fudge on the speed if we had the power to do so with no fear of discipline. Also, the use of stretch braking was the accepted method for slowing and stopping as it afforded the men in the caboose the smoothest ride.
    On the Creek Sub between Sapulpa and Francis the pole count was 35. I don't remember any exceptions on the Creek Sub.
  11. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Terry, I always thoroughly enjoy reading operating details as specific as this. Thanks very much for the story and the insight.

    Best Regards,
  12. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Supporter

    You are welcome, Chris. I am glad you enjoy memories I have. Terry
  13. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter


    Sorry for the delay, but I cleaned the railroad room to make room for the grandchildren, and I put my standard plans in a place from which they were difficult to retrieve. The Milepost drawing was revised 12/1/75 and the original drawing date was covered. However based on the drawing number, the change to the intermediate - post aluminum bands commenced circa 1948-49. It would be difficult to determine how long it took the railroad to covert to the new system.

    Cherokee Sub Pole Per Mile


    Creek Sub Poles Per Mile

  14. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Back in the time Karl, is talking about, the railroad had "Pole" gangs that took care of the various lines on the system. The lower cross-arm had two copper wires without insulation. Those two wires was used by the Section Foreman, he would hook both lines and use his field phone to talk with the dispatcher. I am a little out of my expertise, however the signals ran off those lines and some phone service. Pole Lines was used up and into the 70's Some places like the River Division was hard to work without a field phone. I think, someone has posted a photo of a field phone.
    One time I was working just south of Thayer, Mo, a Train passed by me at King siding and started a "Right of Way" fire, the guy I was working with said. " call the fire department!!!!!!" so I did. I called the Dispatcher who called the foreman (who was sneaking a hot lunch in town" The Foreman came screaming down the track and said "who the --------called the fire department? I said, beaming " I did" The foreman said "You are the------- Fire Department" "----- my hamburger is cold" Now with the "Screaming" hint, some of you know just who that foreman was. Headquarters Hardy, Ar. Ha, I didn't call about fires again.
  15. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    LMAO. Yep now we be railroadin.....
  16. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Folks -
    More fun with line poles. Perhaps this is better suited for a new thread but I thought I would add to this one. Does anyone know of any resources - Frisco or general railroad references - for line pole standards?

    For instance, note this example near the 29th Street interlocking/Fairgrounds branch, where the pole has "double-crossbars:"

    I've always figured these were set up this way to add extra support or due to the tension of the lines, but I've not been able to find either rhyme or reason for it?

    The same goes for angled supports or guy wires: when, and why?

    Finally, here's a couple of oddities, just for fun; zoom in for a closer look. Not only do these poles appear to have an upper extension added to them, but the 2nd one back looks like it was spliced onto the remnants of a previous, older pole - maybe one that was blown over in a storm or accident?

    I might have to find a way to incorporate these for variety.

    Best Regards,
  17. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    The guy wire/guy pole issue should come down to whether the pole was located on a curve or angle point. A guy pole would be installed on the inside of a curve or angle point to provide compressive strength and keep the vertical pole from leaning inward. Similarly a guy wire would be installed on the outside of a curve or angle point to provide tensile strength to keep the vertical pole upright. Guy wires seem to be more common than guy poles, but in those cases where the one wouldn't fit in the right-of-way the other could be used.
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  18. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Ryan, that makes sense. Many things for the insight. I think I"m going to need to add some guy poles to a few of my line poles that I've installed just south of of MP 21.0. These are the same line poles that aren't beveled on the top to allow rain water to run off. It might be time to get a new B&B foreman for my subdivision. :)

    Best Regards,

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