網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

is enterprise run mad-it ruins individuals, and injures the moral tone of a nation; without speculation we might not have had quite so many railroads, but we should have had them constructed at less cost-they would have been quite as serviceable to the public, and they would have paid better dividends.

Let us now glance at some of the present ascertained

RESULTS OF THE RAILWAY SYSTEM.

Thirty years ago, not 100 miles of railway for passenger traffic existed anywhere.

In 1847, ten years since, there were opened in the United Kingdom 3,816 miles.

On Dec. 31, 1857, according to Mr. Hackett's tables, in Herapath's Journal, there were 9,171 miles. Of these it is computed that about 2,000 miles are single lines. Taking double and single lines together, the total length of railway in the kingdom is upwards of 16,000 miles. It is calculated the rails laid down for sidings are equal in length to one-third of the total mileageadd then 5,000 miles for sidings, and we have a total of 21,000 miles of railway in Great Britain and Ireland. But if you measure the iron rails singly, you find them 42,000 miles in length, five times the diameter of the earth. These 42,000 miles of iron rail weigh at least 3,000,000 tons, they rest on about 70,000,000 iron chairs, which weigh 1,000,000 tons; so that we may safely say there are 4,000,000 tons of iron on the permanent ways of the United Kingdom.

The stations on railways were 2,963 in number, on June 30th, 1856, and now must be considerably over 3,000. Thirty years ago tunnels were very few and far between, now railway tunnels have traversed hills, and penetrated between mountains to the extent of nearly seventy miles.

[graphic]

MODERN ENGLISH LOCOMOTIVE, 1858.

A. Pipe leading to Steam Brake.

B. Steam Brake. C. Cinder Box.

D. India Rubber Springs.

Eleven miles of railway viaduct pass through the streets of London, and several viaducts in the country are objects for admiration, both for the engineering ability displayed, and the beauty of their structure. The past thirty years has more than doubled the number of bridges in our country-at least 25,000 have been added by rail

ways.

The surface of the earth has been much disturbed by the railway navvy-the various cuttings and levellings, and embankments, to secure as far as need be, a level road, have altered many a gradient, and changed many a prospect-but probably few were prepared for the calculation of Mr. Robert Stephenson showing the extent of the earth-works of our railroads. He estimates a mile of embankment to contain 70,000 cubic yards, and that there were 550 millions of cubic yards in the railway earth-works three years ago; so that, as he strikingly states the fact, a mountain might be made of this earth which should be half a mile in diameter at its base, and would then rise into the clouds a mile and a half high!

LOCOMOTIVES, CARRIAGES, ETC.

Mr. Robert Stephenson said, that to work the 8,054 miles of railway completed at the end of the year 1854, 5,000 locomotive engines were needed. This calculation gives 18 of an engine per mile. Applied to the 9,171 miles of railway now in operation, the calculation would give 5,693 engines. Each engine and its tender will average 35 feet in length, and the whole, if joined together, would extend 37 miles, a distance greater than from London to Reading. The number of carriages, trucks, &c., then used, was about 150,000. This number, increased to the requirements of the present extent of road, would be 170,800. Taking the length of each vehicle at 20 feet, you will find

that, could 170,800 be linked together in one train, they would reach 647 miles, the distance from Kent to Caithness, nearly the whole length of the British Isles. Each first-class engine and tender is computed to cost £2,000 and the average cost of each carriage, truck, and waggon is £100, so that the total value of this rolling stock exceeds £28,000,000.

Mr. R. Stephenson said, referring to 1854, that 80,000,000 of miles were then annually traversed on our railways, and to accomplish this, two miles and a half of railway must be covered with trains every second of time throughout the entire year. For the more extended traffic of 1857 these figures must be considerably increased.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

The average weight of passengers is 14 to a ton. There were 129,347,592 passengers conveyed in 1856, whose united weight will therefore be 9,239,113 tons, and for carrying them an average distance of 8 miles each, the railway companies received £10,153,745. This will give nearly 2s. 9d. per ton per mile for the weight of the passengers conveyed. In 1854 the average length of passenger journeys was 12 miles, and the average receipt per ton per mile was 28. Local traffic furnishes a preponderating proportion of railway receipts, for the average of the railway fares throughout the kingdom does not amount to 1s. 7d. per passenger.

Passengers pay 2s. 9d. per ton per mile for their conveyance; but to a similar calculation Mr. R. Stephenson appends these valuable remarks:

"Coals are conveyed in some instances at one halfpenny per ton per mile. Trains are usually capable of transporting

« 上一頁繼續 »