First Telegraph Train Instructions Given on RUTLAND.
The year 1952 marks the 100th Anniversary of the moving of the first train in the United States under instructions received by telegraph. This event took place on the RUTLAND. R. E. Davine, Car Accountant, calls attention of NEWSLINER readers to the following account of "the first telegraphic train order in the United States" as it is published in "The Historical Sketches of the Connecticut River Valley in Southern Vermont and New Hampshire," by Lyman
The article follows :
The first railroad train ever moved in this country under instructions received by telegraph is understood to have been on the Rutland Road between here (Bellows Falls) and Burlington in 1852. Both the railroads and the telegraph had been utilized but a few years in this country when an incident occurred on this railroad which was the initiation of the present general system of moving trains by telegraph.
Until that year railroads had no telegraph service of their own. Trains were operated wholly by timecard rules, which provided that one train would wait at a certain station until another train had passed. If one train was late at the meeting point the other was required to wait 12 hours or until the other showed up.
Such a condition existed on the winter morning in February 1852, when the first telegraphic train order flashed over the wires. The northbound train due to meet the southbound train at Middlebury was in a snowbank in the Green Mountains between here and Rutland. Albert H. Copeland, who worked in the postal service at Middlebury at that time, was also the local operator. The conductor of the southbound train was, of course, unaware of the stalled train at the south, and only knew that he and his passengers had before them a wait at Middlebury anywhere from 12 minutes to 12 hours, when at the expiration of the latter time his train regained its right to proceed to Rutland.
As the length of delay increased, the restless, irritated passengers grew bold and wandered uptown from the depot. Some of them straggled into the post office and happened to tell Copeland of the delay.
The operator thought a moment, then he said: "You bring the conductor up here and perhaps we can fix it so that you can go on to Rutland without waiting for the northbound train."
The conductor demurred, but finally acceded to the demands of his irate passengers. Upon arrival at the post office, Mr. Copeland handed him a message from his superintendent at Rutland.
It read something like this: "Northbound train in snowbank south of here. You come on down to Rutland and I will not let any train go north until you arrive.''
Mr. Conductor read his order, looked Copeland straight in the eye and said: "I am afraid to do this. I might be taking a chance. How do I know it is genuine?"
Copeland quietly replied, ''I'll ride on the engine to Rutland."
That settled it and the train went on its way, the passengers rejoicing and heartily thanking the operator, who kept up a wonderful amount of thinking while quietly sitting in the cab from Middlebury to Rutland.
Albert H. Copeland a few years later removed to Milwaukee, Wis., where he
died about 1900 at the age of 85 years. He often referred to his experience in getting the train through and riding on the locomotive."
All employees of the RUTLAND are invited to make our new Traffic Dept. office at 155 West 44th St. their head- quarters when visiting New York. This office was officially open in the "Big City" on Jan. 28 by James P. Dervin our new Vice-President in charge of Freight and Traffic. If he is not there to greet you, Eddie Gengenbach (formerly with the Passenger Dept.) or John Pawloski, new secretary, will be on hand to do so. (Rutland Newsliner V.1, #1, 1952)
Brakeman R. A. Dragon has received official commendation for alertness and attention to duty. Mr. Dragon may have prevented a serious accident by detecting a broken brake hanger on Train No. 7 at Moira on Jan. 28th.
L.A. Putnam Points Out Need For Fast Progress In 1952 by Railroad (Employees)
On November 1, 1950 our railroad was released from operation by the Court. This presented each of us with a challenge to work out our own destiny. It enabled us to reinvest funds salvaged from the railroad into modern tolls with which to operate the railroad. This process you have seen in operation for fifteen months. We are in the process of pulling ourselves up by our boot straps.
The acquisition of twelve Diesels has produced savings in operation from which
the bulk of our pay increases have come. We need more Diesels to get the maximum benefit from those we have. We need many other modern tools of various kinds to do our work more efficiently. So far, not a cent of the money from the savings in the operation of the Diesels has gone to pay for them-it has all been money recovered from salvage. This cannot continue.
On the average, in 1951 each one of us earned for the company $5,525, or $537. more than we averaged to earn for it in 1950. For doing this, each one of us averaged in 1951 to earn for ourselves $3,648, or $564. more than we averaged to earn in 1950. When our pay goes up on the average more than we increase our average earnings for the company there is less to buy the modern tools that we need to continue to increase the company earnings and our own pay. Increased production by every one in the family is our only hope of survival, and our only hope of further pay increases.
At the same time, it is vitally necessary to protect the company's earnings and expand them if possible. After careful study and planning we have commenced expanding our sales forces where there is better than reasonable certainty that the money spent will be returned in expanding our business profitably. We have added to our sales force the New York office, where there is reason to expect that the money spent will secure for us new and profitable business.
In fifteen months we have jointly accomplished a great deal but we have only scratched the surface. We must find ways and means to improve our combined efficiency. We must strive to progress faster in 1952 and I have great confidence that together we can accomplish that end. (Rutland Newsliner V.1, #1, 1952)