• Tell-tale / Cat-tail post?

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by jaymac
The non-chain tell-tales were each actually two pieces joined together by closed eyes. Rust-welding might make them a bit stiff, but they were intended to inform, not punish, so they were designed to be flexible.
  by MEC407
Better than being informed by a bridge or tunnel, I'd think!
  by jaymac
Wonder what the R&D process was on tell-tales...
Just hypothesizing, but since railroads were/are ever-mindful about costs, and chains, even those made by automation, are more expensive to fabricate than linked rods -- especially with forces of blacksmiths already on the past-tense payrolls to do the linking -- that money was the reason for the preference for linked rods over the just as effective but more Mr. Rogers approach of chains.
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
Just to cover all the bases, to clarify what may be some misunderstanding about the rod-type tell-tale: these were loosely hung, like a supersize set of wind chimes, not rigidly mounted.

(No, I am not Patrick B McGinnis)
  by jbvb
Another point is that a chain can wrap around something that strikes it, potentially leading to a telltale hanging a brakeman or getting torn down. Jointed rods won't do that.
  by NashuaActon&Boston
kilroy wrote:
CarterB wrote:The actual tell-tales themselves weren't "rods" were they??? That would have knocked someone right off the car roof and/or killed him.

What material were the telltales made of?
I'm not sure but the one's Ive seen in Brunswick ME looked like they were made out of light weight chain.
The tell-tail still extant in Brunswick, ME that I'm aware of is indeed of the hanging chain variety. There are still a few Tell-tales along the Central Mass ROW through Waltham and Weston - each being of the dangling rod design.
  by arthur d.
Manalishi wrote: the old Dover and Newington (?).

Portsmouth and Dover.
  by Manalishi
Here's a few shots of the tell tale at the old crossing at Perry Oliver Rd. in Wells or North Berwick. Hard to see it among the trees. It hasn't seen a train since the mid-40's.

  by trainsinmaine
I was amazed the first time I saw that old tell-tale on the Eastern Division of the B&M in North Berwick. The track has been gone since 1944! There's another one, IIRC, on the south side of either Route 109 at Highpine or Route 99 between Sanford and Kennebunk. I can't remember which. It's been a while since I've driven either road.
  by CarterB
Whereabouts in North Berwick??
  by trainsinmaine
You can drive a circle to get to the location and get back to where you started. Go to North Berwick and take Route 4 north toward Sanford. As you head out of town, at about three miles or so look for Quarry Road (or, as Mainers put it, The Quarry Road) on your right. Take Quarry Road and continue on to a crossroad. Turn right, and you'll be on Perry Oliver Road (The Perry Oliver Road). About a mile in, the road crosses the B&M right-of-way via a filled-in overpass. You can't miss the tell-tale, especially at this time of year, as it would stand out rather starkly against the snow. To get back to where you began, stay on Perry Oliver Road to Bragdon Road, turn right, then right again at the fork, and you'll wind up on Route 9 heading back into North Berwick. (You'll cross the current B&M/PanAm main line twice.)

You can trace many miles of the old Eastern, all the way from Eliot to South Portland, by car with a DeLorme Maine Atlas at your side. The entire roadbed (except for the far southern end, which is now Route 236) is delineated. Much of it is now the Eastern Bike Trail.

Happy hunting!
  by NashuaActon&Boston
Amazing the tell-tale still stands 75 years after abandonment. kudos, great images.
  by Mikejf
This still stands in Lewiston, Maine for the Turnpike overpass over the Lewiston Lower branch.

Maine Turnpike

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  by RGlueck
The twisted remains of one stand on the west side of the bridge over the Penobscot, in Bangor. You can see tell-tail posts on several places around the old Maine Central.
  by NashuaActon&Boston
Noticed yesterday driving on 295 S in Freeport there's a telltale or the remnants of one to the west of underpass.