Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/858

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on which the engines stand to afford easy access for the inspection and cleaning of their mechanism. Machine shops are usually provided to enable minor repairs to be executed; the tendency, both in England and America, is to increase the amount of such repairing plant at engine sheds, thus lengthening the intervals between the visits of the engines to the main repairing shops of the railway. A locomotive depot further includes stores of the various materials required in working the engines, coal stages at which they are loaded with coal, and an ample supply of water. The quality of the last is a matter of great importance; when it is unsuitable, the boilers will suffer, and the installation of a water-softening plant may save more in the expenses of boiler, maintenance than it costs to operate. The water cranes or towers which are placed at intervals along the railway to supply the engines with water require similar care in regard to the quality of the water laid on to them, as also to the water troughs, or track tanks as they are called in America, by which engines are able to pick up water without stopping. These consist of shallow troughs about 18 in wide, placed between the rails on perfectly level stretches of line. When water is required, a scoop is lowered into them from below the engine, and if the speed is sufficient the water is forced up it into the tender-tanks. Such troughs were first employed on the London & North-Western railway in 1857 by John Ramsbottom, and have since been adopted on many other lines.

Goods stations vary in size from those which consist of perhaps a single siding, to those which have accommodationGoods stations. for thousands of wagons. At a small roadside station, where the traffic is of a purely local character, there will be some sidings to which horses and carts have access for handling bulk goods like coal, gravel, manure, &c., and a covered shed for loading and unloading packages and materials which it is undesirable to expose to the weather. The shed may have a single pair of rails for wagons running through it along one side of a raised platform, there being a roadway for carts on the other side; or if more accommodation is required there may be two tracks, one on each side of the platform, which is then approached by carts at the end. In either case the platform is fitted with a crane or cranes for lifting merchandise into and out of the wagons, and doors enable the shed to be used as a lock-up warehouse. In a large station the arrangements become much more complicated, the precise design being governed by the nature of the traffic that has to be served and by the physical configuration of the site. It is generally convenient to keep the inwards and the outwards traffic distinct and to deal with the two classes separately; at junction stations it may also be necessary to provide for the transfer of freight from one wagon to another, though the bulk of goods traffic is conveyed through to its destination in the wagons into which it was originally loaded. The increased loading space required in the sheds is obtained by multiplying the number and the length of lines and platforms; sometimes also there are short sidings, cut into the platforms at right angles to the lines, in which wagons are placed by the aid of wagon turn-tables, and sometimes the wagons are dealt with on two floors, being raised or lowered bodily from the ground level by lifts. The higher floors commonly form warehouses where traders may store goods which have arrived or are awaiting despatch. An elaborate organization is required to keep a complete check and record of all the goods entering and leaving the station, to ensure that they are loaded into the proper wagons according to their destination, that they are unloaded and sorted in such a way that they can be delivered to their consignees with the least possible delay, that they are not stolen or accidentally mislaid, &c.; and accommodation must be provided for a large clerical and supervisory staff to attend to these matters. British railways also undertake the collection and delivery of freight, in addition to transporting it, and thus an extensive range of vans and wagons, whether drawn by horses or mechanically propelled, must be provided in connexion with an important station.

Shunting Yards.—It may happen that from a large station sufficient traffic may be consigned to certain other large stations to enable full train-loads to be made up daily, or several times a day, and dispatched direct to their destinations. In general, however, the conditions are less simple. Though a busy colliery may send off its product by the train-load to an important town, the wagons will usually be addressed to a number of different consignees at different depots in different parts of the town, and therefore the train will have to be broken up somewhere short of its destination and its trucks rearranged, together with those of other trains similarly constituted, into fresh trains for conveyance to the various depots. Again, a station of moderate size may collect goods destined for a great variety of places but not in sufficient quantities to compose a full train-load for any of them, and then it becomes impossible, except at the cost of uneconomical working, to avoid dispatching trains which contain wagons intended for many diverse destinations. For some distance these wagons will all travel over the same line, but sooner or later they will reach a junction-point where their ways will diverge and where they must be separated. At this point trains of wagons similarly destined for different places will be arriving from other lines, and hence the necessity will arise of collecting together from all the trains all the wagons which are travelling to the same place.

EB1911 Railways - diagram to illustrate use of shunting yards.jpg

Fig. 15.—Diagram to illustrate use of Shunting Yards.

The problem may be illustrated diagrammatically as follows (fig. 15): A may be supposed to be a junction outside a large seaport where branches from docks a, b, c and d converge, and where the main line also divides into three going to B, C and D respectively. A train from a will contain some wagons for B, some for C and some for D, as will also the trains from a, b, c and d. At A therefore it becomes necessary to disentangle and-group together all the wagons that are intended for B, all that are intended for C, and all that are intended for D. Even that is not the whole of the problem. Between A and B, A and C, and A and D, there may be a string of stations, p, q, r, s, &c., all receiving goods from a, b, c and d, and it would manifestly be inconvenient and wasteful of time and trouble if the trains serving those intermediate stations were made up with, say, six wagons from a to p next the engine, five from b to p at the middle, and four from c to p near the end. Hence at A the trucks from a, b, c and d must not only be sorted according as they have to travel along A B, A C, or A D, but also must be marshalled into trains in the order of the stations along those lines. Conversely, trains arriving at A from B, C and D must be broken up and remade in order to distribute their wagons to the different dock branches.

To enable the wagons to be shunted into the desired order yards containing a large number of sidings are constructed at important junction points like A. Such a yard consists essentially of a group or groups of sidings, equal in length at least to the longest train run on the line, branching out from a single main track and often again converging to a single track at the other end; the precise design, however, varies with the amount and character of the work that has to be done, with the configuration of the ground, and also with the mode of shunting adopted. The oldest and commonest method of shunting is that known as “push-and-pull,” or in America as “link-and-pin” or “tail” shunting; An engine coupled to a batch of wagons runs one or more of them down one siding, leaves them there, then returns back with the remainder clear of the points where the sidings diverge, runs one or more others down another siding, and so on till they are all disposed of. The same operation is repeated with fresh batches of wagons, until the sidings contain a number of trains, each intended, it may be supposed, for a particular town or district. In some cases nothing more is required than to attach an engine and brake-van (“caboose”) and despatch the train; but if, as will happen in others, a further rearrangement of