The Special Pole mentioned was a long wood pole with a metal hook arrangement fitted at the end, this was named by crews " The Hooked Stick".
Officially it was for the purpose of reaching up to the roof of the loco. to open a large knife switch on the roof near the Pantograph for the purpose of isolating the 1500 V from the loco if for some reason it was not possible to drop the Pantograph due to it welding itself to the contact wire or becoming caught up in the overhead wire or any other reason.
In reality this device was used frequently for the purpose of manually lifting and then holding the Pantograph against the overhead contact wire, when there was no stored air available to raise the Panto. This was to allow the 1500 V Compressors to run, and when enough pressure built up and to then supply air for the Panto. to stay raised. A manually operated large hand pump was provided but this was very exhausting and difficult to use as in many cases there were so many air leaks in the system that it was difficult to manually raise enough air pressure to overcome these leaks and still have enough pressure to raise the Panto. This procedure was unofficial but a blind eye was turned to it as many a train delay or loco. failure would have occurred if it was not performed by the crew. It was not without it's risks and danger and was not something recommended in wet weather, ( holding this long wood pole up to the Panto. and holding it against the !500 V overhead.) The pole itself was carried on a series of hooks on the inside roof of the passageway from the No. 1 end cab and to remove it for use outside the loco was quiet difficult as it had to be manipulated through the open side drivers cab window as the drivers side door opened inward and prevented it's passage directly out of the cab.
The reason I have elaborated on this is to inform those who may not be aware that the same " Hooked Stick " was used on the " U Boat " Single Deck Inter - Urbans but in their case was " visible for all to see " as it was fitted on brackets along the edge of the black painted frame or side sill below the stainless steel fluting on the " U Boat " motor cars. The provision of this device on the I. U. cars was for the same official purpose as it was for the 46 class locos, but as the I. U. cars had at least two motor cars, each with a manual pump as well as a Panto. air storage reservoir, ( and of course three or four motor cars if in a 6 or 8 car set) there was far less need to use this device for it's more common unofficial use to raise the Pantograph, and they were progressively removed from these cars. Those modelling the " U Boats " in their earlier years of operating should have a representation of the " Hooked Stick" fitted to the side of the frame to be prototypical.
The turning of a blind eye was pretty well official, as a T/E qualified on the days we did deisel ground instruction we also did a morning on the 46cl. 7100 was an Eveliegh engine at the time & located for the Flemo car shed shunter, so I never go on it until it ended up at Delec & spent time running on Glenlee & Campbelltown coal trains.
During the 46cl prep instructions we were actually shown how to remove the pole, which was referred to as a Panto stick by the inspector, instructed also that the metal head had to face the cab end on the rack, lift up & through the cab & drivers window & lower to the ground, NEVER drop it out the window as the head would break off.
This particular inspector who I had on 38cl firing trials delighted in making every learning exercise as realistic, make that hard as possible, ensuring the panto's were down & he drained all the air out of the MR. He pointed to the spot under the contact bars where to place the pole, then rest it against the top edge of the side of the loco, keep it straight & push up to the o/head, you knew when contact was made when a load crack took place, & the compressor started up. With that, you lowered the rod, & it was the next fellows turn.
The key to ensuring they did not lose air was in the sequence of filling the specific reservoir for the panto raise, & not forgetting to drop the solinoid brass weight at the base of it, only shutting the cocks when you could hear no more air flowing & IIIRC there was an air gauge to indicate it was full or empty.
Ted, the hand pump was over the other side of the compressors in a cavity under the the panto tank, you had to climb over the compressors to get to the hand pump.
For me, they should have been restricted to 50mph, & I believe in the later or last years of their life, they were downgraded in speed & were banned from working passenger trains, especially on the short north owing to the ride & roughness of them. Personally I always thought they looked worse when seen from the outside than actually in the cab, which was bad enough.