The carriage of which the following is a correct drawing was built as a pattern carriage for the Boston and Providence U. S. railway in 1836: it is made upon the same principle as those of the London and Greenwich railway company, viz. - It will be perceived upon reference to the engraving, that it consists of five distinct compartments or coaches, the floor of three immediately upon the top of the frame, and twelve inches only from the surface of the rail, so that passengers step in and out with as much facility as from a sedan chair. The middle compartment has double seats, like a mail coach, and the two end bodies single seats like a chariot; the two bodies over the wheels have also single seats, and may be either close bodied or open with a leather curtain as drawn: passengers get in or alight by steps similar to those of a barouche; the spaces over the low bodies may be employed for luggage, forming a commodious safe depot for that purpose. If it should be desirable to form the mail coaches upon this principle, the space over the wheels may be formed into the holds, or receptacles for the mail bags; thus placing the heaviest load over the wheels; also, if desirable, the roof may be adapted for outside passengers.
Mr. Curtis observes that "it is evident from the construction of this coach that it is absolutely safe, by no possible chance can it ever upset; it does not cost more than the railway carriages usually adopted, and by placing joggles upon the cross pieces of the frame, descending so low as to clear the crossings, and setting them back from the wheels little more than the breadth of the rail on each side, in the event of the wheels leaving the rail, the frame locks in with either the one rail or the other, and thus the carriage is retained to the rail under all possible circumstances. This is a very valuable point, for when it is recollected that almost every railway is formed for fully one third of its extent upon embankments without parapets, which renders it very dangerous for an engine or carriage to be thrown off the rails upon them, this arrangement provides a remedy for the case to be met by no other equally simple, cheap, and efficacious means."
The carriages upon the Greenwich railway were altered by Mr. Curtis from the old and general plan of those upon the Liverpool, Birmingham and other lines: this alteration was effected by simply inverting the frames.
The following list of casualties upon the Greenwich line, which happened to the low carriages, speak volumes in favour of the absolute safety of the carriages. "June 17, 1839, large open carriage with eight passengers, both axles broke, was dragged upwards of a mile, without the least injury to passengers.
Axle of carriage broke, two passengers inthecoach; draggedacross the Croydon junction, and upwards of three quarters of a mile, without injury to passengers.
Breakcarriage axle broke, with eightpassengers; dragged upwards of a mile without injury to passengers.
"Upon two other occasions like accidents happened, with similar results, one in 1838, and the other in 1840."