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The electric telegraph (at first regarded and north of England.* No account was by the public as merely a toy, and in to be taken of the future requirements of spected as a curiosity at a charge of one transit, and a dimension arrived at by hapshilling and schools half price) came grad. hazard was allowed to control the railway ually into practical use, a system of signal. destinies of the country ! ling grew up, and revolving discs, of Safety, speed, and comfort were taken picturesque shape, when lofty and pierced but little account of.t Economy still through, gradually gave way to semaphores less! For every two wide gauge traios
the signal cabin and its accompanying three narrow had to be run; for the wages ink-pot and register came into being; of every six men the wages of pine had to points were operated from the cabins in. be substituted for all time; and extra fuel stead of in situ, and afterwards were and oil to be consumed, besides wear and interlocked; trains were advised by tele tear of rails and signals more frequently graph, open carriages gave way to closed in use, and the difficulty of "crossing ones, luggage was put into vans instead more trains on single lines. Against the of being stowed upon the roof; slip- greater carrying power of the superior coaches, saloon, dining, and sleeping car- gauge merely has to be set the width of riages, and American cars came into the line four feet additional or less than fashion, and were mounted upon easy half an acre on each mile run. “ bogie” trucks; and vacuum pressed air-brakes supplanted the less, sat next to George Stephenson.
At a large public dinner (says Babbage] I
I felt powerful hand-brakes. The “block
that the fairest opportunity I could desire of system (protection by distance instead of ascertaining my friend's real opinion of the by time, which was only theoretical) was gauge had now arrived. “Now, Mr. Stephenadopted. One-sided stations were gradu. son,” I said, “will you allow me to ask you ally weeded out, and with the advent of to suppose for an instant that no railways relief lines fast traffic separated from slow. whatever existed, and yet that you were in On some lines even water is caught up in possession of that large amount of knowledge the tenders of the engines without any Under such circumstances, if you were con
which you have derived froin your experience. stoppage taking place. The iron railings sulted respecting the gauge of a system of and Continental restrictions in regard to railways about to be inaugurated, would you platforms were abolished, unless perhaps advise the gauge of 4 feet 8% inches?” at Newcastle-on-Tyne or at a few anti-“Not exactly that gauge,” said the creator of quated South Eastern stations, or London railroads; "I would take a few inches more, stations of the smaller companies, and but a very few." I was quite satisfied with through bookings and through carriages this admission (from the champion of the jostituted, and competing routes brought narrow-gauge), though I confess it reminded into play.
me of the frail one who, when reproached by This country has reaped to the full the her inmaculate friend with having had a child,
an ecclesiastical license not being first obbenefit of private enterprise, and the tained – urged, as an extenuating circumtraveller can the more appreciate these stance, that it was such a very small one. benefits when he compares them with the discomfort * and stagnation of State gov- broad gauge system was doomed in the
For reasons of policy, however, the erned railways abroad.
hour of its success.f It got as far north II.
as Birmingham in 1852, and trains by a The burden which the obstipacy of longer route of one hundred and twentyStephenson has imposed for all time upon time as those by the direct route (one
nine miles actually arrived in the same this and other countries has already begun to be severely felt with the everincreasing demands of developing traffic.t differed with Stephenson (and that in common with
• I also acknowledge having on many occasions The costly extravagance of the engineer almost all other engineers), because it appeared to me of the Kilsby mistake had, however, its he did not look on the concern with a liberal and ex
panded view, but with a microscopic eye, magnifying apparent triumph for a time, and narrow details, and pursuing a petty system of parsimony very gauge lines were adopted in the centre proper in a private colliery, or in a small
undertaking, but wholly inapplicable to this national work. (Vignoles.
Life, p. 117.) • Amongst other inconveniences on the Continent a Among striking examples of lives saved on the prominent place may be given to the over-heated car- broad gauge, refer to the reports on the Langley (1845), riages, so injurious to health, and one heard with much Bullo (1868), West Drayton (1874), or Bourton (1876) regret of some experiments with steam-warmed car accidents. Had these occurred on the narrow gauge, riages last winter on the Midland.
it is terrible to contemplate the loss of life or injury † An instance of this may be noticed daily in London which must have taken place. in the over-crowded carriages on the Metropolitan No less than fifteen hundred miles of broad gauge Railway altered from broad to narrow gauge.
line were laid before a change of policy took place.
hundred and thirteen miles) on the narrow | May 21, and Sunday, May 22. The usual gauge.
service of trains would run (broad gauge) This northern extension was the first to on Friday, and the same (narrow gauge) be discontinued on account of an amalga on Monday: mation with a great number of narrow That it should be possible to effect so gauge lines which shortly afterwards took great a change in such a limited space of place in the Midlands. The South Wales time was alone due to the perfectoess of line, to avoid transhipment of coal, etc., the organization, and the pains bestowed was next converted in 1872,* and a year upon every detail beforehand. Every bolt or two later, 1874, the Weymouth section and screw throughout the system was and lines in the south of England.
taken off beforehand, oiled, and tempora. The luxury of such travelling combined rily replaced ; the transoms were measured as it was with an ideal road laid on massive and the place marked where they were to longitudinal baulks of timber † [instead of be sawn through; the ballast was dug out, the vibratory cross-sleepers commonly and in special places a third rail put in at employed, to the fatigue and detriment of crossings, points, tundels, and gradients. health of persons sensitive to the jarring Time-tables were prepared for the with. action they give rise to, in more or less drawal of the old rolling-stock, and large degree, according to style in which the reserves of engines, carriages, and trucks road is maintained and the weight and of the new pattern parked at Swindon. quantity of material put in] was not will- On Thursday, May 19th, several thouingly surrendered by those resident in sand men began to arrive from different the big cities and towns of the west of parts of the system in special trains to reEngland, and it was not until the present inforce the ordinary local staff, and brought summer that any change was made with a with them teots, straw, food, and tools. view to render uniform the gauge through. On Friday the new men took a preliminary out England, Wales, and Scotland. I survey of the work to be done, and altered
Preparations, however, had been on some of the sidings in the goods yards, foot for many years; carriages, and even and began, later in the day, to cut through engines, were built of narrow gauge pat- some of the transoms. tern and mounted temporarily on broad Their white tents, supplied from Lon. gauge wheels.
don, were pitched at intervals by the railside and stood out conspicuously, some.
times against the blue sea and red cliffs As some mention has been made re- near Dawlish, sometimes against the fresh cently in the papers of an intention on the May green of the Devonshire woodlands. part of the London and South Western Friday was the final day of the full size Railway to close the most important part gauge, and crowds of people assembled at of their line approaching London for three various points along the line to witness days to alter the points in a distance of the passing of the last broad gauge train, some two miles, one was curious to know and the express to Plymouth was said to how long the Great Western would be in have been photographed upwards of a altering the gauge of over two hundred hundred times during its journey. miles of line in the west of England, as The very engines appeared self-conaccording to the same calculation, even if scious of the impending change, and the the work was merely confined to points, Lightoing, or Amazon proudly swept past the time required would have been over in irresistible might without a tremor in three hundred days.
the nearly silent majesty of a power which Notice, however, appeared that the con- seemed almost exerted' without effort, so version would be effected on Saturday, great was the energy and momentum of
their giant force. • On which occasion the traffic was carried on for The countenances of their drivers were nearly a fortnight on a single line of rails, while the serious, and at stopping-stations farewell other was being altered.
+ "I am more and more convinced,” says Vignoles salutations were regretfully exchanged. in one of his reports, " that the true principle of form- At some of the larger stations veteran eming the upper works of a railway is by placing the rails ployés, some, no doubt, from their grey
." 1 A few purely local lines do not enter into considera- hair and venerable appearance, on half-pay, tion, such as for instance the Festiniog Slate Railway. came to gaze for the last time on the co
$ The gauge commissioners appointed by Parliament in 1845 in their report said: "We feel it a duty to oblossal proportions of a past era, with the serve here that the public are mainly indebted for the vicissitudes and successes of which they present rate of speed and the increased accommodation had themselves been identified. of the railway carriages to the genius of Mr. Brunel and the liberality of the Great Western Company. Nor were the public at large less inter
ested, and every point of vantage along / were issued from Swindon that not a vehi. the line was occupied on the morrow by cle was to be left behind, and in consespectators. At Ashburton, when the last quence a continual stream of trains poured train left, the locomotive was enveloped in through all night on their eastward jourcrape by the Portreevine of that ancient ney. Every branch gave up its stock, and town. At other places fog signals were by its varied character gave some index discharged by the passage of the train. to the daily life and occupations of its
inhabitants. There will be many mourners (said the Fish trucks from St. Ives or cattle Times] in all parts of the world at the death trucks from the moorland branches were of the famous broad gauge express engines, sandwiched between long series of ghostly the width of whose boilers and fireboxes makes them impossible on a narrow gauge casionally through the summer night; a
empty trains of passenger vehicles. Oćroad. Full of years and honors they pass to their well-earned rest, for their ages ranging train of sick engines from the locomotive from thirty-five to forty-six years, have already depots at Newton Abbot or Plymouth, far surpassed the allotted span of locomotive some of which had not been exposed to life, and the elder brother of the family, the daylight for many years, ran through. Great Britain can claim the proud distinc- Ancient patterns of vehicles were brought tion of being the father of every great express to light in which the history of many past now running in the world, from the Orient transitions were as legibly written as the Express to the Washington Limited. In 1845 when other companies were quite content with information perhaps conveyed to a geolospeeds of thirty or at best thirty-five miles an
gist by the discovery of a particular type hour, the express to Bristol took two hours of fossil. Torquay and Plymouth, on the and forty minutes. In 1892 the best narrow other hand, yielded specimens of the most gauge express to Birmingham, which is five modern types. So punctually were all miles nearer London, takes but five minutes orders carried out, that in a few hours less. To Exeter the time was four hours and only the entire rolling-stock of a large a half, and the best express to-day to Liver- railway was “called in,” without any hitch pool, practically the same distance, is four or delay, though part of the line being hours and twenty minutes. And it is not speed only for which we have to thank the single gauge, way had to be made occa. The huge Great Western car
sionally for westward trains also. riages, as they were then considered, mounted
The last of the leviathans was due to on six wheels, * and in which — such was the reach Exeter at 4 A.M. on Saturday, but it tale the wondering, travellers told-a man
was nearly an hour afterwards when it could actually stand upright, were the lineal arrived in charge of one of the superior ancestors of the luxurious dining and sleeping officials of the company. As it stopped saloon cars of today, and it was the Great at each place on its journey a printed Western also which first admitted second notice was left with the station-master. class passengers to its crack trains.
“This is the last broad gauge train to The broad gauge died game. The last travel over the line between Pensance and night express to Plymouth went forward Exeter," and the station-master in turn though it did not arrive until after mid- then filled in a printed certificate handing night on Saturday morning, and a few over his portion of the line to the repreminutes only after its arrival the peremp
sentative of the engineering department tory order was given to clear the road of from Swindon. Thus by night were the all wide gauge stock, and it had forth with death-warrants of Brunel's masterpiece to recommence its journey back to Swin. signed. don.
As the first streaks of daylight apThe evacuation of the line and mobil-peared on Saturday the men assembled all ization of the rolling-stock in the night of along the line from Exeter 10 Truro, and Friday-Saturday, partook of the character on the branch lines also, and commenced of a military movement. Positive orders
work on the down line. The previous
evening they had sawn through the tranAll the other early railways, servilely following the soms on the up line, and the last thirty pattern of horse vehicles, adopted the uncomfortable trains ran through in perfect safety and four-wheeled coaches still unfortunately to be met with, without undue oscillation on the massive and which, besides their unsteadiness, are veritable death-traps in event of any axle giving way - especially longitudinals of the Brunel framework, a leading one. The Bristol and Exeter carriages were without cross timbers, without iron ties, exceptionally well constructed with double roofs to keep off the heat in summer, and with double windows and without the surrounding ballast. to admit air but reject draught or dust. The second Commencing soon after three o'clock, one window was composed of very fine wire gauze, through which the air was filtered by the rapid motion of the portion of the line was levered into its
new position by breakfast time, and by
midday no trace of broad gauge was left. | through to come on active duty on Monday The new track, puny and insignificant by morning. Indeed, so excellent were the contrast, had taken its place.
arrangements made that all the usual trains At one o'clock on Saturday the distant ran on time on that day as if nothing had smoke of a locomotive was seen in the happened, and Mr. Foxwell — not easily distance, and shortly afterwards the first satisfied in the matter of expresses narrow gauge engine on the main line of able to record in a London newspaper that the South Devon Railway made its ap- one of the principal up-trains was even pearance, creeping along cautiously on the checked for being before time.* new road not yet fully consolidated. In New rolling-stock of a very comfortable less than ten hours from the start it was pattern was brought into use, and Midland possible to run vehicles of the new pat. and North Western carriages appeared at tern over the line, a striking testimony to Torquay for the first time on Monday. the strength and diligence of the plate- An extra service of narrow gauge trains layers.
was called into requisition on Tuesday to The weather, also, was all that could be convey home the additional force of platedesired, excellent light, fine weather, with.layers and gangers who had arrived the out excess of heat, and with a refreshing previous week in broad gauge trains. breeze, permitting every exertion to be out of the whole number fortunately only made. Much, however, had still to be three casualties were recorded. done. The cant of the curves had to be Accustomed to judge our army by the readjusted in consequence of the altera. appearance of the noisy and disorderly tion, the screwing up of the ties to be striplings left behind at home, instead of completed, points reconnected, ballast put the full-grown and well-set-up men on ser. back, and defective parts of the new line vice abroad, the accumulation in one repacked, so that some work still remained locality of so large a body of disciplined to be completed on Sunday.
men in a few hours was a significant plea The broad gauge stock which reached for long service. Swindon on Saturday occupied many miles The fatiguing work performed with so of sidings, temporarily laid down in readi- much will and alacrity by these vigorous ness for the occasion. These were filled fellows, laboring for nearly seventeen by a serried mass of passenger carriages, hours at a stretch, showed what reserve goods wagons, and in another part, silent material exists in the country in event of and deserted engines, from the big any contingency, and it is greatly to their Dragon to the little four-wheeled Owl. credit that not a single man was met with Passenger carriages, built as narrow gauge noisy, quarrelsome, or drunk. ones, were listed in a few hours from their These men, whose average of age apbroad gauge bogie trucks and lowered peared about thirty, were drafted from upon new ones of smaller width, and these different parts of England and Wales were running again at the beginning of served by the Great Western, and some of the week. A good many of the hermaph. rodite engines — built to serve for either • Mr. Foxwell's letter to the Pall Mall Gazette was gauge were also converted in a few couched in the following words: “It has been said that
sudden conversions are never to be relied upon. days and equally promptly restored to ac- one wouid assent to this proposition after travelling in tive service.
the up Cornishman to-day. This train is timed to leave On Saturday and Sunday special ar- Considering the extraordinary character of the line from
Penzance at 11.10, and to reach Paddington at 7.50. rangements were in force for the carriage Penzance to Exeter (132 miles), this represents a suffiof the mails, and the night mail – between ciently hard task. To-day, therefore, being the first Exeter and Plymouth
on which the Cornish express was to run narrow gauge,
ran over the Lon- over a track which had just been changed from broad don and South Western metals. West of gauge in the twinkling of an eye, no one (except the Plymouth mails were conveyed by steam at any rate along the section from Truro to Plymouth,
drivers) thought it possible for the train to keep time, Some narrow gauge rolling-stock was which is composed (or discomposed) of incessant curves also brought to Plymouth by the Oke. and thirty-three trestle viaducts.
“ However, it was on this section that we did best, hampton route for service on Monday.* for at each stopping station we had to wait till our time Shortly after midnight on Sunday, thanks was up, and then we ran into North Road too soon. to the engineering feat which had been so road so recently relaid. Finally, after being snubbed
Not once were we checked by any weak spot in the successfully performed, the re-occupation all the way up for being too forward, we shut off steam of the line took place, train after train of two and a half miles outside Paddington, and stopped empty vehicles in swift succession passing our time.
at the platform at 7.46 – that is, four minutes before
“In spite of all temptations to belong to other na• A small quantity of narrow gauge stock had also tions, I am content to be an Englishman just now. been conveyed westward in "crocodile," trucks - ones
"Yours truly, with very low bodies.
" May 23.
them had never seen the sea before; one quent alterbating gradients. Hence the man, indeed, was overheard to express fast trains constantly pant up one side of some indistinct ideas about the time of a hill and then rush down the other, with the tides being controlled from the gen- an amount of oscillation very trying to eral manager's office at Paddington, and nervous people). was told instead that the times were fixed It is more ihan ever imperative now by the Admiralty !
that the fast trains on the western line Further alterations are on foot in South should cease stopping at Swindon,* and a Devon which will permit shortly of im- further convenience might be afforded by provements being made in the service of the starting of the night mail trains an trains. The line was originally laid out hour later from London, Penzance, and for the atmospheric system, by which a Milford. Indeed, a great portion of this temporary success and very high speed of time could be recovered upon the journey travelling was attained on a single line, without much effort or danger of irregu. and the campanile towers at some of the larity. stations still remain conspicuous land- The extra “third rail" between Exeter marks and relics of a most ingenious and London, already alas, rusty, remains a scheme which broke down with the un. few months longer the only evidence of timely death of its chief organizer Samuda the magnificent travelling of the past, but before the perfecting of its operations.* the great works of Brunel at Maiden. The gradients beyond Newton are conse- head, Hanwell, Box, Chepstow, Saltash, quently not originally designed for loco- etc., remain as an imperishable monument motive traffic, and in Cornwall – from to his genius. Another great work has other causes, the configuration of the also since been added in the link of comground and lowness of the bankers' bal. munications, that of Hawkshaw and ance during the period of construction Walker, the Severn Tunnel. R. B. there are also steep banks to be met with, as well as the picturesque bridges step- • Legal difficulties might be overcome by the G. W. ping boldly across ravine and valley (once don Station. They could afford to outbid any com
becoming in turn tenants of their own tenant at Swina tracery of woodwork spars and now petitor, as the local proñt upon refreshments could not being gradually replaced by more solid be an object in comparison with the greater one at and less artistic granite).
Progress is being made at several points, though much slower than it should be, with the doubling of the line on the east of Plymouth, and no doubt before long
From The Argosy. a heavier class of narrow gauge
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON. tain engine "than the ones temporarily in EVERY one had always agreed in sayuse will be adopted. The catlike agility ing that Major Wodehouse was an excel. of the Hunchbacks, as the short-wheel. lent father. From the day of his young based broad gauge locomotives in use wife's death he had devoted himself to his west of Newton have sometimes been son. He had been a young man himself called, on the steeper gradients with a then, but he had not thought it beneath heavy load has to be matched by equally his dignity to go into all the minutiæ conpowerful narrow gauge engines of similar cerning the child's food and clothes; and weight.
the smart officer playing at horses with his As the London and South Western are baby boy, and a little later instructing bim now entering. Cornwall from Launceston, in the art of cricket, was considered quite and approaching Bodmin and Truro, with a pretty sight at Aldershot. running powers even to Peozance, this And the major had met with no disappoint is worthy of consideration, inasmuch pointing rebuffs at the hands of his ott as that company has of late years recon- spring. Jack Wodehouse loved his father structed its locomotive stock upon very heartily, and from the time when he tod. powerful lines. (The great difficulty which dled by dadda's side in a white frock and the L. S. W. R. has to contend with is in a scarlet sash, through the schoolboy the original building of the line, which stage when he had confided all his escaresembles the teeth of a saw in its fre-pades and troubles to the governor, to the
• It is, however, open to much doubt whether the days of his full manhood, his father was action of the weather and of constant wear and strain his best and dearest friend. Jack, indeed, on the apparatus could be counteracted. In the South had refused to go into the army because Devon line the last was exceptionally great, as there he would not leave his father; for by the was then no telegraph to give notice of the approach time the lad's profession began to be a of trains, and a constant vacuum had to be kept up.