Probably a dumb newbie question

Woodsy

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I have recently discovered walking rail lines and finding insulators. It becomes addictive haha. I have found an abandoned lumber railway that operated from around 1905-1950s in my area. I’ve walked a little of it and found poles in the piles of trash, however I haven’t seen any insulators or wire yet. My dumb question is did most railroads, including short lines and lumber/mining railroads, have communication lines on them? Or were they primarily only on the major lines? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth exploring more in depth.
 

Slabbing N Cabbing

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It really depends on your area. I’ve found only the mainlines have telegraph poles. There can be old glass insulators anywhere there’s old poles. I like looking along transmission lines more, because the rail companies take trespassing seriously.
 

CanadianBottles

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If you're finding poles, there must have been lines. I would expect to see lines strung along all but the most insignificant mining railways, since most mines would have had electricity and a telegraph or telephone, and the railroad was usually the easiest place to run them. It probably would have been fewer lines than you'd see on a mainline though. Logging railways I'm not so sure about, since those were often very temporary, but I imagine the more significant ones would probably have at least some communication lines for the sake of coordinating train movements. The temporary ones I believe generally didn't have lines, but if yours lasted for 50 years that suggests it was a fairly permanent installation.

This photo shows the sort of lines I'd expect to see on that type of branch line:
1637553754328.png

There are insulators, but not many. Looks like only two or three per pole.
 

nhpharm

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Many of the short line logging railroads had no telegraph lines or if they did, they strung them on trees. Good luck!
 

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