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of only a single gauge were em instances the combination of gauges ployed. If a single rail were in- may not be allowed. serted eccentrically in a broad gauge Whatever may be the course way, so as to form, in conjunction which, at the present time, circumwith one of the broad gauge rails, stances will permit, it will appear a narrow gauge way, the expense from the opinion we have expressed, of the insertion, and the danger of that we think, abstractedly, equal. the crossings, as well as the dif- ization desirable ; and we shall, ficulty of packing the rails, would therefore, proceed to consider what be somewhat diminished, but it gauge would be the best in such would be imprudent to run carriages a system of equalization. of the different gauges in the same
We shall examine this part of train ; and as it would probably be the question under the following the policy of the railway company heads :to adopt for their own stock of en
1. Safety gines only one of the two gauges,
2. Accommodation and conveand to interpose those difficulties nience for passengers and goods. which amount to a prohibition of 3. Speed. the use of other companies' engines,
4. Economy. the inconveniences of a break of 1. We will commence with the gauge would exist in almost all question of safety. their force at every junction of a
We are of opinion that expebranch railway on a different rience will, in this matter, afford a gauge.
better test by which to compare We consider, therefore, that the the systems of the broad and the general adoption of such a system narrow gauge than any theory ; ought not to be permitted. and we, therefore, have made in
We remark, however, that the quiry into the nature of the accidifficulties to which we have al- dents recorded in the official reluded
may be greatly diminished ports of the Board of Trade, as on any railway where the system well as of such as have happened of combined gauges is cordially since the last report was pubtaken up by the company ; and lished. we think that great respect ought We find that railway accidents to be paid to the rights which the arise from collisions, obstructions companies may be supposed to on the road, points wrongly placed, possess in the methods or systems slips in cuttings, subsidence of emwhich they have devised or adopted. bankments, a defective state of the At the same time, we lay it down permanent way, loss of gauge, as the first principle, that inter- broken or loose chairs, fractures of communication of railways through- wheels or axles, &c.; and, lastly, out the country ought, if possible, from engines running off the line to be secured. If, to obtain the from some other cause. last-mentioned object, it should be Of these several classes of accinecessary to alter or make a change dents, all except the last are obviin any existing railways, we think ously independent of the gauge ; that it may be left as a matter of and with reference to this last ulterior consideration for the Legis- class, we have thought it right to lature, whether in these limited endeavour to determine whether
the advocates of either gauge could rocking and lateral oscillatory mofairly claim, in regard to these ac- tion, with more or less of violence cidents, a preference for their re- according to the rate of speed; and spective systems, on the score of a very similar effect is produced in greater security to the traveller. passing at high speeds from one In these lists we find only six acci- curve to another of different curvadents of the kind we are considering ture. A succession of strains is recorded from October 1840 to May thus thrown upon the rails, and if, 1845 ; whereas there have been before the rocking subsides, the no less than seven within the last wheel meets with a defective rail seven months, and these are all or chair, which yields to the imattributable to excessive speed, the pulse, the engine and train are majority having happened to ex thrown off as a necessary consepress trains. Of the whole number quence; but, as far as we can see, of these accidents, three have oc- such casualties are equally likely curred on the broad gauge, and to happen on either gauge, other ten on the narrow; the former, circumstances being similar. however, differ in their character It has indeed been stated, by from the latter, the carriages only, some of the witnesses whom we have in the last two cases, having been examined, that the broad gauge is off the line, whereas, in all the ten more liable to such accidents, from narrow gauge cases, the engines the circumstance that the length have run off, and the consequences of the engine, or rather the dishave been more fatal. We must tance between the fore and hind here observe, however, that the axle, is less in proportion to its extent of the narrow gauge lines is breadth than in the narrow gauge 1,901 miles, and that of the broad engines, and that therefore the only 274 ; therefore, the compari- broad gauge engine is liable to be son would be unfavourable to the thrown more obliquely across the broad gauge if considered merely lines, and, in case of meeting with with regard to their relative length; an open or defective joint, more but it must be borne in mind, that liable to quit the rail ; but we the general speed of the Great cannot admit the validity of this Western considerably exceeds that objection against the broad gauge of many of the narrow gauge lines, lines. It
be that the proporand that some consideration is on tion between the length and breadth that account due to the broad of the engine has some influence gauge.
on its motion, and that the motion The primary causes of engines is somewhat less steady where the getting off the rails appear to be difference between the length and over-driving, a defective road, a breadth is considerably diminished ; bad joint, or a badly balanced en but practical facts scarcely lead to gine. If, in consequence of heavy the conclusion that the safety of rains or other unfavourable circum- the trains is endangered by the stances, any part of the road be- present proportion of the broad comes unsound, the engine sinks gauge engines ; for it appears
that on one side as it passes along such on the London and Birmingham part of the rail, suddenly rises Railway, where the engines hitherto again, and is thus thrown into a employed have been, generally,
short four-wheeled engines, the the most careful consideration of distance from axle to axle not ex this part of the subject, we feel ceeding 7 feet, or 7 feet 6 inches, bound to report that, as regards the no such accident as we are consi- safety of the passenger, no preferdering has been reported ; and we ence is due, with well-proportioned are informed by Mr. Bruyeres, the engines, to either gauge, except, superintendent of that line, that no perhaps, at very high velocities, such accident has ever occurred. The where, we think, a preference same remark applies to some other would be due to the broad gauge. narrow gauge lines ; and if, as has On this part of the subject, we been stated, exemption from these would beg to point to the nature accidents has resulted from the of the evidence of Mr. Nicholas close fixing of the engine and Wood. tender adopted on this line, the 2. We have now to advert to same system might be adopted on the question of the relative accomany other line, whether on the broad modation and convenience for pasor narrow gauge. An evil may
and goods. sometimes arise in six-wheeled en The first-class carriages of the gines, by the centre of gravity of broad gauge are intended to carry the engine being brought too much eight passengers in each compartover the driving wheels, and the ment, and the compartments are springs being so adjusted for the sometimes subdivided by a partisake of the adhesion of the wheels tion and inside door. On the narto the rails, that the front wheels row gauge lines the first-class carwould have little or no weight riages are usually constructed to to support, and would be thus carry only six passengers in each in a condition, by any irregu- compartment; and we find that larity in the road or other obstruc- about the same width is allowed tion, to be more easily lifted off for each passenger on both gauges. the rails. But here, again, if this Some of the original mail carriages fault in the construction or adjust- were adapted for four passengers, ment has been anywhere com and we believe that the public had mitted, it is a fault or defect wholly a preference for these carriages unconnected with the breadth of over both the other descriptions. gauge.
Until lately the broad gauge Another cause of unsteady or carriages were altogether more irregular motion, dangerous to the commodious than those of the safety of the train, has been stated narrow gauge, but recently carto be the great overhanging weight riages have been introduced on beyond the axles of some engines several of the narrow gauge lines of recent construction, and of the nearly as lofty as those on the weight of the outside cylinder be- broad gauge, and equally commoyond the axle bearings. So far as dious ; in short, we now see no this construction is concerned, it essential difference as regards accertainly appertains to
commodation and convenience to gauge lines only; but at the same individual passengers in the firsttime we must remark that it is class carriages of the two gauges. not essential to their working.
In the second-class carriages on Upon the whole, therefore, after the broad gauge, six persons sit
side by side, each carriage being and from their information, and capable of holding seventy-two pas our own observation, it does not sengers. On the narrow gauge, appear to be of consequence to the generally, only four persons sit parties sending or receiving goods side by side, the total number in whether they are transmitted in each carriage being thirty-two ; in waggons containing five or six tons, this respect we are inclined to con or in waggons of larger capacity, sider the latter are more comfort- provided that the cost and security ably accommodated.
are the same, and that the carriers With reference to the ease of undertake the responsibility of any the carriage, and the smoothness damage that may result from the of the motion, we have had very size of the load. But Messrs. Horne contradictory evidence ; and it must and Chaplin, and Mr. Hayward, be admitted that great difference is who are largely interested, and experienced on the same line at have had great experience in the different times, depending upon the carrying trade, have expressed a state of the road, the springs of the strong opinion that the smaller carriage, the number of persons in waggon is far the more convenient a carriage to bring the springs into and economical. The same opiaction, the position of the carriage nion is still more strongly expressed in the train, and the speed at which by those witnesses we have exathe train is propelled, -all of which mined who have experience of our conditions are independent of the mineral districts. These persons breadth of the gauge.
We have, state that the smaller waggon can however, with a view of making be more easily handled, and can be our observations on this question, taken along sharper curves than travelled several times over all would be suited to a broader wagthose lines having their stations in gon; that such sharp curves are London ; and after making, to the very common in mineral works and best of our judgment, every allow- districts, and that the broken naance for the circumstances above ture of the ground would render mentioned, we are of opinion, that curves of greater radius inconveat the higher velocities the motion nient and expensive. is usually smoother on the broad Another important difference begauge.
tween the two gauges, in this com, It is now to be considered whe- mercial view of the question, would ther either gauge has a superiority present itself in localities in which over the other in regard to the there may be a difficulty of readily conveyance of general merchan- obtaining full loads for the wagdize.
gons at road stations. Here the Under this head we class manu defect of the dead weight, which factured goods and their raw ma we find to apply more particularly terials, mineral products, such as to the broad gauge, would be coal, lime, iron, and other ores ; greatly increased, unless another agricultural produce, such as corn, evil of still greater commercial imhops, wool, cattle and timber.
portance were created, that of deOn these points we have taken taining the waggons to receive full the evidence of persons well ac- loads. On the whole, therefore, quainted with the carrying trade, we consider the narrow gauge as
the more convenient for the mer inclines, particularly favourable to chandize of the country.
the attainment of high velocities ; 3. We now come to the im and it is important to remark, that portant consideration of relative the inclinations and curves on that speed.
part of the Northern and Eastern With a view to form our judg- Railway, where the competition in ment on this subject, we have speed with the Great Western was examined the time-tables of the the most successful, are generally several companies having express
of a similar character. and fast trains, and the returns One of the principal motives furnished by those companies of professed for constructing the the actual speeds attained by the Great Western Railway on the express trains, on thirty successive broad gauge was the attaining of days, from the 15th of June to the high speeds, and the credit of the 15th of July, 1845.
proposers and defenders of that We have also, on various oc construction has therefore been casions, travelled in the express deeply engaged in maintaining trains, and noted the speed, mile them. by mile.
The effect of gradients on the The result has been, that we speed of the Great Western trains, are fully satisfied that the aver even with the powerful engines age speed on the Great Western, used on that line, is shown in both by the express trains and by the time table, page 24, where the ordinary trains, exceeds the we find that, while the speed from highest speed of similar trains on Paddington to Didcot by the exany of the narrow gauge lines. press train is 47] miles per hour, But some of the latter have trains from Didcot to Swindon it is only which exceed in speed the corre 41.1, and from Swindon to Glousponding trains of the Bristol and cester only 31.7; from Swindon to Gloucester line, and also of the Bath it is 48.2, but returning, only Swindon and Gloucester line, both 37.2; from Bristol to Taunton the of which are on the broad gauge; speed is 46.3, and from Taunton to but these latter, it is to be remem Exeter only 39.2. bered, are still of recent construc We must observe, however, tion, with unfavourable curves and that while the Great Western gradients; and we have been in company have not altered in any formed by Mr. R. Stephenson, in degree the plan of their engines, his evidence, that at one period the the higher velocities of the narrow speed on the Northern and Eastern
gauge lines have been attained by line even exceeded that of the the introduction of a more powerful Great Western.
kind of engine than was employed In treating of a difference in at an earlier period, and probably the speed, other circumstances the new engines now used on the besides the mere gauge must be narrow gauge lines are as powerful considered. The inclinations and as they can well be made within curves of the Great Western Rail the limits of their gauge; whereas way, between London and Bristol, the broad gauge lines have still a and even for forty miles beyond means of obtaining an increase in Bristol, are, with the exception of the power of their engines, and the Wootton-Basset and the Box of increasing their speed, provided