The New International Encyclopædia/Railways
RAILWAYS, or RAILROADS. Roads upon which lines of rails are laid to facilitate the movement of vehicles for the carriage of freight and passengers. When employed without qualification the term railway or railroad is generally understood to indicate a road consisting of two parallel lines of rails or of multiples of such units upon which cars are hauled by locomotive steam engines. With the adoption of electric power in place of steam on considerable sections of railway line, steam locomotion has become a less distinctive characteristic of railways than was formerly the case, and the term when unqualified has a less definite meaning than formerly, yet ordinarily a steam railway is understood when the term railway is used by itself. Railways employing other form of motive power are similarly defined as electric railways, cable railways, compressed-air railways, etc., and railways serving especial purposes or distinguished by peculiar characteristics of construction are defined as elevated railways, logging railways, plantation railways, street railways, ship railways, rack railways, etc. A railway may consist of a single line of track with two lines of rails, when it is known as a single-track railway, or it may consist of two, three, or four lines of track, when it is known, respectively, as a double track, three-track, or four-track railway. In a few instances railways have been constructed with a track consisting of a single line of rail. Such roads are known as bicycle railways, monorail railways, or by other special names. More frequently railway lines are constructed with tracks consisting of three lines of rails. Rack railways have this form of track, as also do railways designated to carry both standard-gauge and narrow-gauge cars.
Early History. The development of the steam railway is ordinarily dated from the opening to traffic of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, in England, in 1825. The railway, however, had a history long before this date. Indeed, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and its immediate successor, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, were comparatively perfect developments of the art of railway transportation. To understand fully the growth of the steam railway it is, therefore, important to review its early history. This may be roughly divided into two phases, namely, the development of railway track and the evolution of railway motive power. To prevent confusion, each of these lines of growth will be considered separately so far as is practicable, but it will be understood that they progressed simultaneously.
Early in the sixteenth century rails of timber were laid at the collieries near Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, over which by means of bulky carts provided with rollers one horse could draw four or five tons of coal. The first notable improvement of this crude railway consisted in securing these wooden rails by pegs to cross-ties placed two or three feet apart, and in fastening on top of the rails proper, which were about six inches square, strips of hard wood which could be removed when worn and replaced with new strips without disturbing the remainder of the structure. In the year 1735 flat iron bars were substituted to some extent for this upper strip of wood, and in 1767 cast-iron bars were generally substituted for the entire wooden rail. At first these bars were flat and about 4 inches wide, 1¾ inches thick, and 4 or 5 feet long, with holes for the spikes, but after a few years they were made with a ridge along the outside edge to prevent the wheels from leaving the track. Subsequently, the flange was transferred to the inside edge of the rail. In 1789 William Jessup introduced a new form of cast-iron rail in which the depth was greater than the width, which led to the name of edge rail being given to it. These rails were cast with a head 1¾ inches wide carried by a thin web deeper at the middle of the rail than at the ends. At first these rails were bolted or pinned directly to the ties, but soon afterwards they were arranged to be supported by cast-iron pedestals or chairs spiked to the ties and having a slot at the top in which the web of the rail was set and secured by a wedge. The rails were made without flanges and instead flanges were placed on the wheels. Owing to the short lengths in which these rails had to be cast, the joints were numerous, a very important objection in railway track, and besides this the material was too brittle to carry safely heavy loads at high speed. The development of the iron industry partly remedied these faults about 1820 by furnishing malleable or wrought iron from which tough rails could be rolled up to lengths of 15 feet. At the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, therefore, the standard railway track is found to have consisted of wrought-iron edge rails about 15 feet long, fastened by keys into cast-iron chairs, which were in turn bolted down to stone blocks or wooden sills, spaced about three feet apart. The gauge of the track, that is the distance apart of the rails measured between the inner edge of their heads, was 4 feet 8½ inches, which ultimately became the standard gauge of railway track in England and America. It will be observed that the essential characteristics of the modern steam railway track had been established by 1825, and that it only remained for future knowledge and experience to develop and perfect these features.
The great advance of the wrought-iron edge rail over previous forms of rails gave the first strong impetus to the development of a means of motive power for railways which would be superior to haulage by horses. The possibility of using steam locomotives at once suggested itself. Steam carriages for operation on common roads had been constructed long previous to 1825. (See Automobile; Locomotive.) As early as 1804 Richard Trevithick had built a locomotive engine, which at its first trial upon the Merthyr and Tydvil Railway, in Wales, had hauled wagons containing ten tons of coal at the rate of five miles per hour. In 1812 locomotives were used by Blenkinsop to haul coal between the Middleton collieries and Leeds, and also by Blackett at Wylam. None of these locomotives were satisfactory. In 1814 George Stephenson built his first engine and put it in operation on the Killingworth Railway, where it hauled a load of 35 tons at the rate of four miles per hour on a grade of 1 in 450. Stephenson continued to build locomotives, each of them an improvement over its predecessor, and had them working regularly on the Killingworth Railway, although they did not supersede the work of horses. The next step in advance in the use of the locomotive was made on the historic Stockton and Darlington Railway, the construction of which marked the advent of a new era in railway transportation. Before passing from the early history of railways to this new era it will be interesting to summarize briefly the status of railway transportation at the time. In 1825 the existing railways of Great Britain were 28 in number, ranging in length from 4 to 35 miles, and amounting in the aggregate to about 400 miles. These roads were used almost exclusively for the transportation of mineral products. With the few exceptions previously noted, the universal motive power employed was haulage by horses.
Period of Development. The Stockton and Darlington Railway, 25 miles long, was opened for traffic in 1825, the line having been constructed under the direction of George Stephenson, as chief engineer. Considering Stephenson's previous work with steam locomotives on the Killingworth Railway, it was not surprising that he should attempt to use similar motive power on the new line. His success in the attempt was considerable. On the opening of the road the Stephenson engine hauled a train composed of 22 wagons filled with passengers and 12 wagons loaded with coal, making an aggregate weight of about 90 tons, at an average speed of five miles per hour and a maximum speed of 12 miles per hour. Notwithstanding the flattering showing made by the locomotive engine in this trial trip, that form of motive power was employed only to a small extent in the immediate future operation of the railway. It could not compete in economy with haulage by horses, and for some time all passengers and mixed freight were so hauled, the locomotive being used only to handle a portion of the coal traffic. The important role played by the Stockton and Darlington Railway, therefore, consisted less in any advance in the mechanical features of railway transportation than in establishing the possibility of the railway as a common carrier of passengers and freight. Railway transportation in the modern meaning of the term began, thus, with the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
The success of the Stockton and Darlington Railway revived another railway enterprise which was destined to accomplish more in some respects for railway engineering than did the earlier road. This enterprise was the project for a railway line between Liverpool and Manchester, a distance of 30 miles. Construction was begun upon the road in 1826, with George Stephenson as chief engineer. Considerable difference of opinion existed as to the best method of operating the road when completed. Stationary engines had many advocates, including some of the most noted engineers of the day; others were in favor of horse power aided by stationary engines at the steep inclines, but few had any faith in locomotives, and Stephenson stood practically alone in openly advocating their use. His persistent earnestness, however, influenced the board of directors to offer a prize of £500 for the best locomotive engine which in a certain day should be produced on the railway and perform certain specified duties in the most satisfactory manner. The date of the test was October 1, 1829, and on this date four locomotives appeared to compete. One of these was the Rocket, built by Stephenson, and another was the Novelty, built by the Swedish engineer John Ericsson, afterwards famous as the designer of the iron-clad Monitor. The trials of these locomotives lasted until October 14th, when the prize was awarded to Stephenson's locomotive, the Rocket, which undoubtedly ranks as the first high-speed locomotive of the modern type. (See Locomotive for description.) The success of the Rocket determined the motive power for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and incidentally for railways throughout the world. On September 15, 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was opened for traffic and on December 4th of the same year the locomotive Planet hauled the first load of freight, consisting of 18 wagon loads of cotton, 200 barrels of flour, 63 sacks of oatmeal, and 34 sacks of malt, from Liverpool to Manchester in two hours and thirty-nine minutes. As the model railway of its time the track construction of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway deserves some mention. Upon the graded surface was placed a layer of broken stone two feet deep. Stone blocks two feet square were set three feet apart and upon them and upon the wooden cross-ties used on embankments were fastened cast-iron chairs in which the rails were secured by wedges. The rails were of wrought iron 15 feet long and were rolled with the web deeper at the middle than at the ends. They weighed 35 pounds per lineal yard. The locomotive used has already been mentioned. The passenger cars resembled closely the familiar stage coach, while the freight cars consisted simply of a platform about 10 feet long, with sides from 4 inches to 10 inches high, mounted on four wheels.
In addition to establishing the practicability of the steam railway as a means of transportation for passengers and freight, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway proved the commercial value of such thoroughfares so satisfactorily that projects for railway lines sprang up all over the world. In Great Britain in 1840, ten years after the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, there were 1331 miles of railway. These figures had increased to 6635 miles in 1850, to 10,410 miles in 1860, to 15,310 miles in 1870, to 17,935 miles in 1880, to 20,873 miles in 1890, and to 21,855 in 1890. Chronologically Austria-Hungary of the European countries ranks second to Great Britain in the construction of railways. The Austrian railway from Budweis to Lintz, 80 miles, was begun in 1825 and 40 miles were completed in 1828; it was operated by horse-power. In France the first railway, from Saint Etienne to Andrézieur, 13 miles, was also completed in 1828. The first steam railway in Germany, that between Nuremberg and Fürth, 4½ miles, was opened in 1835. To trace the development of the railway systems of these and other foreign countries in detail would exceed the limits of this article, and it must be sufficient to state the year in which the first important railway line was opened for traffic in each, as follows: Belgium, 1835; Germany, 1837; Russia, 1838; Netherlands, 1839; Italy, 1839; Switzerland, 1844; Denmark 1844; Canada, 1847; Spain, 1848; Mexico, 1850; Sweden, 1851; Peru, 1851; Chile, 1852; India, 1853; Norway, 1853; Brazil, 1854; Portugal, 1854; Australia, 1855; Egypt, 1856; Turkey, 1860; Paraguay, 1863; Argentine Republic, 1864; Venezuela, 1866; Uruguay, 1869; Greece, 1869; Colombia, 1880. The articles relating to these countries give further details concerning the history of railway development in them and the latest available statistics of mileage are presented in the accompanying Table I. It will be observed from these figures that nearly one-half the total railway mileage of the world is credited to the United States, and for that reason the history of the development of the railways of the United States has been allotted a paragraph by itself.
Common report has it that the first railway line in the United States was a short stretch of track laid by Silas Whitney on Beacon Street, in Boston, Mass., in 1807; the first line of which there is undisputable record was one three-quarters of a mile long constructed by Thomas Deiper at his stone quarry in Delaware County, Pa., in 1809. This was followed by several tram roads of similar character, the most important of which was one from Quincy to Newport, Mass., three miles long, and one at Mauch Chunk, Pa., nine miles long, both built in 1827. These roads had a track consisting of an iron strap on wooden rails, supported by stone blocks or wooden sills, and were operated by horses. The first attempt made in the United States to use locomotive engines, otherwise than for mere experiment, was made on the railway from Carbondale to Honesdale, Pa., 16 miles, built by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. Under instructions from this company its chief engineer, Horatio Allen, had ordered the building of these locomotives in England, and one of them, called the Stourbridge Lion, was placed upon the road in August, 1829, by Mr. Allen, who personally ran the engine during its first trip. In 1830 construction was begun on the South Carolina Railroad, with Mr. Allen as chief engineer, and upon his recommendation and by his advice the road was designed and built to be operated by steam locomotives. This was the first railway in America built with the purpose from the beginning of using steam locomotives, and the engine ordered from the West Point Foundry and put in operation in 1830 was the first locomotive engine built and used for regular railway service in the United States. This engine was called the Best Friend. (See Locomotive.)
Table I.—Showing the Railway Mileage of Each Country of the World in 1898
|All of Germany||30,777|
|Austria-Hungary (including Bosnia, etc.)||21,805|
|Great Britain and Ireland||21,529|
|Russia (including Finland)||26,414|
|Netherlands (including Luxemburg)||1,965|
|European Turkey and Bulgaria||1,595|
|Malta, Jersey, Man||68|
|British North America||16,867|
|Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Salvador)||701|
|Total, North America||212,903|
|United States of Colombia||346|
|Jamaica, Barbadoes, Trinidad, Martinique, Porto Rico||563|
|Total, South America and West Indies||27,193|
|Asia Minor and Syria||1,558|
|Russia (Transcaspian Dist.)||1,568|
|Dutch East Indies||1,293|
|Malay States (Borneo, Celebes, etc.)||188|
|Cochin-China, Pondicherry, Malacca, and Tonquin||238|
|Total, Asia and Malay Archipelago||33,289|
|Algeria and Tunis||2,704|
|South African Republic (now Transvaal Colony)||774|
|Orange Free State (now Orange River Colony)||832|
|Mauritius, Réunion, Senegal, Angola, Mozambique, Congo||2,011|
|Total Increase, 1897 to 1898||11,809|
Table II.—Showing the Terminal Points of the First Railway or Section of Railway Built in Each State of the United States
(From Poor's Manual of Railroads, 1900)
|STATES||Termini of first section opened|| Length,
|N. H.||Nashua||Mass. State line||5.25||1838|
|R. I.||Providence||Stonington, Conn.||50.00||1837|
|D. C.||Washington||Md. state line||4.00||1835|
|Mich.||Toledo, Ohio||Adrian, Mich.||33.00||1836|
|W. Va.||Harpers Ferry||Winchester, Va.||32.00||1836|
|N. C.||Petersburg, Va.||Blakely, N. C.||63.00||1833|
|Fla.||Saint Joseph||Lake Wimico||8.00||1836|
|La.||New Orleans||Lk. Pontchartrain||5.00||1831|
|Colo.||Sheridan, Kan.||Kit Carson||87.00||1870|
|New Mex.||Colo. state line||South||8.30||1878|
|Okla.||Ark. City, Kan.||Ponca||25.00||1886|
|Minn.||Saint Paul||Saint Anthony||10.00||1862|
|S. Dak.||Big Sioux R.||Yankton||60.00||1873|
|Wash.||Lower Cascade||Upper Cascade||6.00||1862|
The second locomotive for the South Carolina Railroad was built and put in operation in 1831. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, commenced in 1828 and completed from Baltimore to Ellicott's Mills, Md., 15 miles, in 1830, came next in the use of steam locomotives. Indeed, in 1830 a small engine was built by Peter Cooper and made experimental trips on this road, but the first locomotive to be put in actual operation was installed in 1831. In 1831 the De Witt Clinton, a locomotive built by the West Point Foundry, was put into service on the Hudson and Mohawk Railroad. The next railway to mark a step in the development of the railway system of the United States was the Camden and Amboy Railroad, begun in 1831 and completed from Bordentown to South Amboy, N. J., 34 miles, in 1832. The president of this road, Col. Robert L. Stevens, conceived the idea that an all-iron rail would be preferable to the iron-strapped wooden rails employed on all previous American roads. There was no rolling mill in America capable of rolling such rails, however, and Mr. Stevens went to England to secure them. His request of the English ironmasters was for a rail having a head similar to that then in use upon the principal British roads, but with a wide flat base to the web, which he proposed to secure to the supporting blocks or sills by hook-headed spikes. Considerable difficulty was experienced in getting this request fulfilled, but in May, 1831, the first 500 rails, 15 feet long and weighing 30 pounds per yard, reached Philadelphia, and were placed in the track, thus recording the first use of the flanged T-rail, which has since become universal in America and is extensively employed abroad. It is important to note here that the flanged T-rail was reinvented in England in 1836 by Mr. Charles B. Vignoles, and that rails of this form are known abroad as Vignoles rails. Mr. Stevens also invented the fish plates and the hook-headed spike.
Table III.— Showing the Number of Miles of Railway Constructed and in Operation by Decades, in the United States, from 1830 to 1900 Inclusive
Table IV.— Showing Mileage of Various Classes of Railway in the United States on June 30, 1900
|CLASS OF TRACK||Miles|
|Yard track and sidings||52,153|
Table V.— Showing Number of Each Class of Railway Cars in Operation in the United States on June 30, 1900
|CLASS OF SERVICE||Number|
Railway Surveys. The surveying operations requisite to and preceding the construction of a railway are in general a reconnaissance, a preliminary survey, and a locating survey or location. The reconnaissance is a general and somewhat hasty examination of the country through which the proposed road is to pass for the purpose of noting its more prominent features and acquiring a general knowledge of its topography with reference to the selection of a suitable route. A preliminary survey consists of an instrumental examination of the country along the several available routes for the purpose of obtaining such details of distances, elevations, and topography as may be necessary to prepare a map and profile of each, make an approximate estimate of the cost of the road, and furnish the data from which definitely to locate the line. The locating survey consists specifically in establishing the centre line of the road on the ground in the position which it is finally to occupy. Defined more broadly, the location consists first in choosing the best route from the several which are available, and second in selecting for the chosen route the best combination of grades and curves. In determining the best combination of grades and curves for the route chosen the engineer has to take into account both the cost of construction and the cost of operation. On one hand he has the annual interest upon the original cost, and on the other the annual expense of operating the road. But the best combination of grades and curves is that which will render the sum of these two a minimum. To select the best line from several available lines, the engineer determines the most economical combinations of grades and curves for each one, calculates the interest on the entire cost of constructing the line with this combination and also the annual expense of operating the line, and takes the sum of the two amounts. That route is best in respect to which this sum is the least. In this last statement it is assumed that so far as their ability to command traffic is concerned all of the available routes are on a parity. This is not always the case. Sometimes one route is superior to any of the others in its ability to command traffic while being inferior in its ability to present the most economical combination of grades and curves. In such a case it often becomes the duty of the engineer to select the more expensive route for the sake of securing the greater amount of available traffic. It is plain upon very little thought that to answer each of these broad general questions a multitude of minor factors have to be carefully integrated, and that altogether the location of a railway is a task which, if it be well performed, calls for skill, experience, and good judgment on the part of the engineer. Beyond the statement of this fact it is impossible to proceed within the limits of the space available in this article, but the reader who wishes to study the problem of railway location in detail will find it presented at great length in Wellington, Economic Theory of Railway Location (New York, 1900).
When the engineer has chosen his route and has selected a combination of grades and curves for this route his next task is to establish its centre line on the ground with all the grades and curves properly indicated. In plan the centre line consists of a combination of straight lines or tangents and of curves. The curves may be simple curves, that is, plain circular curves; or compound, that is, consisting of two or more circular arcs of different radii; or reverse curves, that is, two simple curves so joined as to form a curve like a flat letter S. Curves are further designated by their degrees of curvature. The degree of a curve is determined by the angle at the centre subtended by a chord 100 feet long. For example, if on any curve a chord 100 feet long subtends an angle of 5° at the centre, that curve is known as a five-degree curve. In profile the centre line is composed of a combination of level or horizontal lines and of inclined lines or grades ascending or descending from the horizontal. Grades are designated either by stating the number of feet of rise or fall in a horizontal length of line of 100 feet or of one mile. For example, a grade having a rise of one foot in a horizontal length of line of 100 feet is known as a 1 per cent. grade. The same grade defined in terms of feet rise per mile of length would be known as a grade of 52.8 feet per mile. When two grade lines meet or when a grade line and a level meet the junction is marked by an angle more or less abrupt. This angle is always replaced by a vertical curve which is convex upward at a summit and concave at a valley.
Roadbed Construction. The first task in the building of a railway is the construction of the roadbed or permanent way. In its broadest meaning the permanent way of a railway comprises all structure upon which track is laid, but the term is often given a more limited application which excludes culverts, trestles, viaducts, bridges, etc.; the broader application of the term will be chosen here. The actual work of construction of the roadbed of a railway begins with the clearing of the right of way. This right of way is a strip of land usually 100 feet wide, or 50 feet each side of the centre line of the road, and the clearing from it of all obstructions is obviously necessary before the work of actual construction can be begun. The amount of clearing required varies according to the natural conditions; on an open prairie section it is merely nominal, but in thickly wooded country, where trees have to be felled and their stumps pulled up, it forms quite an item in the expense of construction. As soon as the right of way is cleared, the work of excavation and embankment construction is begun. In locating the road the engineer has settled upon certain stretches and grades which are right lines and which define the top surface of the roadbed. The lines of these levels and grades in some places cut the natural surface of the ground and in other places they lie above the ground surface so that the roadbed has to be filled in. So far as he can do so without sacrificing more important things, the engineer endeavors to make the adjacent cuts and fills balance each other; that is, he tries to arrange the grades so that the material excavated from the cuts will be sufficient in quantity to construct the adjacent fills or embankments. When this desirable end cannot be accomplished the extra earth necessary for the embankments is secured by excavating pits called burrow pits at points convenient to the embankment to be built. Sometimes also it is preferable to take the material from burrow pits even where the amount of cuttings is more than enough to form the fills, since it is less expensive to do this than to haul the material excavated from the cuts to the points where it is required for embankment construction. A cut is simply a trench whose bottom is at the plane of the grade line and somewhat wider than the required roadbed, and whose sides slope upward and away from the track to the ground surface at greater or less angles, determined by the slope at which the material will stand without sliding. The natural slope of different materials runs from a nearly vertical plane in firm rock to planes as flat as one foot rise in a horizontal distance of four feet, or technically defined, a slope of one on four. Slopes of 1 on 1½ or 1 on 2 are perhaps the most common. Evidently the width of the cut at its top will depend upon its depth and the slope of the sides; it may easily reach 100 feet. When it exceeds this width it becomes necessary for the engineer to figure upon the desirability of sustaining the sides of the cut by retaining walls (see Retaining Wall), or perhaps to consider the substitution of a tunnel for an open cut. Cuts are always made with a bottom width enough wider than the roadbed to allow a ditch to be built at each side to carry away the water from rain or melted snow which runs down or seeps through the side slopes.
The excavation of cuts is accomplished by any of the ordinary means of earth and rock excavation. For earth excavation the steam shovel (q.v.) is the tool most commonly employed. A fill may be described as the reverse of a cut; in fact, were it possible to take out a cut in a single solid piece and to deposit this piece on the ground bottom side up, it would serve as a fill. The manner of constructing a fill is to deposit the material from cuts and burrow pits along the line until an embankment is formed whose top is at grade and somewhat wider than the required roadbed and whose sides slope downward and outward at angles depending upon the natural shape of the material. Care is taken to make the embankments solid, since they must carry heavy trains, and to construct them so that the water falling on them will drain away as soon as possible. Usually there is not much attempt to use selected material, except for the upper section on top of which the track ballast will come. Fills, and, more particularly, deep fills, are often constructed by building a rough timber trestle onto which the material cars are run and their contents dumped until the trestle is entirely buried in an embankment of earth. Often also a trestle is at first built to carry the trains with the intention of filling it in afterwards. This hastens the construction and cheapens the first cost of the road, thus allowing the owners to begin operations and to earn money while the final embankment awaits some convenient time for its construction. The method of constructing embankments by filling in trestles is often resorted to in order to carry the roadbed across morasses of swampy ground.
It often happens that the problem of carrying an embankment across a morass is one of the most difficult which falls to the lot of the railway engineer. Where streams have to be crossed it is necessary to provide openings in the embankment for their passage. For small streams these openings are provided by means of culverts (see Culvert) and in the case of large streams bridges are built. (See Bridge.) Bridges or viaducts are also employed to carry the road across gorges and deep valleys. Where the contrary condition exists and the engineer is called upon to carry his line over ridges or mountains where an open cut is not possible, because of its size and cost, and a direct climb is not practicable, because of the steep grades, he either resorts to the construction of a tunnel or of a switchback. The conditions which call for a tunnel and the methods of constructing such works are discussed in the article on Tunnels.
A switchback is a line which zigzags back and forth along the side of a mountain and thus gradually climbs to the summit level at which a direct crossing is possible. These structures are expensive to operate, because of their length and steep grades, and railway managers usually substitute tunnels for them as soon as the finances of the road and the amount of its traffic will warrant so costly an undertaking. Another method of overcoming steep mountain grades is to use a rack railway or a cable incline railway, and these special forms of road are described in succeeding paragraphs.
Track Construction. The width of the roadbed at the top is from 20 to 32 feet for double track and from 14 to 18 feet for single track on embankment. In cuts the width of roadbed exclusive of ditches is from 28 to 33 feet for double track and from 18 to 22 feet for single track. The surface of the roadbed at subgrade is almost invariably crowned at the middle so as to drain off water to the sides. On the top of this crowned surface is constructed the track. This consists of the ballast, the ties, the rails, and their accessories. Ballast is used for four principal purposes: (1) to distribute the load over the roadbed; (2) to form a support for the ties; (3) to provide efficient drainage under and around the ties; and (4) to allow of surfacing and arranging the track without disturbing the roadbed. At this point it is a matter of some interest to note that the term ballast originated in England when gravel ballast was taken from ships for building tramroads. The materials most generally used for ballast are broken stone, furnace slag, burnt clay, gravel, sand, cinders, and earth, but other materials, as shells and chert, are often used locally. These materials rank in merit about in the order named, but the gravel is the material most used in America and after this comes broken stone. The ballast is usually level with the tops of the ties and about one foot thick, and it is usually shouldered out beyond their ends.
TYPICAL SECTIONS OF RAILWAY ROADBED AND TRACKS.
Ties, or cross-ties, as they are often termed, are the transverse wooden sills to which the rails are attached. As stated above, they are imbedded in the ballast. Wood is the almost universal material for ties in the United States, but in other countries metal ties are quite extensively employed. About 55 per cent. of all the ties in the United States are of oak and 22 per cent. are of pine. The remaining 33 per cent. is divided between cedar, chestnut, hemlock, cypress, and other woods. White oak is considered the best wood for railway ties, and ties of this wood have a life of about eight years. Ties are generally from 7 to 10 inches wide, 6 inches thick, and 8 to 9 feet long, and they are spaced from 18 inches to 2 feet apart in the track. An immense amount of timber is consumed annually for railway ties, as a brief estimate will demonstrate. Assuming that 2500 ties per mile of track are employed on the average, then the 250,000 miles of railway track in the United States require 625,000,000 ties. The annual consumption is about 76,000,000 ties for renewals and 14,000,000 ties for new construction, a total of 90,000,000 ties or nearly 300,000,000 cubic feet of timber. In view of these figures, it is not surprising that railway managers are finding greater diliiculty each year in securing ties, and that they should be resorting to measures which will cut down the consumption.
One of these measures is to plant trees, but the one most commonly sought is to treat the ties used by some of the various methods for preventing or rather for delaying the natural decay. Another resort for prolonging the life of ties is to use tie plates, which are plates of iron inserted between the top of the tie and the bottom of the rail so as to distribute the load over a larger area and thus reduce the tendency of the rail to cut into the top of the tie. By many engineers it is thought that the ultimate solution of the problem will be the substitution of metal ties. An endless number of forms of metal ties have been tried, but only a few of them have proved successful, although these successful forms have given excellent results in many instances. In Europe, India, Africa, South America, and Mexico, metal ties are extensively used.
Rails are now universally made of steel and are of the flanged T-section invented by Col. R. L. Stevens in 1830. This statement is wholly true of American practice and is generally true of foreign practice. Practically the only exception to the flanged T-section is the so-called bull-headed rail used in England. This rail has the familiar flanged base of the American rail replaced by another head, the object of this design being to enable the rail to be reversed when one head has become worn. These bull-headed rails cannot of course be spiked to the ties, and they therefore require cast-iron chairs for their support. Formerly in America nearly every road used a form of rail peculiar to itself, which differed somewhat in minor dimensions and details from the rails employed by other roads. Recently, however, practice has settled down to the use of a very few standard sections. In America the so-called Am. Soc. C. E. section recommended in 1893 by a special committee appointed by the American Society of Civil Engineers is the one which is most generally used; in Europe the section invented by Mr. Sandberg is chiefly employed. The ordinary length of rails is 30 feet, but rails 33 feet, 45 feet, and 60 feet long are used to some extent. The weight of rails per linear yard varies from 65 pounds, which is the least weight economical for ordinary service, to 100 pounds, which is the heaviest rail actually in use in the United States. Generally for ordinary traffic on roads with easy curves and moderate grades a 70-pound or 75-pound rail is used; for heavy and fast traffic and for sharp curves and steep grades the weights used run from 80 pounds to 85 pounds, 90 pounds, 95 pounds, and 100 pounds. An 80-pound rail of the Am. Soc. C. E. section is 7⅜ inches high, with a head 2½ inches wide and 1½ inches deep, a web 35/64 inches thick and 5 inches deep, and a base 5 inches wide. Of the total weight, 42 per cent. is in the head, 21 per cent. in the web, and 37 per cent. in the base.
ENGLISH BULL-HEAD RAIL AND CHAIR.
STANDARD AM. SOC. C. E. 80-LB. RAIL.
Until 1855 all rails were made of wrought iron, but in that year steel rails were rolled in England, and were laid in track. Steel rails were rolled experimentally in the United States in 1865 and in 1867 they were being rolled to supply orders from the railways. The substitution of steel for iron for railway rails was one of the benefits wrought by the invention of the Bessemer process of steel-making. (See Iron and Steel.) The Bessemer process was introduced and developed in America largely through the efforts of A. L. Holley (q.v.). It has been claimed with substantial justness that no other invention did so much to encourage the development of the heavy-traffic, high-speed American railway as did this epoch-making discovery of Bessemer. In America and England rails are now generally spaced 4 feet 8½ inches apart, this spacing being known as the standard gauge. Various other gauges are employed in other countries, the meter gauge, 39.37 inches, being common in South American countries and Japan, a 5 foot 6 inch gauge being used in India, and a 5 foot 3 inch gauge being used in Ireland. A narrower gauge than the meter gauge has been employed on some railways. The Great Western Railway in England was originally constructed with a 7 foot gauge, and it was not until 1892 that it was converted to a standard-gauge road. A 6-foot gauge was introduced on the Erie Railway and retained long after the standard gauge had become general in the United States. As time passes, however, the 4 foot 8½ inch gauge is becoming more common all over the world. The method of fastening rails to the ties varies. In America hook-headed spikes are almost universally used; the bull-headed rail used in England is wedged into cast-iron chairs which are bolted to the ties; in Europe considerable use is made of bolts; and when steel ties are employed various forms of clamping devices tightened by means of bolts or wedges are used. To allow for expansion, rails are usually laid with a little space between the ends of succeeding rails. The space allowed varies on different roads and with the temperature at the time the rail is laid, but it is seldom more than three-eighths of an inch for the coldest weather and from this distance it gradually decreases to nothing at the maximum prevailing heat for the climate which the road has to endure.
SPIKES FOR FASTENING RAIL TO CROSS-TIE.
ANGLE-BAR RAIL JOINT.
The ends of succeeding rails are clamped together by various devices going under the general name of rail joints. The simplest form of rail joint is the fish plate, and the most common form is the angle bar. (See Fish Plate.) The joint remains the weakest point of the rail despite all the efforts which have been made to remedy this weakness. It may be noted in passing that these efforts are responsible for the numerous forms of patented rail joints which are on the market, several of which have met with substantial success. Rail joints are defined as suspended when the opening between the rail ends comes over the space between the adjacent ties, and as supported joints when this opening comes over the centre of a tie. Suspended joints are by far the most common in the United States. Rails are said to be laid with square joints when the joints of the two lines of rails are opposite each other, and they are said to be laid with broken joints when the joints in one line of rails come opposite the centre portion of the rails in the other line. Broken joints are the more common in the United States. On curves the gauge of the rails is usually slightly increased, with the idea of preventing the flanges of the car wheels from binding when rounding curves, and the outer rail of the curve is elevated above the level of the inner rail to counteract the tendency of the running cars through centrifugal force to continue in a straight line when passing a curve. The amount of this elevation is greater the sharper the curve is. This same centrifugal force of the car tends to push the outer rails of curves in an outward direction or away from the inner rail, and to prevent this the outside rails on flat curves have a double set of outside spikes, and on sharp curves braces of stamped or cast steel or iron are spiked to the tie and brace against the side of the rail. These braces are called rail braces. In many places rails develop a tendency to creep or travel along the track, due to the various forces acting upon them. The direction of this creeping may be either up or down grade, with or against the traffic, and to prevent it check plates or creeper plates are sometimes employed, which are bolted to the rail and spiked to the tie. Special forms of track construction are required at switches.
RAIL BRACE FOR HOLDING RAILS ON CURVES.
CATTLE GUARD WITH METAL SURFACE.
The switch is a device by which a train is directed from one track to another. An essential part of a switch is a frog. (See Frog.) On bridges and trestles the track construction also varies somewhat from that on embankments and in cuts. Sometimes the floors of bridges are made solid and carry ballast on which the ties and rails are supported in the usual manner, but more commonly the ties are laid on the bridge stringers and carry the rails without any ballast. An essential part of railway track on bridges is a wooden or metal rail laid parallel to each of the track rails and a little distance away from them. The object of the guard rails is to restrain the free movement of derailed cars and prevent them from running off the bridge. In thickly settled districts the railway right of way is usually fenced in with fences of timber or wire, or, where a nice appearance is particularly desired, with hedges and walls of stone bearing ornamental iron railings. At grade crossings of highways and in a few other places at which cattle are liable to stray onto the track cattle guards are employed. These are of two kinds, known as pit guards and surface guards. A pit guard, as its name implies, is a wide deep pit underneath the rails which cattle will shun for obvious reasons. A surface guard is made up of sharp edged or toothed slats of wood or metal which depend for their efficiency upon the fact that in treading upon them the animal hurts its feet and withdraws from the attempted crossing.
PLAN OF FREIGHT YARD ON ERIE R.R., PORT JERVIS, N. Y.
Sidings and yards are special developments of the track system for special purposes. Sidings are provided to enable trains to pass on single-track roads and to relieve traffic on double track. Yards are aggregations of tracks at terminals and other points which are provided for the storage and handling of cars which accumulate at those points. Various arrangements of yard tracks are employed, each arrangement being adopted to serve certain purposes and to meet certain conditions of traffic and of form and area of yard space. At the ends of stub tracks a bumping post (q.v.) is a necessary structure to prevent the cars from running off the end of the track. Another essential structure is a turntable for turning locomotives and sometimes cars. Track scales are an important item in railway-yard equipment. They resemble very closely the familiar platform scale used for weighing hay, coal, etc., in wagons, but are much larger and stronger so as to accommodate heavily loaded cars. To facilitate the handling of locomotives ash pits are provided into which the engines may dump their grates when necessary, and also water tanks, as are shown in the illustration. Station platforms are also usually classed as a part of the track construction.
So far reference has been made only to track construction, but track maintenance is quite as important an item. The work of maintaining the track of railways in good order costs in America all the way from $500 to $1500 per mile, and is from 8 to 20 per cent. of the total operating expenses. The number of employees engaged in track work by American railways averages about 150 per 100 miles of line.
Buildings. Railway operations require the use of buildings in vast numbers. Of these passenger stations and freight depots are among the most important because of their number and cost. Passenger stations vary in size and character from small combination depots used at local stations of minor importance to large terminal stations of masonry and steel, and often of almost monumental magnificence. A combination depot is one in which both the freight and the passenger business is carried on under one roof. For the freight business a freight room is required, with platform space along a wagon road for transferring freight to and from wagons: and also the necessary facilities for handling freight to and from cars in freight trains or cars standing at the depot. The passenger business is served by the introduction of waiting rooms. Generally the structure is a one-story frame building sheathed with boards and roofed with shingles. Flag stations are stations of minor importance at which only a limited number of trains stop, usually upon being signaled by flag. The buildings at such stations range in importance from a single roofed platform to a combination depot.
Where the volume of traffic is sufficient the freight and passenger buildings are separated. Passenger stations in these cases may be divided into local stations and terminal stations. The distinction between the two is that in terminal side stations the tracks, or a number of them at least, terminate at the station, while in large first-class local passenger stations the tracks pass by the buildings. Local stations vary greatly in size, character, and cost, many of them in large towns and cities being elaborate stone and steel structures, but the largest of them seldom equal in size the largest terminal stations. Terminal passenger stations are those erected for the accommodation of the passenger service at large passenger terminals of railways. Frequently several railways entering a town unite and use conjointly a so-called ‘union depot.’ It follows, therefore, that terminal passenger stations are located in large cities and towns, or at ferry terminals or at important junction points of several railways. These stations possess all the accommodations provided for large local stations, but in more capacious and luxurious forms and in addition many others, such as hotels, bars, cab, and carriage stands, parlors and reception rooms, rooms for gatemen, porters, police, watchmen, doctor's office, etc. Terminal stations are denominated side stations when the building is situated at one side of the tracks and head stations when the building extends across the dead ends of the tracks. Usually the tracks enter the station in pairs with a platform between each pair of tracks. These tracks and platforms are commonly roofed over in terminal stations. Train-shed roofs are sometimes made up of large steel arches spanning the tracks without intermediate supports, and sometimes they consist of two or more spans of steel roof trusses carried by side walls and intermediate columns.
Except at combination depots and flag stations special buildings are provided for handling the freight traffic. Freight houses are of two kinds, commonly defined as terminal freight houses and local freight houses. The former are large separate buildings at important terminals, and the latter are usually small structures at intermediate stations along the line. Local freight houses are usually single-story frame structures having high platforms on one or all sides. If the tracks are only on one side of the building it is designated a side freight house, but if there are tracks on both sides it is designated as an island freight house. Terminal freight houses differ from local freight houses in their greater size, in their more substantial construction of brick and steel, and in their arrangement for handling incoming freight, outgoing freight, different classes of freight, etc., in separate departments, and in having the storage space separate from the spaces devoted to the handling of transient freight. Terminal stations located on the water front must also have provisions for transshipping freight to and from vessels. Railway shops are located at one or more places on a railway at which locomotives and cars are repaired and built, and where all the manufacturing work of the railway is done. Such shops resemble large manufacturing establishments elsewhere in their construction, arrangement, equipment with wood and metal working machines, etc., suitable for the work to be performed. Among the various other railway buildings are: Roundhouses for the shelter, cleaning, and minor repairing of locomotives between trips; car sheds and car-cleaning yards, for the shelter and cleaning of cars between trips; ice houses, for storing the ice used in passenger and dining cars and for refrigerator cars; sand houses, for drying, cleaning, and storing the sand supplied to locomotives; oil-storage houses, for storing the lubricating and lamp oil; coaling stations, for storing and delivering coal to locomotives; watchmen's shanties; section-houses; snow sheds and protection sheds for landslides; dwelling houses for employees, and sleeping quarters, reading rooms and club houses for employees. Some notion of the enormous expenditure in buildings required by railways is furnished by the statement of the Interstate Commerce Commission that for the year ending June 30, 1900, the cost of repairs and renewals of buildings on the railways of the United States was $22,770,906, or about 2½ per cent. of the total operating expenses.
Cars. Railway cars of so many varieties are now in use that a description of the different kinds would be beyond the scope of this article. The list would include upward of 40 distinct patterns of cars, each of which is adapted to a special use. The early passenger cars differed but little from stage coaches, and the first step in the evolution of the modern car was made by joining several of these coach bodies into a single car. In the United States bogie trucks were next placed under each end of the cars, permitting them to be made of much greater length, after which the compartments were discarded for the present continuous car bodies, although in England and in most of the countries of Continental Europe the compartment system has been retained, each car being divided into three or four independent sections. Most of the improvements following these changes have been in the direction of additional safety devices and luxuries. The first attempt to furnish sleeping cars was on the Cumberland Valley Railroad in 1836. A compartment car of four sections was used, each section containing a lower, middle, and upper berth, but this, as well as a few other experiments in providing sleeping accommodations, was too crude to prove attractive. In 1864 the first Pullman sleeping car was introduced, and some time afterwards was put into service on the Chicago and Alton road. This car, called the Pioneer, was a foot wider and two and a half feet higher than any in use at that time, and before it could run over the line several bridges and all the station platforms had to be altered. Parlor cars and dining cars soon followed, and in 1886 the vestibuled cars completed the list of luxuries in railway travel. The car-building industry in this country is a vast one, as is well indicated by the fact that in 1900 a total of 124,106 cars were built, not including those built by the railway companies at their own shops. The total number of cars in service in the United States on June 30, 1900, was 1,450,838, of which 1,365,531 were freight cars.
A notable increase in the size and capacity of cars has signalized recent car construction. In 1875 the normal capacity of freight cars in the United States was from 20,000 pounds to 25,000 pounds. In 1885 this normal capacity had grown to 40,000 pounds and 50,000 pounds, and in that year cars of 60,000 pounds capacity had begun to be built. Few cars of less than 60,000 pounds capacity are now used for general freight service, and there is a decided tendency to increase the capacity to 70,000 pounds and 80,000 pounds. For special coal and ore traffic steel cars of 100,000 pounds and 110,000 pounds capacity are quite generally used. The steel car is a decidedly modern innovation and one which has been received in America with much favor. The principal advantages argued in favor of steel cars of 50 to 60 tons capacity are their great capacity in proportion to their weight and their superior strength and durability over wooden cars. In addition to all-steel cars, cars with steel under frames and wooden superstructure are considerably used.
In Europe the passenger cars used are generally smaller and of lighter construction than those in America, but during recent years the tendency has been to employ cars of larger size than formerly, although such great dimensions as are common in America have not yet been attained. The smaller cars are from 26 to 34 feet long and are usually mounted on six wheels; the larger cars reach a length of nearly 60 feet and are mounted on trucks after the American fashion. The smaller American passenger cars are usually 50 feet long, while the large sleeping and dining cars frequently have a length of 80 feet or even 90 feet. European freight cars are veritable pygmies as compared with those used for the same service in America, they being from 12 feet to 18 feet long, mounted on four wheels and having a capacity of from 5½ to 9 tons.
Safety Appliances. Safety appliances for railways have been of growing importance in proportion to the increase of the weight and speed of trains; at the same time, very few of these appliances are used solely with a view to safety, most of them having some mechanical function to fulfill apart from the promotion of safety. Signals are one of the most important items of this class, and serve to keep the trains a certain distance apart, as well as to inform the engine runners of the condition of the tracks at switches, crossings, etc. The semaphore is the standard signal in both the United States and England. These are arranged to give three indications, according to the positions and colors of their blades in the daytime and the colors of their lanterns at night. The semaphore consists of a vertical post, to which a blade about two feet in length is pivoted near one of its ends, so as to hang either vertical at right angles to the post or midway between these positions. The short end of this blade behind the pivot carries a disk of colored glass, either red or green, which falls in front of a lantern when the blade is moved. For a clear track the blade hangs at an angle of about 30 degrees from the post and the lantern shows white. For danger a red blade stands horizontal, showing a red light, and for caution a green blade and a green light are shown. The signals and switches are worked from the same station by means of levers, which are provided with interlocking devices, so that only the proper signal corresponding to the position of the switch can be given. The interlocking system is a very ingenious arrangement, by means of which the movements of a number of levers are interdependent, so that it is mechanically impossible for the signalman to move them except in their prearranged order. In approaching a switch there are two signals, the farther one indicating caution, and the home signal danger, if the switch is not locked in position so that the line is clear. The switch lever is the only one which can be moved, and its movement releases the lever of the caution signal. Moving the latter locks the switch lever and releases the danger-signal lever, which, being thrown, locks the caution-signal lever and indicates that the way is clear. The levers can only be moved now in the reverse order, so that in throwing the switch the signals show danger first. In cases where the signals are too far from the signal tower to be seen and a break in the connection occurs, the signal falls by gravity to the danger position. This system of interlocking is capable of broad expansion, as one lever may be made to lock any one or more of the assembled levers in a signal tower.
In a refinement of the above system the manual labor of throwing the levers is replaced by the use of compressed air. The valves which control the various signals and switches are operated by electricity and controlled by small switches, which interlock in the same way as the levers described. A model of the track and signals is placed over the switchboard, and any changes made are reproduced on the model. As with the interlocking system, a signal could not be given which would lead to an accident; such could only occur by the failure to see or obey the signals. In case of fogs, a torpedo is frequently placed on the track, which makes a loud report when the wheels of a locomotive pass over it. In connection with the interlocking system, the detector-bar for switches is important, its function being to prevent the throwing of a switch while a train is passing over it. This is accomplished by means of a bar placed parallel to the rail. The bar is moved by the same mechanism which locks the switch. The movement of this bar raises it above the level of the rail, so the switch cannot be unlocked as long as there are any wheels on the rail which prevent the detector-bar from being raised. Another railway safety appliance is the system of signals which is used to maintain a minimum distance between the trains on the same track. The block system is used for this to some extent in the United States, and is almost general in England. See Block Signal Systems.
Brakes are the most essential safety devices for railway trains, and certain general principles are now recognized as necessary, which are to be found in almost all brake mechanism in use all over the world. They must be quick-acting, must be applied to every pair of wheels in a train, and must be applied simultaneously and controlled from a single point, generally at the locomotive. Air brakes, vacuum brakes, and several electrically controlled brakes fulfill these conditions, the Westinghouse automatic air brake, however, being the standard in this as well as most other countries. See Air Brake.
In addition to the signaling and braking appliances mentioned, a number of minor devices of great value in promoting safety have been introduced. Automatic couplers are important among these, and they are now demanded by law in the United States. A standard form has been adopted by the Master Car-Builders' Association, to which the various manufacturing companies comply, so that any of the different makes will work together. Their use is now general on all cars.
Grade crossings of highways at important points are gradually being abolished, as the percentage of people killed at these points is much greater than that of passenger fatalities. One device used at grade crossings is the well-known arm gate, operated by a flagman, or by compressed air, when several gates near together are used. Another method for crossings where the travel is infrequent is to provide an electric bell at the signal post, which is put in operation by the car wheels, and continues to ring for several minutes before the passing of a train. A considerable number of other appliances are in general use for promoting safety on railways, which would require too much space to describe.
Railway Management. Railway management
in the United States is primarily under the
control of the directors of the railway companies,
who are elected by the stockholders. A president
is the chief executive officer of a railway,
and the other officers are generally one or more
vice-presidents, a treasurer and secretary, and a
general manager. The treasurer has charge of
all moneys collected and disbursed, and is responsible
directly to the president, who is assisted in
certain duties by the vice-president. The duties
of the general manager extend to every department
of the service, all of which are under his
control. A superintendent is at the head of each
department, who is responsible for every detail of the work in every division and subdivision of
his department, and each sub-department is in
turn under the control of a single head, and so
on down to the end of the scale. In this way the
lines of responsibility of each employee, from the
car-cleaner up to the president, are clearly
defined. The heads of the prin
directly in charge of the general manager are
the superintendent of roadway, the superintendent
of machinery, and the superintendent of
transportation. The controller, the traffic
manager, and the car accountant are also classed in
the same rank. The subdivisions of these
departments are too numerous to trace in detail.
The superintendent of roadway is responsible
for the maintenance of all the construction work
of the railway, including the track, trestles,
bridges, buildings, etc., each of which departments
is assigned to supervisors, whose work
covers a certain allotted territory. Each supervisor
divides his territory into sections which
are in charge of a resident section master, who
employs a section gang. Track walkers from
these gangs patrol their entire section several
times a day and report any needed repairs, which
are attended to by the section men. The
superintendent of machinery attends to the provision
and maintenance of all the rolling stock. The
locomotives are in charge of a master mechanic,
who keeps a record of the performance of each
of them, and the cars are under the care of a
master car-builder, who attends to the manufacture,
repairing, and inspection of all the
company's cars. The superintendent of transportation
is in charge of the movements of all the
trains on the road and all employees connected
with the train service, including telegraphic
operators, train dispatchers, conductors, etc. In
addition to arranging the regular time schedule,
he provides for the extra trains ordered by the
traffic manager. A graphical representation of
the regular trains is used, from which the relative
positions of the trains on the road at any
time during the day can be seen at once if the
runs are made on time. From this diagram the
opportunities for sending out extra trains are
determined, and any chances of collisions become
apparent and can be guarded against.
The traffic manager's department is divided into two principal branches—the passenger traffic and the freight traffic—each in charge of a general agent. In this department the rates and tolls are made, and the advertising, soliciting of business, etc., carried on. The duties of the car accountant are keeping a record of all cars on the road, which is made up from the conductors' reports, and notifying the owners of the number and movements of other companies' cars on his road. This is made necessary from the custom of sending through freight cars over different roads without unloading, and in this way they are often scattered widely over the country. There are two other departments, less intimately connected with the management of the roads than those mentioned above. These are the purchasing and the legal departments. The controller's department, where the accounts and statistics are kept, completes the general outline of the organization of a railway.
Railway Traffic. Passenger service on steam railways was inaugurated on October 10, 1825, on the Stockton and Darlington road with a passenger car called the Experiment, which carried inside and outside about 25 passengers. The distance run was 12 miles, and the fare was one shilling, each passenger being allowed 14 pounds of baggage. In America by the end of the year 1831 there were several railways in operation or in course of construction, but for fifteen or twenty years the railway travel was extremely uncomfortable, although it was a vast improvement over the stage coaches previously used. The car ceilings were low and without ventilation, the stoves at either end of the cars had no effect on the temperature at the middle seats, and in the absence of spark arresters the cars were filled with cinders. Tallow candles were used at this period, which contributed more to the odor than to the illumination of the cars, and the roughness of the track and jolting of the train made conversation almost impossible. The flat rails used at first were the cause of numerous accidents. Their ends were cut at an angle to form lap joints, and the pointed ends were occasionally caught by the wheels and driven up through the car floor, impaling the passengers sitting directly over them. Through tickets were unknown, and at the end of each short, independent railway, into which the long routes were at first divided, the passenger was obliged to purchase a new ticket, change cars, and transfer his own baggage. These conditions prevailed generally on American railways, as well as on all others, for a number of years, and it was not until 1860 and after that the most important railway improvements were adopted. Automatic brakes and automatic couplers, as well as spring buffers, were the most noticeable of the early improvements introduced. These devices overcame the jerking and jarring of the cars both when in motion and when starting and stopping. The bell-cord passing through the cars and communicating with the engineer, or with the air-brake mechanism, is a safety device peculiar to this country, and is still generally omitted in Europe for fear that false signals may be given.
The use of sleeping cars and parlor cars introduced an element of comfort in railway travel which was of great importance in this country, on account of the distances traversed. The buffet car was afterwards provided to avoid delays at meal stations. This was merely a modified sleeping car with a kitchen at one end and portable tables, which could be fixed in each section. Dining cars, introduced shortly afterwards, led to the development of vestibuled trains, as, in order to reach the dining car, the rule forbidding passengers to cross the platforms when the cars were in motion was then broken at the invitation of the railway companies. Vestibuled express trains are now in general use, on which sleepers, parlor cars, a dining car, a smoking saloon, library, bath-room, barber shop, and writing-room are provided. The checking of baggage is regarded in this country as one of the most indispensable features of railway travel, as by this system through checks over any number of connecting railways may be issued, so that baggage is transferred from the passenger's residence to any specified address in the country without devolving any responsibility upon the owner. This system operates so perfectly that the loss of baggage is almost unknown, and its detention is of rare occurrence. The usual allowance of 100 pounds of baggage per passenger is merely nominal on most roads, as charges are rarely made except where the excess is several times the specified weight. In connection with through checks, coupon tickets are issued for trips covering several different roads, which are sold by either of the companies whose lines are traversed. This requires an agreement between the different roads for the mutual accounting for the tickets sold. The average rate per mile for railroad fares in the United States is approximately the same as in Europe, and to make a comparison the different classes of travel must be considered. In Europe the rates of fare are graded into three classes—first, second, and third. The first-class travel is very small, and the fares are comparatively high; by far the largest proportion of travel is on the third class. In the United States the first class comprises most of the railroad travel, the second and third classed together amounting to only 1 per cent. of the whole.
The speed of passenger trains is being steadily increased, and recent years have shown some remarkable records of train speeds both in America and abroad. A more important development than these occasional record runs, however, has been the increase in the average speed of trains. Many railways to-day maintain a schedule speed of 50 miles per hour in their express train service, and in some instances regular trains average 60 miles per hour. Where an average speed of 60 miles an hour is demanded by the time-table, the speed during a part of the run often reaches 75 and even 85 miles per hour. Much higher speeds than this have been exceptionally attained for short distances. As the result of these developments the schedule time between important cities has been greatly reduced. In the United States between four and five thousand passengers are killed and injured each year by railway accidents. These figures seem large until the enormous number of passengers carried safely to one injured is calculated. According to the report of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 2,316,648 passengers were carried safely in 1900 to one passenger killed, and 139,740 passengers were carried safely to one injured. In England in 1900 the proportion was one passenger killed in 8,461,309, and one injured in 470,848. On the Continent of Europe in many cases an even better record is maintained.
The railways of Europe are largely under Government control, growing out of the policy of subsidizing them, or in some cases of building the lines outright, or of guaranteeing a monopoly of traffic by the State. In France most of the railways are either owned entirely or to a very large extent by the Government, and are held by the companies operating them on leases. In this way almost all the railways in the country will ultimately revert to the possession of the Government. Railway service in England is in some respects different from that of any other country, and its evolution from stage-coach travel is still suggested by its nomenclature. The cars are called carriages, the engineers drivers, and the conductors guards. The absence of grade crossings and sharp curves and the substantial character of the construction work make the English roadbeds superior to most others. Safety in travel is greatly promoted by these conditions, but in other respects the passenger service is, from an American standpoint, much inferior to that in this country, although vast improvements have taken place both in England and on the Continent within recent years.
Freight service constitutes the greater part of the business of most railways, and is the most important source of their income. Of the entire revenue of the railways, about 70 per cent. is derived from freight traffic, 25 per cent. from passenger service, and 5 per cent. from mail and other minor services. The movement of freight by the early railways was very slow and much more expensive than it is now, largely owing to the transfers made between the cars of different companies, each of which used its own rolling stock exclusively. With the increase of freight traffic the custom has grown to allow freight cars to run from the point of shipment over any number of railways to their destination without transfer, and the greater part of the freight business in the United States is now done in this way. The cars of each company become considerably scattered over the lines of other companies, and every road does more or less business with other companies' cars, for which a mileage is paid to the owners of the cars. The through freight service of the country is very much improved by avoiding transfers, but at the same time keeping account of the whereabouts of its cars and reducing its mileage balance by as little use as possible of foreign cars are often troublesome problems for a railway. The car accountant's department keeps records of the movement of cars, which are made up from the reports of the train conductors and from agents placed at each railway junction. These records are quite complete, and are of additional use in checking the reports of foreign roads and adjusting the mileage charges. Cars are supposed to be promptly returned to their home roads with loads in that direction only, but it happens frequently that when short of cars freight agents will use any car at hand, without regard to its home direction. From this practice it sometimes results that a car will not reach home for months or even over a year from the time it left its own road. At the receiving station freight is loaded into the cars, as far as possible allowing to certain cars goods marked to the same destination. The number and destination of each car is given to the dispatcher, who makes up the trains from these memoranda. The conductor takes the memoranda of each car, called running slips, and these slips are transferred from road to road with the car until it reaches its destination. At each railway junction a record of the cars in every train is made. For through freight several fast freight lines have been organized under a separate management to operate between certain points over several roads. Some of these are simply formed by the coöperation of several roads, each of which assigns a certain number of cars to the line, which is placed in control of a general manager. Other fast freight lines are independent of the railways, which simply charge mileage for the cars carried over their lines.
A number of special classes of freight require special cars for their transportation, and these are sometimes owned by the shippers or by fast freight lines, as well as by the railway companies. Live-stock cars for cattle, refrigerator cars for dressed meat and other provisions, heater cars for fruit, etc., are in extensive use, as well as many other special cars adapted to the needs of perishable freight. An hourly record is kept of the movements of the latter cars from the time they leave the consignor until they are delivered to the consignee. For every freight car moved a way bill is issued, which gives the number and owner of the car, a description of its contents, with the weight and address of every package, the names of the consignors and consignees, the starting-point and destination, charges, and every detail in regard to routes and the proportions of charges due the different carriers. Duplicates of these way bills go to the auditor's department, and from these the whole record of the freight business is made, and they are afterwards put on file for reference in case of claims. The average freight charges in this country are the cheapest in the world, yet the question of rates is the most troublesome one with which railway companies have to contend. The relative rates between different roads and different points rather than the actual charges for freight involve problems which railroad pools, traffic associations, and legislators have not been as yet entirely successful in solving. The subject is too broad to be discussed here, but two of the most important troubles in fixing rates lie in the discriminations in favor of large shippers and the reduction of through rates below those of intermediate points. Both of these practices, while apparently unfair to the public, are to some extent reasonable, as the same discrimination between large and small consumers is seen in the wholesale and retail prices in all businesses, and on some through lines, especially those in competition with water routes, the traffic must either be secured by special reduced rates between such points or be lost to the railways. Competition between railways is apparently less desirable than it is in the case of other kinds of trade, as the localities where it exists are alone benefited, and the business at other places is threatened. Railways serving a certain territory find it necessary to coöperate in fixing joint rates, and the concessions in charges which are mutually agreed upon between competing lines practically effect the same division of the traffic between them which was secured by the railway pools.
In making the rates, all articles of commerce are divided into several classes, and a certain standard rate per hundred pounds of each class is fixed between two important points, as New York and Chicago. Every other city reached by the same line is figured at its agreed proportion of the standard rates. For example: From New York to Pittsburg would be figured at 60 per cent. of the standard rate between New York and Chicago, and any change in the standard would affect all other places proportionately.
Mail service is a very important department of most railways from a public standpoint, although one which yields a comparatively small revenue to the railways in proportion to the service demanded. The present system of railway mail service was not suggested until 1862, and was not put into effect on a comprehensive scale until two years later, under the superintendence of Col. G. B. Armstrong. It was not, however, until about 1875 that special fast mail trains on which mail was sorted and distributed along the routes were put in operation. Special cars are provided for this service, which are fitted up with tables, pouches, and racks, and a ‘mail catcher,’ which picks up mail pouches from posts at stations where the train does not stop.
In 1900-1901 there were 9182 clerks employed in railway mail service in the United States, working in crews on 783,358 miles of railway. This number includes the clerks employed on steamboat lines (33,970 miles in length) and electric and cable cars. Considerable of the mail carried by the railways is charged at freight rates, according to its weight, and the largest proportional earnings from this source are made by the railway companies which carry too little mail to warrant running high speed trains without extra remuneration. Considering the requirements of the mail service, which are met by the railway companies, the advantage of this traffic as a source of profit to them is doubtful. The time in transit for mail from New York to San Francisco, Cal., a distance of 3250 miles, is indicated by the Official Postal Guide as 106 hours; from New York to Chicago, 900 miles, 23 hours; New York to Buffalo, 410 miles, 9½ hours, and New York to Albany, 142 miles, 3½ hours.
Railway Capitalization. Much of the financial difficulty under which a good many American railways have labored has been the direct outgrowth of speculation, in which the properties have frequently been practically wrecked merely to effect deals in the stock market, and roads which have been the subject of these operations are generally overcapitalized or mortgaged to such an extent that the earnings which would be sufficient to provide reasonable dividends on the actual value of the property are frequently too small to pay the interest on its bonds. The amount of railway stock which has been issued without consideration of money or value is unquestionably very large, although no approximation to the real sum is possible of being estimated. Occasionally such stock is issued pro rata to the stockholders of a very profitable road to make the rate of dividends less prominent, which might otherwise invite restrictive legislation. More frequently the object of issuing watered stock is to keep the control of the railway by means of the apparent investment it represents, or to balance some difference in cases of reorganization. The bonds represent very closely the amount of the debt actually paid in. The stockholders, as owners of the road, have the entire control of the property, and the bondholders have no voice in the management so long as their interest is paid. This condition, corresponding to that of the owners and mortgagees of real estate, is entirely reasonable as long as the actual investments in stock and bonds maintain normal proportions, for the reason that the stockholders assume all the risk, while the bondholders are practically secured. In some cases, however, the amount of money supplied by the stockholders is merely nominal, and the road is bonded for all or more than its value. This can only occur where the stock is most all ‘water,’ and its result is to put the management of the road in hands of parties having but little financial or other interest in it except for the opportunity it affords for speculating with the money of the bondholders. The abuses which have grown out of railway transactions under such circumstances constitute shameful chapters in the history of a number of roads, such as the Erie, Wabash, Union Pacific, and others.
What are known as the Erie wars in 1868 illustrated the worst evils of this class. Two or three operators bought within a few weeks options on a large amount of Erie stock for the sum of $72,000, and obtained possession of sufficient proxies to elect one of their own representatives as president of the road. After thus obtaining control of the property, the railway was charged at once with the $72,000 spent in acquiring it, and the speculators then commenced selling the stock for a fall. This was eagerly purchased by the Erie's rivals, the owners of the New York Central road, and, instead of a fall, the price of Erie stock rose from 68 to about 80. As this threatened to ruin the Erie operators, they issued $5,000,000 worth of fraudulent stock, which was sold at 80, and on its discovery the speculators for a fall realized an enormous profit in addition to the $4,000,000 proceeds from the sale of fraudulent stock. In the legal proceedings which followed large sums of money were spent in buying up elections, legislatures, and judges, all of which were charged to the Erie road, and at the end of two or three years, when the ring lost its control, the indebtedness of the Erie had been increased by about $65,000,000, which prevented its stock from paying a dividend for twenty years.
A certain amount of hostile feeling has always existed between the public and the railways, which fortunately is diminishing with the better understanding of the questions in dispute. Practically the whole difference hinged on the matter of rates, and both sides have been at fault in treating this subject. The railways have at times made very unjust discriminations between different persons and different localities, and, on the other hand, the public in attempting to correct these abuses have passed laws which have been equally unjust to the railways. The problem of rates is an exceedingly difficult one to legislate upon, as no fixed rule can be justly applied in every case as to the proportional charges for different distances. A large proportion of the transportation of this country falls within the jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce Law, which in respect to rates leaves considerable discretionary power in the hands of the Commission. See Interstate Commerce Act.
Elevated Railways. Elevated railways is the name given to railways which run along a line of streets on girders supported on iron pillars erected on the street surface. The first elevated railway was a short line built in New York City in 1867, but the successful operation of such lines did not take place until 1872, when the New York Elevated Railroad Company began running trains on a line from Battery Park along Greenwich Street and Ninth Avenue to Thirtieth Street. From this time on the growth of the elevated railway system of New York was rapid, and succeeding years saw lines built in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Boston. Liverpool, Berlin, and Paris are among the foreign cities which possess elevated railway lines. The modern construction of elevated railways in America consists of steel pillars or columns erected along each curb line about 60 feet apart. The tops of these columns are connected across the street by plate girders (see Bridges), and these girders carry others generally one under each track rail, reaching from one pair of columns to the next longitudinally of the street. The railway track is laid on these longitudinal girders, and consists of cross-ties with rails spiked to them in the usual manner. The stations are carried on elevated platforms level with the railway, and access and egress is had by means of stairways and elevators. On the Barmen-Elberfeld Railway, operated by electricity, the cars are suspended from the elevated structure. The principal elevated railway in Berlin is a viaduct of masonry, presenting fine architectural features.
Mountain Railways. The term mountain railway is applied to lines whose grades are too steep to be operated by locomotives, depending upon adhesion only for their drawing power, and which, therefore, necessitate the use of some special system of securing greater traction power. Several such systems are employed. The two principal ones are the Fell system, with a central, elevated, double-headed rail laid sideways, which is gripped by horizontal wheels on each, side, which greatly augment the adhesion, and the system with central racks in which vertical cog-wheels work, whereby the adhesion of the ordinary driving wheels is greatly assisted in drawing a train up the incline, and the descent of the train is kept under control. This latter system embraces the Riggenbach, Abt, and other systems. In tourist lines ascending the steep sides of mountains for the sake of the views, a cog-wheel working in a central track is generally used as the sole means of propulsion up the inclines. Lastly, where the ascent is steep, straight, and fairly short, a cable is employed for hauling up the vehicles, resembling in principle the inclines worked by ropes in mines, a system which has also occasionally been adopted for the steep inclines on ordinary railways.
CENTRAL-RAIL SYSTEM FOR MOUNTAIN RAILWAYS.
The central-rail system was first adopted for crossing the Mont Cenis Pass by a railway laid mainly along the road between Saint-Michel and Susa, a distance of 48 miles, having a gauge of 3 feet 7⅝ inches and surmounting a difference of level of 5300 feet between Susa and the summit, with a total variation in level between its termini of about 9900 feet. The ruling gradient was 1 in 12, the average gradient about 1 in 17, and the central rail, raised 7½ inches above the ordinary rail-level, was laid along all gradients exceeding 1 in 25; while the minimum radius for the curves was 2 chains. The greatest train load carried over the Mont Cenis Fell Railway was 36 tons, and the heaviest locomotives employed on it weighed 26 tons. In this system the grip of the horizontal wheel on the central rail not merely secures sufficient adhesion to mount steep inclines, but also serves as a very effective brake in the descent, and keeps the locomotive firmly on the line in going around sharp curves.
The Rimutaka incline, on the Wellington and Featherstone Railway in New Zealand, with a gradient of 1 in 15 for 2½ miles, and a total rise of 869 feet, opened about 1879, having a gauge, like the rest of the railway, of 3 feet 6 inches, and curves of 5 chains radius, was laid with a central rail, and the traffic on the incline has been worked continuously by a locomotive with horizontal wheels gripping the central rail. Each engine, weighing about 30 tons, can draw a maximum train load of 70 tons up the incline; and in order to avoid an undue strain on the draw-bars, the three engines employed for taking up a heavy train are so distributed between the carriages as to enable each to draw its own load. The system has proved safe and satisfactory, and well adapted for running around sharp curves; while the saving in cost of construction by adopting the incline on this particular railway, instead of a more circuitous course, to obtain flatter gradients, readily surmounted by ordinary locomotives, was estimated at £100,000.
A solid central rack was introduced for the first time in 1847 on an incline of the Madison and Indianapolis Railway near Madison, Ind. It was 1⅓ miles long, with gradients of 1 in 16½ to 1 in 17. The rack railway, however, which was the precursor of the numerous Swiss mountain railways for tourists, was the line, three miles in length, constructed up to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire in 1866-69, rising altogether to a height of 3000 feet, with ruling gradient of 1 in 3. The rack in this case was formed in lengths of 10 feet, with two parallel angle-irons, 4 inches apart, connected by a series of round wrought-iron bars constituting the teeth of the rack, which resembles a ladder laid on the ground. The locomotives, provided with a central cog-wheel working in the ladder-rack, push the vehicles up the mountain at a rate of about three miles an hour. The first rack railway carried out in Europe up a mountain slope was the Vitznau-Rigi Railway, constructed from Vitznau, on the Lake of Lucerne, to the summit of the Rigi in 1869-73, rising 4472 feet in its course of 4⅓ miles, with a ruling gradient of 1 in 4 for about a third of its length, and never less than 1 in 6, except at the stations. The locomotive on these mountain lines is always placed below the carriages, so as to push them up the inclines and control their descent, the speed of the trains on the Rigi line being limited to between three and four miles an hour.
The driving cog-wheel and the other cog-wheels fitted to the locomotive and carriages are furnished with powerful brakes, which, when applied, keep the cogs firmly engaged in the rack, so as to arrest the descent of the train; and an air brake acting on the piston of the locomotive serves to regulate the downward speed. Strong hooks attached under the locomotive and carriages encircle the top flange of each side-piece of the rack, and thus secure the train from leaving the rails or being blown over by the wind.
A steel rack rail with teeth on each side, in which horizontal cog-wheels work, was adopted for surmounting the exceptionally steep inclines of the Pilatus Railway, averaging 1 in 2.8, and attaining 1 in 2.08 in some places, preliminary trials having proved that the ladder-rack was unsuitable for such gradients. This railway opened in 1889, starts from Alpnach on the Lake of Lucerne, and rises 5363 feet in its length of 2¾ miles. The driving cog-wheels are actuated by spur gearing, and the two pairs of cog-wheels are controlled by hand brakes, which suffice to regulate the descent of the train or to stop it if necessary. An air brake acting on the pistons of the locomotive furnishes additional control of the train on its descending journey; and if at any time the speed in descending becomes more than three miles an hour, a reserve automatic brake comes into action.
Another form of rack consists in cutting the edge of a flat steel bar, so as to provide a uniform row of teeth on its upper side, and the strength of the rack can be increased for steeper gradients by increasing the thickness or the number of the bars. The rack is thus formed by a series of solid bars, with teeth shaped to the most convenient form for the working of the cog-wheel in them. This simple form of rack, consisting of successive lengths of single bars joined at their ends and laid in the centre of the track, has been employed on the flatter gradients of several rack railways, where the Abt system of two or more such bars, laid so that their teeth are not in line across the track, is resorted to on the steeper parts of the lines.
The Sant' Ellero-Saltino Railway, the first purely rack railway built in Italy, was constructed in 1892. This railway rises 2765 feet in a length of five miles, and it is laid to meter gauge, with a ruling gradient of 1 to 4.55. The rack on gradients not exceeding 1 in 8⅓, consists of two steel angle bars riveted together, 4 to 6 feet long, with teeth formed in them; but for steeper gradients up to the maximum of 1 in 4.55, two flat steel bars are introduced between the angle bars, increasing the thickness of the teeth and the rigidity of the rack, which latter can be still further augmented by introducing a distance piece between the angle bars, so as to form two or three parallel racks with a small interval lictween them, in which the cog-wheel works with a widened bearing. This Telfener rack is simpler in construction and cheaper than the Riggenbach and Abt racks; but it does not possess the special advantage of the Abt rack, of thoroughly engaging two or three successive teeth of the cog-wheel at the same time. The speed of the trains ranges from 5½ to 4⅓ miles an hour, according to the gradients, and averages 5 miles an hour.
TRACK CONSTRUCTION OF STRUB RACK RAILWAY.
A more complicated form of single rack, resembling a flat-bottomed rail in its low portion, and widened out considerably for the teeth at the top, called the Strub system, after its designer, has been recently introduced on the Jungfrau Railway, which is laid to the meter gauge, and was opened in 1899, the motive power being electricity generated by waterfalls on the mountain. This line rises 6657 feet in a length of 73.5 miles, with gradients ranging from 1 in 14⅓ up to 1 in 5; and the upper 61.5 miles are to be in tunnel, while the final ascent to the summit is to be effected by a vertical lift of 241 feet. The central rack rails, 11½ feet long, are joined together at their ends by fish-plates, like ordinary flat-bottomed rails. A brake is provided, which encircles and grips the widened-out head of the rack.
The Abt system consists essentially of two or three steel rack bars, from 11-16 inch to 1 13-16 inches thick, and 2 to 4⅓ inches deep, placed nearly two inches apart, and so arranged that the teeth are not opposite each other, but as it were break joints, causing the cog-wheels to engage in a tooth in front on one rack before leaving the tooth behind on the adjacent rack, which renders the motion smoother, and increases the security of the trains in descending, besides proportioning the strength of the rack to the steepness of the gradient by the addition of one or two bars. The Generoso railway in Italy and the Rothorn railway in Switzerland, 52.3 miles and 44.5 miles long, rising 4326 feet and 5515 feet, with ruling gradients of 1 in 4.55 and 1 in 5, and constructed in 1889-90 and 1891, respectively, are laid to a gauge of 2 feet 7½ inches with cast-steel sleepers, and provided with a double Abt rack, in which cog-wheels on the driving axles work. The system has also been extended to mountain lines in several other countries, as for instance, the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway in Colorado, of standard gauge, rising 7552 feet in a length of 8¾ miles, with a maximum gradient of 1 in 4.
TRACK CONSTRUCTION OF ABT RACK RAILWAY.
Instances of the application of electricity as the motive power on mountain railways laid with the Abt rack, where water-power is readily available for generating the electrical current, are furnished by the Mont Salève Railway near Geneva, and the Gornergrat Railway ascending from Zermatt. These railways, constructed in 1891 and 1896-98, respectively, have lengths of 53.5 miles and 54.5 miles, with rises of 2363 feet and 4600 feet, and are laid to the meter gauge, with gradients of 1 in 4 and 1 in 5, and a double line of rack. In all these rack railways, special care is always taken to anchor the track firmly down into the solid ground, so as to prevent its creeping gradually downhill under the pressure of the cog-wheels on the rack.
Bibliography. Consult Poor's Manual of Railroads (New York, annual); Annual Reports of the Interstate Commerce Commission (Washington, D. C.); Hadley, Railway Transportation; Its History and Its Laws (New York, 1885). See Locomotive; Block Signal System; Bridge; Air Brake; Tunnel; etc.