What's a radio car? What did it do?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by kf4jqd, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    I have found this picture on the Southern Railroad Historical web site. It's a radio car. What did it do? When was this car in production? How long was it used? Is it still used today? I saw no antennas on top. Any ideas?


    Attached Files:

  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I stand corrected :)

    Thanks Vic!!!!

    Ya learn somethin' new everyday - I'm gonna have to talk to my sources again :(

    ~~ Mikey
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Andy, The red lines that I added to your picture point to the antennas....they are the typical "firecracker" style antenna used by Southern on their locos.

    The radio car was used for control of mid train engines. When I lived in the Atlanta area it was typical to see 200 + car trains between Atlanta and Chattanooga and Atlanta and Birmingham. These heavy "drags" required mid-train engines because of the tonnage involved.

    In the simplest terms the radio car allowed the engineer to control the mid train engines from the lead engine. There was quite a bit of "flack" about them from the union because they did not require a crew to operate the mid train locos.

    I recall that they came into use in the 1970's...Don't know if NS uses them today though.


    Attached Files:

  4. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Whao- Kewl Info!!!

    Thanks for the post and replies fellows.

    This is the sorta stuff you tuck away, forget and whip out just because you know. The more you know- the more you know.

    Mark (a.k.a. N3PEB, -. ...-- .--. . -...)
  5. Catt

    Catt Guest

    There was an article fairly recently on modeling these cars.NS did use them for a few years,but I think they have all been retired by now.I seem to recall that they were sold to another railroad (name escapes me at the moment) and they are in use still today.There is an HO kit available for them.
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Mark, Didn't know you are a ham also:) Looks like we've got three of us here now, yourself, Andy and me...K4VIC.

    73, de Vic K4VIC bt om k
  7. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Well, now we need a new post!

    Crimminy- I hate to have to ask who's who and what's what. You find out by getting around. Who gets around and finds out more than anyone else? AROs, model railroaders, guys like us?!!! haaa- i crack me uP!

    I figure about .2% of the gauge are hams, we just don't know it. And so it goes. It's like walking down the street and smiling to say hello to whoever you meet.

    It brightens up their/my day.

    The original "Wireless"!

  8. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hey Mark, I think I posted a question about who might be a ham on here about a year ago....Andy was the only one who answered. HI HI ...73, Vic
  9. mimhoff

    mimhoff New Member

    Off topic but I am a newbie and a ham (not very active) also.
    That makes 4

  10. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Welcome aboard a very special train mim!

    Welcome aboard a very special train mim!

    'll Board!~~~~~~
  11. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    More Hams?

    Thanks for the information everyone. More hams on here? :eek: What is this world coming to? :D I even have a house on my layout that has a tower and a 3 elemtent beam!

    Andy aka KF4JQD

    Attached Files:

  12. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Andy, Man! That tower is neat!:) Did you scratchbuild it?

    BTW...it needs to be bracketed to the house and guyed off:D Appears to be over 30' tall:D What would the ARRL have to say?:D :D :D :D :D HI HI!!

    73, de K4VIC
  13. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Somewhat off topic, but you can include me in the list of hams, too, although I'm not very active and have only 2 meters and 440 gear at present (although General class license)

  14. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    That's where I am Dave...

    That's where I am Dave, moved to an RF hole and resurected muh trains and music hobby instead. But, I do turn on an HT from the car- rubber ducky and hit the local repeater anyway. Just to say hi and make sure the radio still works.

    I can't believe my license is up for renewal (10 years already???), seems like yesterday. When I got it I said I'd use up the privledges in a year and forget all about it- I'm happy that I keep radio active even if it's only in passing. Perhaps that's why i am still modeling after all these years. I worked too hard to get my ticket- I intend to keep it! After all, it's not like model railroading where you can walk into a hobbyshop and say "I wanna be" and they hand you what you want because you have cash (although there are those in the government who want it that way- look at the recent advent of the FRS-Family Radio Service- you know- CB on all bands!).

  15. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    No Correction Needed

    Hi Mikey, Actually you are not incorrect....just a half a century or so late:) :D The Western Union Telegraph Co. did operate such cars as you described as did some railroads. Years ago there was a kit of it but for the life of me I can't remember who made it. The prototype didn't use radio (that came later) but as you stated they could send telegraph signals thru the rails.

    Also, many old time conductors were skilled telegraph operators and carried a telegraph key, battery and a sounder in their "grip". Should the train develop mechanical trouble or some other emergency arise between stations they would stop the train and the conductor would climb the nearest telegraph pole, attach his telegraph key to the wires and contact the nearest station operator for assistance.

Share This Page