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Telephones and the Rail Network

bristol station clockFew people my be aware of the stranger impacts on society of the rail network in the early 19th Century. Indeed on recently we read that Railway Time was the initial precursor of GMT. Prior to high speed rail travel most cities in the UK calibrated their clocks based upon their local midday. Hence towns such as Bristol and London had their midday some 15 minutes apart. This caused no issues until people travelled via the rail network and, hence, had to have some sort of common timeframe to refer to.

Interestingly, when it was discovered that there was this discrepancy the Railway Station Clock in Bristol had a new minute hand added to it to display both local and London times. However it was not long before "Railway Time" - later to become GMT became a standard. In similar ways other countries adopting such high speed and long distance travel networks, such as India and the USA adopted their very own standardised time for reference.

In a similar way the communications networks of these areas were forced to evolve to allow for rapid and distanced information transfer.

railside phone

The first telephones used to allow railway engineers to communicate with the stations were normal desktop phones which were placed in boxes by the side of the tracks. These of course were prone to being damaged by the elements and were not the sort of reliable field phone that is necessary in such a situation.

GaiTronics have emerged as a market leader in the construction and design of special environment telephones which are commonly used by Network rail in the UK they have a range of sturdy, durable, reliable and simple to operate telephones perfect either for the remote engineer or a public help point.

A recent article in railengineer about the amazing longevity of the railside telephone, especially in the light of advancements in GSM networks such as GRM-R which is an international standard for mobile communications on the rail networks which offers security and speed of communications via a private network of mobile masts along its lines. What can be concluded, though, is that railside telephones are a strong part of the communications systems and, in the event of catastrophe, probably the most reliable and sturdy option.

gai tronics telephones

Further Reading

More about where to use Gai-Tronics telephones can be found here and further info about our Network Rail Telephony and Transport Communications services and products on our blog.