Page images

DESCRIPTION OF THE GALVANIC TELEGRAH AT THE GREAT WESTERN R..ILWAY.-The space occupied by the case containing the machinery, (which simply stands upon a table, and can be removed at pleasure to any part of the room,) is little more than that required for a gentleman's hat box. The telegraph is worked by merely pressing small brass keys (similar to those on a keyed bugle,) which acting by means of galvanic power, upon various hands placed upon a dial plate at the other end of the telegraphic line, as far as now opened, point not only to each letter of the alphabet, as each key may be struck or pressed, but the numericals are indicated by the same means, as well as the various points, from a comma to a colon, with notes of admiration and interjection. There is likewise a cross (X) upon the dial, which indicates that when this key is struck, a mistake has been made in some part of the sentence telegraphed, and that an "erasure" is intended. A question-such, for instance, as the following -"How many passengers started from Drayton by the 10 o'clock train ?" and the answer, would be transmitted from the terminus to Drayton and back in less than two minutes. This was proved on Saturday. This mode of communication is only completed as far as the West Drayton station, which is about 13 miles from Paddington. There are wires (as may be imagined) communicating with each end, thus far completed, passing through a hollow iron tube, not more than an inch and a half in diameter, which is fixed about six inches above the ground, running parallel with the railway, and about two or three feet distant from it. It is the intention of the Great Western Railway Company to carry the tube along the line as fast as completion of the rails takes place, and ultimately throughout the whole distance to Bristol. The machinery and the mode of working it, are so exceedingly simple that a child who could read would, after an hour or two's instruction, be enabled efficiently to transmit and receive inforination.-Observer.

Manchester and Birmingham Railway-Congleton Viaduct.-The first stone of the celebrated viaduct at Congleton, on the line of the Manchester and Birmingham railway, was laid with much ceremony on Wednesday the 26th September. Those of our readers who are interested in railway undertakings, know the magnitude of this work; but by those who do not, the following particulars will be read with interest. The viaduct is intended to run in a direction nearly north and south, and will cross the river Dane at a point about three chains below the extensive silk mill of Mr. Samuel Pearson. It will cross the Newcastle road at a point about a chain to the west of the corner of Dane street. In length, the viaduct will be 3078 feet, or nearly a mile, 31 feet in width, and twenty-seven feet between the parapets; the span will be 60 feet with 20 feet rise. There will be 42 arches, which are segments of circles. The greatest height from the river to the rails will be 98 feet 6 inches. The bases of the piers are intended to be of stone for about twelve feet in height above the ground; the imposts and parapets will also be of stone, and the rest of the structure of brick. The viaduct will contain about 61,000 cubic yards of brick work, and about 586,000 cubic feet of stone work, and is expected to be completed in two years and a half. The contractors are Messrs. John and Samuel Blakely of Manchester. The engineers in chief of the railway are Robert Stephenson and George Watson Buck, Esqrs., and W. Baker, Esq., a young gentleman of promising abilities, is the assistant engineer of the Congleton length-M. Buck stated that the viaduct would be the most gigantic structure ever attempted in this country-in this kingdom-or indeed in Europe, in modern times. It would be a thousand feet larger than

the largest bridge of masonry in Europe, which was the Pont du Saint Esprit, over the Rhone. It would be more than three times the height of that bridge, and it would occupy six times its volume.-C. E. & A. Journal.

New Locomotive Engine-Messrs. Peel, Williams and Peel, of the Soho Iron Works, Ancoats, have recently turned their attention to the manufacture of locomotive engines for railroads; and on Wednesday trial was made of their first engine, on the Liverpool and Manchester line. The general form and disposition of the parts of this engine resemble those of the Liverpool and Manchester and Grand Junction lines; the only difference being in the mode of working the valves. There are no eccentrics, but in place of them, two spur wheels staked on to the crank axle, driving two other wheels of equal diameter placed immediately over them, and running in a frame supported by a crank axle, so as to preserve the distance between the centres constantly the same, and unaffected by the motion of the engine on its springs. The wheels last mentioned are attached to a short axle or shaft, carrying at each end a small crank arm, which drives a connecting rod attached to the valve spindle. There is likewise a very important and creditable improvement in the construction of the striking lever for reversing the motion, which we are unable to describe intelligibly without the aid of a drawing. The results of the experiments on Wednesday, during a trip from Manchester to Liverpool, with the nine A. M. first-class train consisting of seven carriages each weighing five tons as reported by Mr. Edward Woods, the superintendent engineer, were most satisfactory. On the same day, the engine performed another experimental trip, from Liverpool to Manchester, with 25 loaded waggons, weighing in the gross, 133 tons 18 cwt. 2 qrs. Previous to this experiment, the Soho" had been running a fortnight with passengers on the Liverpool, and Manchester line, and during that time Mr. Woods informs us "no failure has taken place, and the trains have usually been brought in before their time."—Manchester Courier.


Alloy of Metals.--A curious and valuable discovery has just been made in the alloy of metals. A manufacturer of Paris has invented a composi tion much less oxidable than silver, and which will not melt at less than a heat treble that which silver will bear; the cost of it is less than 4d. an ounce. Another improvement is in steel; an Englishman at Brussels has discovered a mode of casting iron, so that it flows from the furnace pure steel, better than the best cast steel in England, and almost equal to that which has undergone the process of beating. The cost of this steel is only a farthing per pound greater than that of cast iron.

Simple Remedy to Purify Water-It is not generally known as it ought to be, that pounded alum possesses the property of purifying water a large table spoon full of pulverized alum, sprinkled into a hogshead of water, (the water stirred round at the time,) wili, after the lapse of a few hours, by precipitating to the bottom the impure particles, so purify it that it will be found to possess nearly all the freshness and clearness of the finest spring water. A pailfull containing four gallons, may be purified by a sngle tea spoonfull.-Doncaster Chronicle.

The receipts on the Charleston and Hamburg railroad, for the month of November, amount to $65,000, being nearly 50 per cent. more than was ever before taken in any one month. During the period alluded to 15,000 bales of cotton were brought to market, which is double the quantity received in any previous month, and it is stated that the business of the road is now carried on with less machinery than was before used.

CENTRAL (GA.) RAILROAD.-We present our readers with the 4th semiannual report of the Chief Engineer-L. O. Reynolds, Esq.,- of the Central railroad in Georgia; which shows that that work, at least, is progressing to an early completion.

From this report it appears that the same spirit of extortion prevails in Georgia, among the proprietors of land, as in many routes in other sections of the Union.

It is surprising, yet true, that many persons owning property on contemplated lines of improvements, are exceedingly desirous to have the work pass their doors, until it is permanently located, when they discover as if by magic, that it is a great nuisance.

We would call the attention of the readers of the Journal to an article on this subject in No. 7 of this volume, by W. R. Casey, Esq., Civil Engineer, which gives a graphic description of this system of extortion. Mr. Casey lays it down as a practice, at least, if not a principle, that damage is usually increased in proportion to the benefit to be derived by the individual, from the operations of the company-whereas, the reverse should be the


Savannah, November 1st, 1839.

To W. W. Gordon, Esq., President: SIR-The period has again arrived when it becomes my duty to present you with a report of the operations of this department, and the condition and progress of the work under its management

At the date of my last report, the grading was under contract to a point 133 miles from this city, and 114 miles of it finished. The contracts have since been extended to 136 miles, of which 128 are graded. The line has been definitely located and prepared for contract to the Oconee river, a distance of 1484 miles.

The portion of the grading from the summit near Sandersville to the Oconee river, has always been regarded by many of our stockholders, as a most difficult and expensive part of the road. I take pleasure in assuring them that the cost of the excavation and embankment of the most expensive mile in that distance, will very little exceed $12,000, and the average of the 14 miles now ready for contract will not much exceed $5000.

The superstructure is completed for a distance of 93 miles, and we hope to be able to run our engines to the 100 mile station early in the month of January.

By the condition of our late contracts for grading, the contractor is to receive in payment 75 per cent in the stock of the company at par value and the remaining 25 per cent. in cash-prices at the estimate of the engineer. Several applications for further contracts on these conditions have been received, and I am under the impression we shall be able to let as much of the work as is desirable the present season, at these rates.

Most of the work during the past summer, has been in the low grounds of Williamson's Swamp, and although the extreme dry weather has been very favorable for its execution, it has had the effect of rendering some portion of the line unhealthy. The work has consequently been somewhat retarded by sickness among the men. We shall, however soon reach a more elevated and healthy country, and I do not apprehend any difficulty. hereafter on this account.

The force at present on the line-consisting principally of blacks, with a large number of carts and horses, is equivalent to about 500 men.

The views expressed in my last report on the subject of the employment of slave labor, have been much strengthened by the experience of the last summer, for had the force employed consisted of whites instead of blacks, the sickness and mortality would doubtless have been great.

The few white laborers employed have suffered much in proportion to their numbers.

We have within the last six months experienced some difficulty, on the subject of the right of way; but it is to be hoped that time, in more fully developing the benefits of our enterprise, will dissipate the prejudices and convince the judgmeut of such persons as are honestly doubtful of its advantages, and for a remedy against those who are actuated alone by mercenary motives in their opposition, it is presumed that an appeal to the public through the proper tribunals, and in obedience to the laws of the land, asking for strict and impartial justice, will result in a righteous decision.

While on the subject of the right of way, it may be remarked, that in every case where a sale of real estate has taken place near the line, since the commencement of the work, the price has been much advanced, and in some cases to many times the amount that would have been demanded be. fore the road was projected. In some instances the amount paid to the proprietor of the land for pine timber for the construction of the road, has exceded the price that the entire tract would have sold for three years ago.

In the absence of more extensive experience as to the effect of the road on the value of lands in its vicinity, that of others similarly situated may with propriety be invoked to aid us in our conclusions.

The President of the South Carolina railroad company in his semi-annual report of July 10th, 1837, page 10, says" To give some idea of the advantages derived by those not immediately connected with the company, by the passage of the road through so great an extent of pine barren, a moderate estimate has been made of the additional value of these lands since the road was located, and it has been found that the advance within a mile of the road, and beyond the influence of the towns at each end, not including any thing within fifteen miles of either extremity, has been equal to the cost of the original construction of the whole road."

[ocr errors]

The constant supply of timber for repairs, and wood for consumption, gives employment to hundreds on the line-these, and those with their families engaged about the road, would increase the number to thousands who have their support from this institution."

In the location and construction of the road, the most positive injunctions have been given to all persons entrusted with the management of the operations, so to conduct them as to do the least possible injury to the interests or property of persons along the line.

It may be further remarked, that in the commence.nent of the company's operations, when it was determined to pursue the "southern route" through the counties of Bryan, Tattnall, Laurens,, &c., the almost universal complaint in the section of country through which the road now runs, was, that their interests had been entirely neglected, and the best route rejected—and vice versa since the southern route has been abandoned, the same dissatisfaction has prevailed throughout that region. It was therefore a fair infetence that the change would be at least, acceptable to the portion of country that is traversed by the road. To what extent our apparently just expectations are to be realized or disappointed, is not yet fvlly developed.

I have recently male an examination of the superstructure throughout the line, and am happy to be able to report that it is in excellent condition.

The advantages of a continuous bearing, by means of our broad stringpiece laid flatwise are daily more apparent. In colder climates, where it is necessary, and even unavoidable that the foundation should be laid so low as to be out of the reach of frost, such a bearing might not be admissible ;— but in our climate we have nothing to guard against on this score; it is therefore, evident that the nearer we lay our foundation to the surface of the grade, the more accessible it is for the purpose of repair, renewal or adjust


The objection commonly urged against our peculiar plan of superstructure, arises from an apprehension, that the ribbon which immediately supports the plate rail, will give way and be crushed by the weight of the engine. We have been running burthen and passenger trains over the road daily for more than eighteen months and for some time past, from two to three trains per day, and with the exception of the renewal of the ribbon for a few miles on the lower end of the road for the purpose of substituting a different kind of connecting plate, I am confident there has not been one tenth of a mile renewed for the whole distance of 80 miles. I have during the past summer travelled over a great number of railroads, and have paid particular attention to the subject of the cost of maintaining track, I have seen no one on which the plate rail is used that can be kept in repair at a smaller cost than ours. The sides of the embankments are becoming covered with vegetation, and will in a year or two be entirely protected from the effect of rains.

The allignment of the road for the distance located, comprises 61 curved, and 62 straight lines.

The curves are all arcs of circles and may be classed as follows:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The last mentioned curve of 150,000 feet radius, and about five miles in length is, so far as any effect of resistance is considered, fully equivalent to a straight line, at any velocity. We may therefore with propriety state the proportion of straight line at two thirds the whole distance.

The gradients may be classed as follows:

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »