The Terminal Supervisor was a train dispatcher known only as the Supervisor, an overseer of train movements within the CPR Toronto Terminals. While trains did not require orders to move within the terminal he nevertheless had a great deal to do with the operation of the terminal and worked in the Dispatching office under the Chief Dispatcher. Furthermore, he also dispatched the Bruce Branches based out of Orangeville. While the line between Streetsville and Owen Sound had phones, the branches had only the telegraph wire. All subdivisions had the "wire" for use as backup in case of telephone failure and other uses including commercial (public) telegrams. This made a busy job even busier, especially in winter with snow plows operating. The phones were a party line system maintained by the Communications Dept. They were carrier phones, a type used throughout the CPR across the system, covering an entire subdivision. It used a press-to-talk, release to listen setup using either a push button or a foot pedal. It was similar to the "clothes line" magneto crank phones used within yards.
These phones were on every subdivision on separate lines that could be "patched" to connect to another one. The black boxes located on the wall nearby had a distinctive sound to them as the selector clicked its two number combination before ringing, another sound quite different from that of "Bell" telephones, one that was instantly recognized. You could often tell the phone was going to ring when you heard it clicking your number and thus be quicker answering. Answering quickly was important as often multiple people would be party to the conversation and instructions being issued. Most locations answered with a single word. "Yard" for Lambton Yard Office, "Shop" for the roundhouse, "Depot" for West Toronto Station, "Union" for Union Station, "Parkdale" for Parkdale Yard Office, "John Street" for the roundhouse, "Coach Yard" for the Yard Office, etc.
Referred to as "Supervisor", this authority was all-powerful within his domain. Whoa to anyone who pressed the button and said "Hello?" He would simply be ignored! Other conversations would carry on. Only when he spoke the deferential "Supervisor", would he get an answer. The CPR had a way of keeping people in their place and, if you didn't know it, or forgot it, you would soon be put in your place!
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