1902 Encyclopedia > Railway, Railways (Railroad) > Goods Trucks

Railway, Railways
(Part 37)


Goods Trucks

The form of goods truck generally used for some years after the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829 was simply a platform about 10 feet long, on four wheels, with sides varying from 4 to 10 inches in height, weighing from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 tons. Many such waggons were employed for transporting heavy rough goods of 2 tons weight. The general unfitness of this style of waggon led to the adoption of portable sides and ends, which consisted of open crib-rails dropped into staples; and to these was added the costly tarpauling or sheet to cover the goods and bind them down. The waggon thus appointed 13 or 14 feet in length and weighing about 3 1/2 tons, was fit to carry 4 or 5 tons of ordinary goods. But loose or removable parts of waggons are liable to be lost or get out of order, and are costly to maintain, while a new tarpauling may be spoiled on the first day of using it by injury from projecting angles of goods under cover. Crib-rails and tarpaulings, therefore, have been to some extent superseded by built covered waggons from 14 to 16 feet long and 7 1/2 feet wide, with sliding or hinged doors and roofs, so that with the crane-chairs a bale of goods, however heavy, can be deposited at or moved from any part of the interior of the waggon, and the goods may be perfectly enclosed and protected from damage by fire, wind, or rain. Covered waggons weigh from 4 to 6 1/2 tons, and they carry, according to their dimensions, from 6 to 8 tons of goods. The cost of maintenance of ordinary open waggons is said to amount from 7 to 10 per cent of the first cost, whilst that of covered waggons is said to be only 4 per cent. It may be stated generally that waggons if properly made will carry 60 per cent. more than their own weight of goods, but that ill-designed badly-made waggons will carry no more than their own weight of goods. The great demand for weight in waggons arose, as much as from anything else, from the absence of spring-buffers at the ends, which exposed them daily to rude and trying collisions. By and by buffing-springs were introduced at one end of the waggon, the other being left "dead," and at length, cheap and convenient buffers having been devised, springs came to be placed at both ends of new stock. Waggons, as formerly made, were in long trains likewise subjected to violent shocks in starting into motion, and therefore the draw-bars also were placed upon springs. Some companies have gone further and placed the guard or side chains upon springs. Thus the waggon has come to be defended by springs at all points, and there is no doubt that the extra cost so incurred has been amply covered by savings on repairs and diminished breakages of goods. Spiral springs for buffing and drawing, made of round or of oval steel, fixed externally to the ends of waggons, have been much employed; but laminated springs, placed under the floor, are taking their place. Broad-gauge (7-feet gauge) waggons have been constructed sufficiently strong to carry 20 tons of load on six wheels; but they were not generally made to carry more than 10 tons. Even 10 tons is considered in some quarters to be excessive as a maximum waggon-load on the ordinary or 4 feet 8 1/2 inch gauge. On the Midland Railway, for instance, the standard coal-waggon is constructed to carry 8 tons. The heavier the load for which mineral vehicles are constructed, the greater is the tear and wear of the stock, insomuch that the waggons on that line which stood to their work best were the old 6-ton waggons.

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