Re: Good question, do you remember when back when the dinosaurs roamed?
Date: 06-07-2021 - 10:41
Stuck in a siding on the the Coast, Id walk up to the phone and listen in on the dispatchers line.
If I wanted to talk to someone, I would switch the phone over to the "Farmer" line. If it was clear, you would crank one long ring to get the operator. If you were north of SLO, you would get an operator in the City. If you were south of SLO, you would get the operator in LA.
I carried a small notebook with the phone numbers in it. I could take care of timekeeping, checking on the boards (I was the Local Chairman for the BLE) and call friends around the system.
You just had to remember to leave the knife switch open so the battery (talk) would not drain.
If you worked with an old head Conductor, say on the peddler, he would be on the ground heading for the phone and possible help from the dispatcher when you came to a stop.
There were a bunch of ways to get "safe" help from the dispatchers and nobody was the wiser.