Australian railway telegraphic codes
Australian railway telegraphic codes were originally devised to reduce the size of telegraphic messages, though some have survived into the telephone era. They were basically used in telegrams between locations in a railway network of offices, stations and other parts of the railway system.
The distinction between telegraphic code, and telegraphic code addresses is an important one to make.  Many businesses identified on their stationary their telegraphic address, as well as their telephone number.
In some states, railway operations would have offices with abbreviated addresses
The codes were devised with many features common to all states, with states devising additional codes for their own use if required. The codes were listed either on a large poster or in a telegraph code book.
Each code might consist of four letters, in two syllables, with a two letter difference to any other code. Some codes expected additional numbersand/or words as parameters. Codes are grouped by category and the first letter(s) of the codes in each group are the same.
- (Victoria (Australia) codes)
- AMEX 1234 6789 = Trains 1234 and 6789 will not run (are cancelled)
- GENL = for general information
- PAJO = Arrange for joint enquiry to be held at ....... into .......
- WOLO = speed restrictions due to high temperatures affecting overhead wiring and/or rails.
- WAZY = give matter special attention
- ZEBU = arrange and advise all concerned
In Western Australia a code book ( Uniform and Supplementary Telegraph Code) was issued as late as 1967 by the Western Australian Government Railways, with a preface that included the wording:
This Telegraph Code has been agreed to by the Railway Commissioners of Government Railways of the Commonwealth of Australia, and applied to the Western Australian Railways
As well as the indication of
The code words printed in capitals are applicable throughout the Railways of the Commonwealth; those printed small type apply to the Western Australian Railways only
The phrase codes related to the categories:
- Train Working
- Motive Power ( all local usage)
- Train Arrangements
- 1. Passengers
- 2. Goods
- 3. Rolling Stock
- Traffic Arrangements - goods, parcels and luggage
- "Telegraphic Code Addresses.". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 5 August 1948. p. 10. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- Victorian Railways (1916), The Morse electric telegraph : a handbook for telegraphists, Victorian Railways, retrieved 14 April 2013
- Victorian Railways (1937), Telegraph code book, Victorian Railways, retrieved 14 April 2013
- Western Australian Government Railways Commission (1967), Uniform and supplementary telegraph code from 1st July, 1967, The Railways, retrieved 14 April 2013
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