In the subjoined cuts, Fig. 1 exhibits a transverse section of the railroad, with the end view of a waggon upon it. Fig. 2 is a side elevation of the same, showing the manner in which the carriage is driven; a a is the road formed of masonry, the parts b b, on which the running wheels travel, being on a lower plane than the central part c of the road, whereon the rack d is situated. The steam-engine, and other machinery appertaining to the locomotive, are constructed in the usual way; the only novelty in the carriage is the toothed wheel e, which takes into the rack d, fixed along the centre of the road; and this toothed wheel being made to turn through the agency of a train of wheels actuated by the steam-engine, the carriage is thereby propelled, and the waggons drawn after it. In order to keep the carriages in their track upon the road, two guide rollersffare placed under the carriage, which run against the side of the central rib, and this prevents them from moving out of their course.
To enable locomotive carriages to ascend steeper inclined planes than had heretofore been considered practicable, and likewise to enable the carriages and trains to wind round curves in the road, without the severe friction and straining to which they had been previously subjected, was the object of a patent granted on the 5th of March, 1825, to Mr. W. Henry James, of Birmingham. This invention has not, we believe, been carried into effect on the great scale; but we have been credibly informed, that the most satisfactory proofs have been afforded of the ability to effect this, by repeated trials on a railroad more than a hundred feet in length, laid down for the purpose of experiment, on which it was found that a train of carriages would ascend inclined planes three inches in the yard, which is equal to 440 feet in the mile. This important advantage is gained by applying the power to the axletrees of the wheels of the several carriages in the train, by means of the rotation of a long horizontal rod (or series of connected rods), actuated by bevel gear under each carriage.
An ingenious plan has also been proposed by Mr. James for enabling the carriages on a railway to pass around turns or curves in the road, without additional friction. For this purpose, the horizontal rotatory. shafts, which cause each pair of wheels in the train to revolve, and propel the carriages forward, are connected together by a novel kind of universal joint, which communicates the rotatory motion to each successive carriage, even if so placed on the curves of the roads, that the sides of one carriage shall present to the side of the next an angle of thirty degrees. To cause the carriage wheels to run round the curves of the railway, without the usual destructive rubbing of their surfaces, the rails in those parts are made with several ribs or elevations, and the wheels of the carriages are consequently formed to correspond with those ribs, by their peripheries being grooved in like manner; so that a wheel, in effect, possesses as many diameters as there are variations in the surface of its periphery, by which means it may be made to travel faster or slower, as may be desired.
The following engravings will render these plans intelligible to the reader. a is the boiler of a steam-engine; b the engine with two cylinders, the alternating motion of the piston in which gives rotation to the crank c above: the rods e e, attached to the same, being also fixed to the crank of the horizontal shaft fff (which passes under the carriages), causes that to revolve with a similar speed to the crank of the engine. Two square boxes, g g, are fixed under each carriage; through these the axletrees of each pair of wheels pass; the rotatory shaftfpasses also through the boxes above the axletrees, and at right angles with them; each of the boxes g g contains a double-beveled horizontal wheel.
which presents a circle of cogs in its upper as well as its lower side, and turns upon cross bearings: now the shaftfcarrying upon it a vertical beveled pinion in each box, takes into the upper circle of teeth of the horizontal wheel, while the under circle of the teeth of the same actuate a beveled pinion on the axle-tree underneath, consequently compelling the wheels to revolve; and the power being thus applied to every pair of wheels simultaneously, sufficient resistance is obtained, on a smooth surface, to ascend inclined planes of considerable elevation. u u u u are the universal joints, which communicate rotatory motion when the carriages are not in a straight line; these, and other moving parts, are distinctly shown in Fig. 2, which is upon a larger scale. ff is the rotatory shaft; g g the two boxes, with the front plates moved, to show the gear inside; h h the beveled pinions upon the shaft in each box; i i the horizontal double-beveled wheels. The front box g, under the carriage, is fixed immovably to a solid block of wood, k; the other box is fitted to a plate l, turning on a central point, which passes through another plate m, above, the latter being secured to the floor of the carriage by hinge-joints, n n.
The construction of the universal joints uu is also more clearly shown in this figure.
We have now to describe the contrivances by which the patentee proposes to obviate the destructive effects of the rubbing or sliding of the inner wheels of carriages in making curves or turns in a round. If the wheels on one side of a carriage be larger, or of greater diameter than those on the opposite side, such carriage, when propelled, will necessarily make a curve. On this principle the patentee's contrivances are founded. In running along a straight line, the peripheries of the wheels are of equal elevation; but when the carriage has to make a turn, the wheels on one side roll on a greater diameter, or more extended periphery, while the wheels on the opposite side run on a less extended periphery, and the elevations upon the rails on which they run are so adjusted to these variations, that the different peripheries of the wheels change and come in contact with the variable parts of the rail, and run round the curves without any increase of friction.