Southern Pacific Concrete Phone Booth
Southern Pacific Railroad Concrete Telephone Booth
Common Standard Design adopted June 1922
This Phone Booth Built: Late 1930s
Location Used: S.P. Coast Line
This S.P. telephone booth weighing approximately 3000 pounds contained a no-dial telephone, directly connecting a caller to a railroad dispatcher/operator. The phone booth was locked to prevent vandalism and other problems. It was built by the Southern Pacific Shops in West Oakland, Calif. in the late 1930’s. The train crew could just pick up the receiver and push the button to communicate with the dispatcher. These booths were placed near railroad tracks for use by signal maintainers, right of way workers, and train crews. Train conductors received dispatcher orders as to when and how far to move their train. Use of railroad radios in the early 1970’s made telephones and booths obsolete in the early 1980s.
This detailed article about SP Concrete Phone Booths was published in the SP Trainline Magazine Spring 2004 edition. This magazine is published by the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society whose mission is to preserve and disseminate the historical record of the Southern Pacific Railroad and its affiliates. The society supports railfanning, industrial archeology, and accurate scale modeling of the SP railroad. For further information about the society or to join the group, visit sphts.org.
Moises Lopez (S.P. Track Worker, 1966-1996) acquired the booth from S.P.
The booth was donated to the museum by his son, Peter Lopez.