Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's All About Time - Fall Back!

Smithers Division, Skeena Subdivision, Mile Post 119.4. In Prince Rupert, the Master Clock was in the Yard Office, upstairs from the Passenger Depot. The room was alive just before departure time with crew assembling, small talk, the occasional laugh, the smell of oiled wood floors, slightly burnt coffee, and diesel oil.

I really wanted to go to!

A couple of times I witnessed the setting of the Master Clock, hanging on the wall above the Train Register shelf.

As I recall, the time signal was transmitted via the telegraphers sounder, with the time signal sequence beginning before the hour. A message came down the wire, and the telegrapher would let the room know that the time sequence was beginning.

The room fell silent except for the “click” on the telegraph sounder each second. A few seconds before the exact hour, a pause, and then a final "click" right exactly at on the hour.

It was quite the ritual to witness. Once the final “click” was registered, the telegrapher would rattle off a “complete” message to the Division Dispatcher at Smithers, and conversations would resume.

“Local time” hinged around high noon at any given location across the country, and at one time, there were more than 100 “high noon’s.” With the railroads needing exact timing to keep from running into and over each other, they were instrumental in the establishment of the four time zones. (Russia, by the way, because of its girth around the globe, has 11 time zones!)

The Waltham pocket watch shown above, belonged to my Grandpa Robert - my namesake. I had it checked out by a jewler several years ago, and it still holds perfect time after more than half a Century!

1 Comments - Click here:

SDP45 said...

Loved this post! It brings back a time when there was more order in our country.

If you had photographed the watch showing 2 o'clock, it would have better matched the title of the posting. As in, the end of daylight savings happens at 2 am.


Post a Comment

"Comment" is for sharing information related to this article. "Anonymous" comments are not published.