An imitation street car line may sound like a big undertaking, but, in fact, it is one of the easiest things a boy can construct, does not take much time and the expense is not great. A boy who lives on a farm can find many fine places to run such a line, and one in town can have a line between the house and the barn, if they are some distance apart.
Often all the boards and blocks required can be had for helping a carpenter clear away the rubbish around a new building. Wheels and parts of old bicycles, which can be used in so many ways, can be found at a junk shop at very low prices, wheels in good repair are not expensive. For the car for the street car line try to find a set of wheels having axles, but if you cannot find such, make shafts of hard wood, about 3 in. by 2-1/2 in. and by means of a jackknife turn, or shave down the ends to receive the hub bearings of the wheels. Fasten the wheel hubs securely over the ends of the wood with pins or little bolts, or if the wheel bearing is of such a nature that it revolves on its own journal, the journal can be fastened to the end of the wood piece. Each of the wheels should be provided with a sprocket; any chain sprocket of a bicycle may be used. Fasten these sprockets on the outside of the wheels as shown in Fig. 1. They can be set on over the bearing end and secured with a set screw, or the original key can be employed. It is best in cases like this to use the original parts. Make the floor of the car of pieces of boards placed on the axles and nailed, screwed or bolted, as shown at A. To erect the frame, place uprights, C C C C, in position as shown, fastening the ends to the base-boards and making the roof line as at B, then put in the cross-pieces, G G. Seats, E E, are simply boxes. The drive of the car is effected by using the driving sprockets, D D, fitted to the crosspieces, G G, with the original bearings. The parts are thereby secured to the car and the chain placed on.
Key the cranks for turning to the upper sprocket's shaft and all is ready. If there are sprocket gears and cranks on either side, four boys may propel the car at one time. Considerable speed can be made on smooth roads, but it is the best amusement to run a car line on wooden tracks with a brake consisting of a piece of wooden shaft, passing through a bore in the car floor, and fitted with a leather covered pad as at H. A spiral spring holds up the brake until pressure is applied by foot power, when the brake contacts with the wooden track and checks the car.
The track plan is illustrated in Fig. 2. Get some boards and place end for end on other pieces set as ties. The main boards or tracks, JJ, can be about 6 in. wide, to the edges of which nail strips about 3/4 in. wide and about the same height. The ties, I I, can be almost any box boards. Wire nails are the best to use in putting the tracks together. The sprocket connection with the chain is shown in Fig. 3. This consists of the sprocket gear on the propelling shaft, and the crank. The pedals may be removed and a chisel handle, or any tool handle, substituted, so as to afford means for turning the
Illustration: Construction of Car crank by hand power. Great fun can be had with the road, and, furthermore, it can be made remunerative, as boys and girls can be given rides for a penny each.
Illustration: Section of the Track