Highball?

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kb2vxa

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Clear block ahead. An early signaling system consisted of a pole with an arm at the top from which hung a ball on a rope and pulley. The height of the ball gave the signal, stop for a low ball, approach medium and for a high ball it was full speed ahead. Now those signals are gone but the term remains as railroad slang.
 
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AK9R

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Clear indication--the train may proceed at track speed for that type of train.

The term "highball" comes from a signal system used back in the 1800's. Imagine a pole with a crossbar near the top of the pole. Hanging down from a pulley on the cross bar was a rope or chain with a large ball attached, usually painted red or some other bright color. The ball was manually raised or lowered by the signalman to show the signal indication. If the ball was high, that was a clear indication. If the ball was low, that was a stop indication. The term "highball" has stuck with us ever since.
 

timkilbride

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Also used by MofW and T&E guys when inspecting another train. In this case, highball means no defects, proceed at maximum authorized speed.
 

nickwilson159

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With regard to passenger trains, highball simply means everyone's on board, release the brakes and get motoring. It doesn't necessarily mean anything about the signal indication (they may have had an approach signal going into the station, for example), it just means they're okay to depart the station.
 

kb2vxa

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I did say it is slang so like any other it has multiple yet similar uses. It's not restricted to railroads either, I've heard it used referring to speeders; "He's really highballing it." Then there is a family of mixed drinks but I digress.... (;->)
 

DX949

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I did say it is slang so like any other it has multiple yet similar uses. It's not restricted to railroads either, I've heard it used referring to speeders; "He's really highballing it." Then there is a family of mixed drinks but I digress.... (;->)
Then theres the one that refers to Guy's like You Warren.............Screw Ball :0) just kidding.
 

franks_ham

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Usually if a pax train comes in on a signal < green the conductor will call out on the radio "highball on signal indication came in on an approach/restricting/etc."

Regards,

-Frank C.
 

joekansas

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Anymore..........

....highball has many railroad uses, and doesn't really describe any lineside signals. What is most common is a crew member of one train inspecting another as it rolls by, looking for potential mechanical problems. If he is alert and finds none, or is off throwing rocks at turtles in a pond and sees none, he hollers at the train as it roars off into the dust "highball so and so" and they'll more often than not respond back with "highball so and so"- where so and so could be the train symbol, or the name of the siding where they are meeting at, or the engine number.

Awhile back, on my railroad in a location not far away, a crew was snoozing in the wee hours of the AM as they set in a siding awaiting an opposing train- a loaded coal train. I believe they said the weather was a bit damp and cool. Good sleeping weather! Anyway, here comes the train into view down a long piece of tangent track. The snoozing crew continues their snooze and no one watches the train by. Without batting an eye(lid) the train passes them and as soon as the rear end of it roars past, the snoozers "highball" the train via radio and then come to life to get ready to leave.

Not less than a few minutes later, the train they failed to watch by goes into emergency as it is going over a defect detector and the detector doesn't do it's normal announcement.

That conductor walks his train to find the trouble and he doesn't have to go far~ a journal on a car burnt off and there were cars and coal scattered all over the place! I believe I heard it demolished the detector building along with all the other damage it caused.

In the ensuing investigation, they grilled the snoozing crew whom asserted that they most certainly watched that train by and saw nothing amiss.

Well, along comes the guys with the laptop computers. They pull the onboard camera (black box) and ship it off to headquarters for review.

Then, the heads start to roll. As the footage was viewed of the passing train, lo and behold out in the distance (remember the part about long, tangent track and wee (dark) hours earlier?) you can see a faint glow of a glowing bearing/axle, which continues to get brighter and brighter as it got closer. As that car draws near, you could actually see molten steel dripping off onto the ends of the ties as the axle was having a "meltdown".

That was the end of their defense. They got fired for lying, among other things, cause they lied about watching the train by when they didn't- Not sure when they'll be back to work.

Such is the life of a railroad man.
 
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w2smw

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hiball signal

KB2VXA is the correct answer as to what the original meaning was and I think that the signal that is in his picture is still in place somewhere in New England. and a PS to KB2VXA , I got help on my Harmon trackstar on Batboard from a fellow ham who worked on the radios I have(now 6 of them with 3 working) so there is real technical help out there but not here. I watch this board for all the jokes that I see, keep me laughing
 

kb2vxa

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Since I moved into a place where I can't have a decent antenna it's been "downsized" to a Uniden BC796D and a trunk lip mount cell phone antenna clamped to a bracket on the wall. At least I'm on the 3rd floor and not in a basement apartment. (;->)

As an aside, NJT has been replacing ties around here and the track gang tends to start out confused and gets slap happy toward afternoon, quite entertaining.
 

duchee

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hey whatever works :D i would have the the same thing. you should take a picture someday im curious to see how it looks.
 
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