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FINANCIAL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 837 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION The methods of financing railway enterprises, both new projects and existing lines, have been influenced very largely by the attitude of the state and of municipal authorities. Railways may be built for military reasons or for commercial reasons, or for a combination of the two. The Trans-Siberian railway was a military necessity if Russia was to exercise dominion throughout Siberia and maintain a port on the Yellow Sea or the Sea of Japan. The Union Pacific railroad was a military necessity to the United States if the authority of the national government was to be maintained in the Far West. The cost of such ventures and the detailed methods by which they are financed are of relatively small importance, because they are not required to earn a money return on the investment. To a less degree, the same is true of railways built for a special instead of a general commercial interest. The Baltimore & Ohio railroad was built to protect and further the commercial interests of the city of Baltimore; the Cincinnati Southern railway is still owned by the city of Cincinnati, which built the line in the 'seventies for commercial protection against Louisville, Ky. From a commercial point of view such ventures are differentiated from railway projects built for general commercial reasons because they do not depend on their own credit. The government, national or local, furnishes the borrowing power, and makes the best bargain it can with the men it designates to operate the line. Where a railway is built for general commercial reasons, however, it must furnish its own credit; that is to say, it must convince investors that it can be worked profitably and give them an assured return on the funds they advance. The state is interested in the commercial railway venture as a matter of public policy, and because it can confer or withold the right of eminent domain, without which the railway builder would be subjected to endless annoyance and expense. This govern-mental sanction has been obtainable only with difficulty, and after the exercise of numerous legal forms, in Great Britain and on the continent of Europe. In the United States, on the other hand, it has been obtained with considerable ease. In the earlier years of American railway building, each project was commonly the subject of a special law; then special laws were in turn succeeded by general railway laws in the several states, and these in turn have come to be succeeded in most parts of the country by jurisdiction vested in the state railway commission. Each of these changes has tended to improve the existing status, to legitimize railway enterprise, and to safe-guard capital or investment. The laws regulating original outputs for capital were strictly drawn in Great Britain and on the continent of Europe; in America they were drawn very loosely. As a result it has been far easier for the American than for the European railway builder to take advantage of the speculative instinct in obtaining money. Instead of the borrowing power being restricted to a small percentage of the total capital, as in European countries, most of the railway mileage of America has been built with borrowed money, represented by bonds, while stock has been given freely as an inducement to subscribe to the bonds on the II theory that the bonds represented the cost of the enterprise, and the stock the prospective profits. As a natural result weak railway companies in the United States have frequently been declared insolvent by the courts, owing to their inability in periods of commercial depression to meet their acknowledged obligations, and in the reorganization which has followed the shareholders have usually had to accept a loss, temporary or permanent. The situation in Great Britain has been wholly different. The debt in that country is relatively small in amount, and is not represented by securities based upon hypothecation of the company's real property, as with the American railway bond, resting on a first, second or third mortgage. But British share capital has been issued so freely for extension and improvement work of all sorts, including the costly requirements of the Board of Trade, that a situation has been reached where the return on the outstanding securities tends to diminish year by year. Although this fact will not in itself make the companies liable to any process of reorganization similar to that following insolvency and foreclosure of the American railway, it is probable that reorganization of some sort must nevertheless take place in Great Britain, and it may well be questioned whether the position of the transportation system of that country would not have been better if it had been built up and projected on the experience gained by actual earlier losses, as in the United States. Thus the characteristic defect in the British railway organization has been the tendency to put out new capital at a rate faster than has been warranted by the annual increases in earnings. The American railways do not have to face this situation; but, after a long term of years, when they were allowed to do much as they pleased, they have now been brought sharply to book by almost every form of constituted authority to be found in the states, and they are suffering from increased taxation, from direct service requirements, and from a general tendency on the part of regulating authorities to reduce rates and to make it impossible to increase them. Meantime; the purchasing power of the dollar which the railway company receives for a specified service is gradually growing smaller, owing to the general increases year by year in wages and in the cost of material. The railways are prospering because they are managed with great skill and are doing increasing amounts of business, though at lessening unit profits. But there is danger of their reaching the point where there is little or no margin between unit costs of service and unit receipts for the service. It will probably be inevitable for American railway rates to trend somewhat upward in the future, as they have gradually declined in the past; but the process apparently cannot be accomplished without considerable friction with the governing authorities. The attitude of the courts is not that the railways should work without compensation, but that the compensation should not exceed a fair return on funds actually expended by the railway. This is in line with the provisions in the Constitution of the United States regarding the protection of property, but the difficulty in applying the principle to the railway situation lies in the fact that costs have to be met by averaging the returns on the total amount of business done, and it is often impossible, in specific instances, to secure a rate which can be considered to yield a fair return on the specific service rendered. Hence losses in one quarter must be compensated by gains in another—a process which the law, regarding only the gains, renders very difficult. The growth of railways has been accompanied by a world-wide tendency toward the consolidation of small independent ventures into large groups of lines able to aid one another in the exchange of traffic and to effect economics in administration and in the purchase of supplies. Both in England and in America this process of consolidation has been obstructed by all known legislative devices, because of the widespread belief that competition in the field of transportation was necessary if fair prices were to be charged for the service. But the general tendency to regulate rates by authority of the state has apparently rendered unnecessary the old plan of rate regulation through competition,even if it had not been demonstrated often and again that this form of regulation is costly for all concerned and is effective only during rare periods of direct conflict between companies. Nevertheless, in spite of difficulties, consolidation has gone on with great rapidity. When Mr E. H. Harriman died he exercised direct authority over more than 5o,000 m. of railway, and the tendency of all the great American railway systems, even when not tied to one another in common owner-ship, is to increase their mileage year by year by acquiring tributary lines. The smaller company exchanges its stock for stock of the larger system on an agreed basis, or sells it outright, and the bondholders of the absorbed line often have a similar opportunity to exchange their securities for obligations of the parent company, which are on a stronger basis or have a broader market. Similarly in Great Britain there is a tendency towards combination by mutual agreement among the companies while they still preserve their independent existence. Table XVIII. shows the paid-up capital, gross receipts, net receipts and proportion of net receipts to total paid-up capital on the railways of the United Kingdom for a series of years. Year. R Miles. Route apital. Gross Net Net tot Capital. Receipts. Receipts. Capital 1878 17,333 £698545,154 £62,862,674 £29,673,306 4.25 1888 19,812 864,695,963 72,894,665 35,132,558 4.06 1898 21,659 1,134,468,462 96,252,501 40,291,958 3'55 1899 21,700 1,152,317,501 101,667,065 41,576,378 3.61 1900 21,855 1,176,001,890 104,801,858 40,058,338 3.41 1901 22,078 1,195,564,478 106,558,815 39,069,076 3.27 1902 22,152 1,216,861,421 109,469,720 41,628,502 3.42 1903 22,435 1,235,528,917 110,888,714 42,326,859 3'43 1904 22,634 1,258,294,681 I I 1,833,272 42,660,741 3.39 1905 22,847 1,272,600,935 113,531,019 43,466,356 3.42 1906 23,063 1,286,883,341 117,227,931 44,446,077 3'45 1907 23, 1 08 1,294,065,662 121,548,923 44,939,729 3'47 1908 23,205 1,310,533,212 119,894,327 43,486,526 3.32 A similar comparison (Table XIX.) can be made for the United States of America, statistics prior to the establishment of the Inter-state Commerce Commission being taken from Poor's Manual of Railroads as transcribed in government reports. Year. Route Issued Gross Net Percent Net to ' Miles. Capital. Receipts. Receipts.t capital. 1878 81,747 $4,772,297,349 $490,103,351 $187,575,167 3.93 1888 156,114 9,281,914,605 960,256,270 301,631,051 3.25 1898 190,870 10,818,554,031 1,269,263,257 407,018,432 3'76 1899 194,336 11,033,954,898 1,339,655,114 435,753,291 3'95 1900 198,964 1 1,491,034,96o 1,519,570,830 509,289,944 4.43 1901 202,288 11,688,147,091 1,622,014,685 540,140,744 4.62 1902 207,253 12,134,182,964 1,769,447,408 598,206,186 493 1903 213,422 12,599,990,258 1,950,743,636 634,924,788 5.04 1904 220,112 13,213,124,679 2,024,555,061 623,509,113 4'72 1905 225,196 13,805,258,121 2,134,208,156 679,518,807 4.92 1906 230,761 1 4,570,421,478 2,386,285,473 774,051,156 5.31 1907 236,949 *16,082,146,683 2,649,731,911 820,254,887 5.10 1908 237,3891 16,767,544,827 2,393,805,989 651,561,587 3.88 * Includes $145,321,601 assigned to other than railway property, but earning net receipts. t After taxes; to compare with British figures. $ This figure should be received with caution. The Interstate Commerce Commission made certain accounting changes this year. (R. Mo.) CONSTRUCTION Location.—An ideal line of railway connecting two terminal points would be perfectly level and perfectly straight, because in that case the resistance due to gradients and curves would be eliminated (see § Locomotive Power) and the cost of mechanical operation reduced to a minimum. But that ideal is rarely if ever attainable. In the first place the route of a railway must be governed by commercial considerations. Unless it be quite short, it can scarcely ever be planned simply to connect its two terminal points, without regard to the intervening country; in order to be of the greatest utility and to secure the greatest revenue it must be laid out with due consideration of the traffic arising at intermediate places, and as these will not usually lie exactly on the direct line, deviations from straightness will be rendered necessary. In the second place, except in the unlikely event of all the places on the selected route lying at the same elevation, a line that is perfectly level is a physical impossibility; and from engineering considerations, even one with uniform gradients will be impracticable on the score of cost, unless the surface of the country is extraordinarily even. In these circumstances the constructor has two broad alternatives between which to choose. On the one hand he may make the line follow the natural inequalities of the ground as nearly as may be, avoiding the elevations and depressions by curves; or on the other he may aim at making it as nearly straight and level as possible by taking it through the elevations in cuttings or tunnels and across the depressions on embankments or bridges. He will incline to the first of these alternatives when cheapness of first cost is a desideratum, but, except in unusually favourable circumstances, the resulting line, being full of sharp curves and severe gradients, will be unsuited for fast running and will be unable to accommodate heavy traffic economically. If, however, cost within reasonable limits is a secondary consideration and the intention is to build a line adapted for express trains and for the carriage of the largest volume of traffic with speed and economy, he will lean towards the second. In practice every line is a compromise between these two extremes, arrived at by carefully balancing a large number of varying factors. Other things being equal, that route is, best which will serve the district most conveniently and secure the highest revenue; and the most favourable combination of curves and gradients is that by which the annual cost of conveying the traffic which the line will be called on to carry, added to the annual interest on the capital expended in construction, will be made a minimum. Cuttings and Embankments. —A cutting, or cut, is simply a trench dug in a hill or piece of rising ground, wide enough at the bottom to accommodate one or more pairs of rails, and deep enough to enable the line to continue its course on the level or on a moderate gradient. The slopes of the sides vary according to the nature of the ground, the amount of moisture present, &c. In solid rock they may be vertical; in gravel, sand or common earth they must, to prevent slipping, rise r ft. for r to ra or 2 ft. of base, or even more in treacherous clay. In soft material the excavation may be performed by mechanical excavators or " steam navvies," while in hard it may be necessary to resort to blasting. Except in hard rock, the top width of a cutting, and therefore the amount of material to be excavated, increases rapidly with the depth; hence if a cutting exceeds a certain depth, which varies with the particular circumstances, it may be more economical, instead of forming the sides at the slope at which the material of which they are composed will stand, to make them nearly vertical and support the soil with a retaining wall, or to bore a tunnel. An embankment-bank, or fill, is the reverse of a cutting, being an artificial mound of earth on which the railway is taken across depressions in the sttrface of the ground. An endeavour is made so to plan the works of a railway that the quantity of earth excavated in cuttings shall be equal to the quantity required for the embankments; but this is not always practicable, and it is sometimes advantageous to obtain the earth from some source close to the embankment rather than 'incur the expense of hauling it from a distant cutting. As embankments have to support the weight of heavy trains', they must be uniformly firm and well drained, and before the line is fully opened for traffic they must be allowed time to consolidate, a process which is helped by running construction or mineral trains over them. An interesting case of embankment and cutting in combination was involved in crossing Chat Moss on the Liverpool & Manchester railway. The moss was 41 m. across, and it varied in depth from lo to 3o ft. Its general character was such that cattle could not stand on it, and a piece of iron would sink in it. The subsoil was composed principally of clay and sand, and the railway had to be carried over the moss on the level, requiring cutting, and embankingfor upwards of 4 in. In forming 277,000 cub. yds. of embankment 670,000 yds. of raw peat were consumed, the difference being occasioned by the squeezing out of the water. Large quantities of embanking were sunk in the moss, and, when the engineer, George Stephenson, after a month's vigorous operations, had made up his estimates, the apparent work done was sometimes less than at the beginning of the month. The railway ultimately was made to float on the bog. Where embankment was required drains about 5 yds. apart were cut, and when the moss between them was dry it was used to form the embankment. Where the way was formed on the level, drains were cut on each side of the intended line, and were intersected here and there by cross drains, by which the upper part of the moss was rendered dry and firm. On this surface hurdles were placed, 4 ft. broad and 9 long, covered with heath, upon which the ballast was laid. Bridges.—For conveying small streams through embankments, channels or culverts are constructed in brickwork or masonry. Larger rivers, canals, roads, other railways and sometimes deep narrow valleys are crossed by bridges (q.v.) of timber, brick, stone, wrought iron or steel, and many of these structures rank among the largest engineering works in the world. Sometimes also a viaduct consisting of a series of arches is preferred to an embankment when the line has to be taken over a piece of flat alluvial plain, or when it is desired to economize space and to carry the line at a sufficient height to clear the streets, as in the case of various railways entering London and other large towns. In connexion with a railway many bridges have also to be constructed to carry public roads and other railways over the line, and for the use of owners or tenants whose land it has cut through (" accommodation bridges "). In the early days of railways, roads were often taken across the line on the level, but such " level " or " grade " crossings are now usually avoided in the case of new lines in populous countries, except when the traffic on both the road and the railway is very light. In many instances old level crossings have been replaced by over-bridges with long sloping approaches; in this way considerable expenditure has been involved, justified, however, by the removal of a danger to the public and of interruptions to the traffic on both the roads and the railways. In cases where the route of a line runs across a river or other piece of water so wide that the construction of a bridge is either impossible or would be more costly than is warranted by the volume of traffic, the expedient is some-times adopted of carrying the wagons and carriages across bodily with their loads on train ferries, so as to avoid the inconvenience and delay of transshipment. Such train ferries are common in America, especially on the Great Lakes, and exist at several places in Europe, as in the Baltic between Denmark and Sweden and Denmark and Germany, and across the Straits of Messina. Gradients.—The gradient or grade of a line is the rate at which it rises or falls, above or below the horizontal, and is expressed by stating either the horizontal distance in which the change of level amounts to r ft., or the amount of change that would occur in some selected distance, such as Too ft., r000 ft. or r in. In America a gradient of I in loo is often known as a I % grade, one of 2 in Too as a 2% grade, and so on; thus a 0.25% grade corresponds to what in England would be known as a gradient of I in 400. The ruling gradient of a section of railway is the steepest incline in that section, and is so called because it governs or rules the maximum load that can be placed behind an engine working over that portion of line. Sometimes, however, a sharp incline occurring on an otherwise easy line is not reckoned as the ruling gradient, trains heavier than could be drawn up it by a single engine being helped by an assistant or " bank " engine; sometimes also " momentum " or " velocity " grades, steeper than the ruling gradient, are permitted for short distances in cases where a train can approach at full speed and thus surmount them by the aid of its momentum. An incline of r in 400 is reckoned easy, of r in 200 moderate and of r in roo heavy. The ruling gradient of the Liverpool & Manchester railway was fixed at r in coo, excepting the inclines at Liverpool and at Rainhill summit, for working which special provision was made; and I. R. Brunel laid out the Great Western for a long distance out of London with a ruling gradient of 1 in 1320. Other the radius, expressed in chains (1 chain=66 ft.), in America engineers, however, such as Joseph Locke, cheapened the by stating the angle subtended by a chord loo ft. long; the measurements in both methods are referred to the central line of the track. The radius of a 1-degree curve is 5730 ft., or about 861 chains, of a 15-degree curve 383 ft. or rather less than 6 chains; the former is reckoned easy, the latter very sharp, at least for main lines on the standard gauge. On some of the earlier English main lines no curves were constructed of a less radius than a mile (8o chains), except at places where the speed was likely to be low, but in later practice the radius is sometimes reduced to 40 or 30 chains, even on high-speed passenger lines. When 'a train is running round a curve the centrifugal force which comes into play tends to make its wheel-flanges press against the outer rail, or even to capsize it. If this pressure is not relieved in some way, the train may be derailed either (I) by " climbing " the outer rail, with injury to that rail and, generally, to the corresponding wheel-flanges; (2) by overturning about the outer rail as a hinge, possibly without injury to rails or wheels; or (3) by forcing the outer rail outwards, occasionally to the extent of shearing the spikes that hold it down at the curve, thus spreading or destroying the track. In any case the details depend upon whether the vehicle concerned is an engine, a wagon or a passenger coach, and upon whether it runs on bogie-trucks or not. If it is an engine, particular attention must be directed to the type, weight, arrangement of wheels and height of centre of gravity above rail level. In considering the forces that produce derailment the total mass of the vehicle or locomotive may be supposed to be concentrated at its centre of gravity. Two lines may be drawn from this point, one to each of the two rails, in a plane normal to the rails, and the ends of these lines, where they meet the rails, may be joined to complete a triangle, which may conveniently be regarded as a rigid frame resting on the rails. As the vehicle sweeps round the curve the centre of gravity tends to be thrown outwards, like a stone from a horizontal sling. The vertical: pressure of the frame upon the outer rail is thus increased, while its vertical pressure on the inner rail is diminished. Simultaneously the frame as a whole tends to slide horizontally athwart the rails, from the inner towards the outer rail, urged by the same centrifugal forces. This sliding movement is resisted by placing a check rail on the inner side of the inner rail, to take the lateral thrust of the wheels on that side. It is also resisted in part by the conicity of the wheels, which converts the lateral force partly into a vertical force, thus enabling gravity to exert a restoring influence. When the lateral forces are 'too great to be controlled " climbing " occurs. Accidents due to simple climbing are, however, exceedingly rare, and are usually found associated with a faulty track, with " plunging " movements of the locomotive or vehicle, or with a " tight gauge " at curves or points. From consideration of the rigid triangular frame described above, it is clear that the " overturning " force acts horizontally from the centre of gravity, and that the length of its lever arm is, at any instant, the vertical distance from the centre of gravity to the level of the outer rail. This is true whatever be the tilt of the vehicle at that instant. The restoring force exerted by gravity acts in a vertical line from the centre of gravity; and the length of its lever arm is the horizontal distance between this vertical line and the outer rail. If therefore the outer rail is laid at a level above that of the inner rail at the curve, over-turning will be resisted more than would be the case if both rails were in the same horizontal plane, since the tilting of the vehicle due to this " superelevation " diminishes the overturning moment, and also increases the restoring moment, by shortening in the one case and lengthening in the other the lever arms at which the respective forces act. The amount of superelevation required to prevent derailment at a curve can be calculated ' under perfect running conditions, given the radius of curvature, the weight of the vehicle, the height of the centre of gravity, the distance between the rails, and the speed; but great experience 1 See The Times Engineering Supplement (August 22, 1906), p. 265. cost of construction by admitting long slopes of I in 8o or 7o. One of the steepest gradients in England on an important line is the Lickey incline at Bromsgrove, on the Midland railway between Birmingham and Gloucester, where the slope is i in 37 for two miles. The maximum gradient possible depends on climatic conditions, a dry climate being the most favourable. The 'theoretical limit is about 1 in 16; between I in 20 and r in 16 a steam locomotive depending on the adhesion between its wheels and the rails can only haul about its own weight. In practice the gradient should not exceed r in 222f and even that is too steep, since theoretical conditions cannot always be realized; a wet rail will reduce the adhesion, and the gradients must be such that some paying load can be hauled in all weathers. When an engineer has to construct a railway up a hill having a still steeper slope, he must secure practicable gradients by laying out the line in ascending spirals, if necessary tunnelling into the hill, as on the St Gothard railway, or in a series of zigzags, or he must resort to a rack or a cable railway. Rack Railways.—In rack railways a cog-wheel on the engine engages in a toothed rack which forms part of the permanent way. The earliest arrangement of this kind was patented by John Blenkinsop, of the Middleton Colliery, near Leeds, in 1811, and an engine built on his plan by Mathew Murray, also of Leeds, began in 1812 to haul coals from Middleton to Leeds over a line 3a m. long. Blenkinsop placed the teeth on the outer side of one of the running rails, and his reason for adopting a rack was the belief that an engine with smooth wheels running on smooth rails would not have sufficient adhesion to draw the load required. It was not till more than half a century later that an American, Sylvester Marsh, employed the rack system for the purpose of enabling trains to surmount steep slopes on the Mount Washington railway, where the maximum gradient was nearly 1 in 22. In this case the rack had pin teeth carried in a pair of angle bars. The subsequent development of rack railways is especially associated with a Swiss engineer, Nicholas Riggenbach, and his pupil Roman Abt, and the forms of rack introduced by them are those most commonly used. That of the latter is multiple, several rack-plates being placed parallel to each other, and the teeth break joint at 2, ; or ; of their pitch, according to the number of rack-plates. In this way smoothness of working is ensured, the cog-wheel being constantly in action with the rack. Abt also developed the plan of combining rack and adhesional working, the engine working by adhesion alone on the gentler slopes but by both adhesion and the rack on the steeper ones. On such lines the beginning of a rack section is provided with a piece of rack mounted on springs, so that the pinions of the engine engage smoothly with the teeth. Racks of this type usually become impracticable for gradients steeper than I in 4, partly because of the excessive weight of the engine required and partly because of the tendency of the cog-wheel to mount the rack. The Locher rack, employed on the Mount Pilatus railway, where the steepest gradient is nearly I in 2, is double, with vertical teeth on each side, while in the Strub rack, used on the Jungfrau line, the teeth are cut in the head of a rail of the ordinary Vignoles type. Cable Railways.—For surmounting still steeper slopes, cable railways may be employed. Of these there are two main systems: (i) a continuous cable is carried over two main drums at each end of the line, and the motion is derived either (a) from the weight of the descending load or (b) from a motor acting on one of the main drums; (2) each end of the cable is attached to wagons, one set of which accordingly ascends as the other descends. The weight required to cause the downward motion is obtained either by means of the material which has to be transported to the bottom of the hill or by water ballast, while to aid and regulate the motion generally steam or electric motors are arranged to act on the main drums, round which the cable is passed with a sufficient number of turns to prevent slipping. When water ballast is employed the water is filled into a tank in the bottom of the wagon or car, its quantity, if passengers are carried, being regulated by the number ascending or descending: Curves.—The curves on railways are either simple, when they consist of a portion of the circumference of a single circle, or compound, when they are made up of portions of the circumference of two or more circles of different radius. Reverse curves are compound curves in which the components are of contrary flexure, like the letter S; strictly the term is only applicable when the two portions follow directly one on the other, but it is sometimes used of cases in which they are separated by a " tangent " or portion of straight line. In Great Britain the curvature is defined by stating the length of is required for the successful application of definite formulae to the problem. For example, what is a safe speed at a given curve for an engine, truck or coach having the load equally distributed over the wheels may lead to either climbing or overturning if the load is shifted to a diagonal position. An ill-balanced load also exaggerates " plunging," and if the period of oscillation of the load happens to agree with the changes of contour or other inequalities of the track vibrations of a dangerous character, giving rise to so-called " sinuous " motion, may occur. In general it is not curvature, but change of curvature, that presents difficulty in the laying-out of a line. For instance, if the curve is of S-form, the point of danger is when the train enters the contra-flexure, and it is not an easy matter to assign the best superelevation at all points throughout the double bend. Closely allied to the question of safety is the problem of preventing jolting at curves; and to obtain easy running it is necessary not merely to adjust the levels of the rails in respect to one another, but to tail off one curve into the next in such a manner as to avoid any approach. to abrupt lateral changes of direction. With increase of speeds this matter has become important as an element of comfort in passenger traffic. As a first approximation, the centre-line of a railway may be plotted out as a number of portions of circles, with intervening straight tangents connecting them, when the abruptness of the changes of direction will depend on the radii of the circular portions. But if the change from straight to circular is made through the medium of a suitable curve it is possible to relieve the abruptness, even on curves of comparatively small radius. The smoothest and safest running is, in fact, attained when a " transition," " easement " or " adjustment " curve is inserted between the tangent and the point of circular curvature. For further information see the following papers and the discussion's on them: " Transition Curves for Railways," by James Glover, Proc. Inst. C.E. vol. 140, part ii.; and " High Speed on Railway Curves," by J. W. Spiller, and " A Practical Method for the Improvement of Existing Railway Curves," by W. H. Shortt, Proc. Inst. C.E. vol. 176, part ii. Gauge.—The gauge of a railway is the distance between the inner edges of the two rails upon which the wheels run. The width of 4 ft. 82 in. may be regarded as standard, since it prevails on probably three-quarters of the railways of the globe. In North America, except for small industrial railways and some short lines for local traffic, chiefly in mountainous country, it has become almost universal; the long lines of 3 ft. gauge have mostly been converted, or a third rail has been laid to permit interchange of vehicles, and the gauges of 5 ft. and more have disappeared. A considerable number of lines still use 4 ft. 9 in., but as their rolling stock runs freely on the 4 ft. 82 in. gauge and vice versa, this does not constitute a break of gauge for traffic purposes. The commercial importance of such free interchange of traffic is the controlling factor in determining the gauge of any new railway that is not isolated by its geographical position. In Great Britain railways are built to gauges other than 4 ft. 82 in. only under exceptional conditions; the old " broad gauge " of 7 ft. which I. K. Brunel adopted for the Great Western railway disappeared on the zoth–23rd of May 1892, when the main line from London to Penzance was converted to standard gauge throughout its length. In Ireland the usual gauge is 5 ft. 3 in., but there are also lines laid to a 3 ft. gauge. On the continent of Europe the standard gauge is generally adopted, though in France there are many miles of 4 ft. 9 in. gauge; the normal Spanish and Portuguese gauge is, however, 5 ft. 54 in., and that of Russia 5 ft. In France and other European countries there is also an important mileage of metre gauge, and even narrower, on lines of local or secondary importance. In India the prevailing gauge is 5 ft. 6 in., but there is a large mileage of other gauges, especially metre. In the British colonies the prevailing gauge is 3 ft. 6 in., as in South Africa, Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand; but in New South Wales the normal is 4 ft. 8i in. and in Victoria 5 ft. 3 in., communication between different countries of theAustralian Commonwealth being thus carried on under the disadvantage of break of gauge. Though the standard gauge is in use in Lower Egypt, the line into the Egyptian Sudan was built on a gauge of 3 ft. 6. in., so that if the so-called Cape to Cairo railway is ever completed, there will be one gauge from Upper Egypt to Cape Town. In South America the 5 ft. 6 in. gauge is in use, with various others. Mono-Rail Systems.—The gauge may be regarded as reduced to its narrowest possible dimensions in mono-rail lines, where the weight of the trains is carried on a single rail. This method of construction, however, has been adopted only to a very limited extent. In the Lartigue system the train is straddled over a single central rail, elevated a suitable distance above the ground. A short line of this kind runs from Ballybunnion to Listowel in Ireland, and a more ambitious project on the same principle, on the plans of Mr F. B. Behr, to connect Liverpool and Manchester, was sanctioned by Parliament in 1901. In this case electricity was to be the motive-power, and speeds exceeding Too m. an hour were to be attained, but the line has not been built. In the Langen mono-rail the cars are hung from a single overhead rail; a line on this system works between Barmen and Elberfeld, about 9 m., the cars for a portion of the distance being suspended over the river Wupper. In the system devised by Mr Louis Brennan the cars run on a single rail laid on the ground, their stability being maintained by a heavy gyrostat revolving at great speed in a vacuum. Permanent Way.—When the earth-works of a line have been completed and the tops of the embankments and the bottoms of the cuttings brought to the level decided upon, the next step is to lay the permanent way, so-called probably in distinction to the temporary way used during construction: The first step is to deposit a layer of ballast on the road-bed or " formation," which often slopes away slightly on each side from the central line to facilitate drainage. The ballast consists of such materials as broken stone, furnace slag, gravel, cinders or earth, the lower layers commonly consisting of coarser materials than the top ones, and its purpose is to provide a firm, well-drained foundation in which the sleepers or cross-ties may be embedded and held in place, and by which the weight of the track and the trains may be distributed over the road-bed. Its depth varies, according to the traffic which the line has to bear, from about 6 in. to i ft. or rather more under the sleepers, and the materials of the surface layers are often chosen so as to be more or less dustless. Its width depends on the numbers of tracks and their gauge; for a double line of standard gauge it is about 25 ft., a space of 6 ft. (" six-foot way ") being left between the inner rails of each pair in Great Britain (fig. 8), and a rather larger distance in America it - l~E 12'8" • --- - '
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