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Metroliner telephone article 4057


Philip Nasadowski

The article was written in March 1968 plus 1, just after service began, so it didn't report on patronage.

What impressed me was how the Bell engineers anticipated a number of factors, such as higher call volume as the train approached the terminals, high voltage interference, and the tunnels. Too bad the GE-WH people didn't.

Metroliner telephone article 4058
Bell dealt with phones day in-day out, and likely knew the average caller better than the average caller knew himself. They knew RF, and knew...

The Feds later took the frequencies away and the service was cut off. Eventually Amtrak discontinued using the original cars (there were terribly unreliable) and replaced them with locomotives and coaches.

Another train phone system appeared on Amtrak NEC trains.

The phones were booths with a closable door for privacy. Later train phones had no booth at all. Metro North had a huge program to put a trainphone everywhere and made a big deal about it, but it was just when cell phones were coming out and I don't think they got much use out of it.

AFAIK the phones worked well in service. I used it once. I have no idea if usage justified the investment although it was a worthwhile training ground.

The article concludes: "It is the first practical integrated system to use the radio zone concept within the Bell System in order to achieve optimum nuse of a limited number of radio-frequency channels."

A sketch of the phones shows they do have *#.

The Bell System thoroughly tested everything before it went into national production. For example, trials of the Princess telephone set showed the phone was too light and had to be redesigned. Too bad modern technology is not as thoroughly debugged before implementation as Bell System stuff was.

Metroliner telephone article 4059
On Fri, 28 Jul 2006 21:40:01 GMT, Philip Nasadowski * "The Demark" in telephone-man-woman-in the street-speak. Actually that's not true -- they will be...

The Hudson tunnels have very little clearance; I don't think the engineers wanted to play around with antenna and buttociated base station stuff in there. They are twice as long as the Baltimore tunnels with steep grades and moist, additional challenges. Do cell phone work in them now?


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Metroliner telephone article 4056