1902 Encyclopedia > Railway, Railways (Railroad) > Railway Carriages and Waggons: Varieties of Railway Vehicle

Railway, Railways
(Part 34)


Railway Carriages and Waggons: Varieties of Railway Vehicle

The common varieties of vehicle employed in railway traffic are as follows:—(1) Passenger-train stock: first-class carriage, second-class carriage, third-class carriage, composite carriage, luggage brake-van, horse-box, carriage-truck. To these may be added the mail-carriage or travelling post-office. (2) Goods-train stock: platform-waggon, open or box waggon, high-sided round-end waggon, covered goods-waggon, cattle-waggon, sheep-waggon, coal-waggon, coke-waggon, brake-van. Besides these there are other waggons specially designed for special traffic, as gunpowder, salt, and lime, also ballast-waggons, for the private use of the engineer’s department. Carriages are usually made of the same external length, width, and height. The under works of the stock may thus be identical in construction, and an economical uniformity of working and wearing parts is secured. Uniformity of waggons is still more important than in the case carriages, as their total number and cost are much greater, and the supervision with which they are favoured is less minute; besides, the cost of maintenance is less than where many varieties of waggon exist on the same line. But, whatever may be the upper works, the under works of the whole of the waggon stock should be entirely uniform. One of the greatest evils of railway engineering has been want of uniformity in stock, partly due to different companies not arranging to have stock suitable for joint use on each other’s lines and partly to inevitable changes of plan to meet the growing wants of traffic. Another source of mischief was the separation of the duties of engine and of carriage and waggon superintendence. The carriage superintendent, aiming at the utmost economy of maintenance in his department, continually added to the quantity and weight of material employed in the construction of the carrying stock, as the remedy for the observed failure of weak parts; and thus the stock, particularly waggons, was increased in strength rather by adding to the mass of matter than by studying to throw the same weight of timber and iron into superior combination. Meantime the heavy trains, handed over to the locomotive department, led to the construction of heavier and more powerful locomotives when the maximum was quickly reached, and strongly evinced by the damage done to the permanent way. It was found, moreover, that the older carriages suffered most in cases of collision; hence there was an additional inducement to add to the size and weight of carriages. But this line of development has been mainly determined by the demands of the public for greater convenience, speed, and safety, and from the growth of traffic, involving greater length and weight of trains.

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