Wireless on Railroads

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To the Editor of The New York Times:

No argument is needed to show that the railroads offer opportunities for advantageous use of a practical wireless system. Without question, its widest field of application is the conveyance to the trains of such general information as is indispensable for keeping the traveler in touch with the world. In the near future a telegraphic printer of news, a stock ticker, a telephone, and other kindred appliances will form parts of the regular wireless equipment of a railroad train. Success in this sphere is all the more certain, as the new is not antagonistic, but, on the contrary, very helpful to the old. The technical difficulties are minimized by the employment of a transmitter the effectiveness of which is unimpaired by distance.

In view of the great losses of life and property, improved safety devices on the cars are urgently needed. But upon careful investigation it will be found that the outlook in this direction is not very promising for the wireless art. In the first place the railroads are rapidly changing to electric motive power, and in all such cases the lines become available for the operation of all sorts of signaling apparatus, of which the telephone is by far the most important. This valuable improvement is due to Prof. J. Paley, who introduced it in Germany eight years ago. By enabling the engineer or conductor of any train to call up any other train or station along the track and obtain full and unmistakable information, the liability of collisions and other accidents will be greatly reduced. Public opinion should compel the immediate adoption of this invention.

Those roads which do not contemplate this transformation might avail themselves of wireless transmission for similar purposes, but inasmuch as every train will require in addition to a complete outfit an expert operator, many roads may prefer to use a wire, unless a wireless telephone can be offered to them.

Nikola Tesla
New York, March 25, 1907

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