With the ordinary pressure of city gas upon this pipe it was found that the air pump must keep an air pressure of 40 pounds, that the air and gas might mix properly at the branch or fork, so we could get the best combustion and most heat from our "blowpipe," for such it was. (Fig. 32.)
FIG. 31 and FIG. 32
We were able to heat a tire so it could be moved in ten to twenty minutes, and the machine may be said to have been satisfactory.
Gas, however, was not to be had at all places where it would be necessary to change tires, and the item of cost was considerable.
To reach a result as good, if possible, experiments were begun with coal oil (headlight oil). They were crude and unsatisfactory at first, but soon success was reached.
A pipe was bent to fit the lower half of a wheel pretty closely and then turned back under itself about the diameter of the pipe distant from it. This under part had holes 1/10 in. diameter and 3 or 4 in. apart drilled upon its upper side or under the upper pipe. Connected with the upper pipe at its center was a pipe which ran to one side and up to the can containing the kerosene. Between the can and the pipe under the wheel was a stop cock, by which the flow of oil could be controlled.
To use the device, open the cock and let a small amount of oil flow; apply fire to the pipe under the wheel, and the oil in the upper pipe is converted into gas, which flows out of the small holes in the lower pipe, takes fire, and heats not only the tire, but the upper pipe, thus converting more oil into gas. We had here a lot of blue flame jets and the same result as with gas, but at less cost. We had also a machine that was inexpensive and easily handled anywhere. Boxes were placed over the upper parts of the wheels, that the heat might pass closely to the tire. This device was extensively used by our people, and with great satisfaction. In one way care had to be taken, viz.: That in starting the fire it did not smoke and cover the tire with carbon or "lampblack," which is a non-conductor of heat.
Experiments were made with air forced through gasoline, and with oil heated in a can to form gas. There was more danger in either of these than with our blowpipe device, and no better results were obtained, though the cost was greater.
With the change of the wheels, the brakes had to be changed the same amount, that is, each one set in 1½ in. This it was thought would either require new hangers or a change in the head or shoe in some way. We found that the hangers could easily be bent without removal. Fig. 34 shows three hangers after passing through the bending process. A short lever arranged to clasp the hanger just below the point, A, was the instrument; a forked "shore" is now placed, with the fork, against the point, A, and the other end against the car sill; press down on the lever and you bend the hanger at A; lower the lever to a point just below B, reverse the process, and you have the bend at B; the whole thing taking less than two minutes per hanger. A new bolt hole, of course, has been bored in the brake beam 1½ in. inside the old hole. It takes but a short time after this to change the position of the head and shoe.
Before the day of change, a portion of the spikes were drawn from the inside of the rail to be moved, and spike set 3 in. inside of the rail. As a rule two spikes were drawn and the third left. At least every third spike was set for the new gauge, and in some cases every other one.
There were several devices with which to set the spike. A small piece of iron 3 in. wide was common, and answered the purpose well. This had a handle, sometimes small, just large enough for the hand to clasp, while others had a handle long enough for a man to use it without stooping down. (See Figs. 35 and 36.) Another device is shown in Fig. 37, so arranged that the measurements were made from the head of the other rail. This was liked best, and, it is thought, gave the best results, as the moved rail was more likely to be in good line than when the measurements were taken from the flange.
FIG. 35, FIG. 36 and FIG. 37
It was intended that great care should be taken in driving the spikes, that they were in the proper place, square with the rail, and left sticking up about an inch.
The ties, of course, were all adzed down before the day of change.
"Handspikes" were originally used to throw the rails, as were lining bars.
We found, however, that small "cant hooks" were more easily handled and did better work. The first were made like Fig. 38, with a spike in the end of a stick, while the hook was fastened with a bolt about 10 or 12 inches above the foot.
FIG. 38 and FIG. 39
We afterward made them of a 1¼ in. rod, 3½ ft. long, pointed at one end, with a ring shrunk on 1 ft. from the bottom. Then the hook was made with an eye, as shown in Fig. 39, which slipped down over the top of the main rod. This was simple and cheap, and the iron was to be used for repair purposes when this work was done.
Upon the system with which the writer was connected we had some branches where we could experiment upon the moving of the rail. Between Selma and Lauderdale the traffic was light, and at Lauderdale it connected with the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, which was narrow, and to which all freight had to be transferred, either by hoisting the cars or by handling through the house. By changing our gauge we would simply change the point of transfer to Selma. Here was a chance to experiment upon one hundred miles and cause little trouble to traffic. We could see the practical workings of our plans, and, at the same time, leave less to do on the final day. Upon the 20th of April we did this work. It had been our plan to do it somewhat earlier, but floods prevented.