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The heavy expense which is proved by experience to be unavoidable in keeping the railways and engines in repair, where great speed is the object, will in numerous cases soon make it evident that no dividends can be paid to the shareholders ; and the cheaper method of using horse power will be adopted. This has recently happened on a railway, where, although the traffic on it was very considerable both of goods and passengers, the cost of using steam power absorded nearly all the money received ; and accordingly, a case having been made out by an eminent engineer to show that if horse power were employed the traffic would afford a dividend, the use of steam power was discontinued, and the result has proved the change to be completely successful.

What seems to have been the great error on the part of those who have introduced the modern railway system was making excessive speed the main object of it. It is this which has led to the enormous expense, 1st, as to the gradations of the lines; 2dly, as to the strength of the construction of railways; and 3dly, as to the engine. But the attaining of the speed of 25 or 30 miles an hour, at such an enormous expense, cannot be justified on any principle of national utility. The usefulness of communication, in a national point of view, consists principally in rendering the conveyance of all the productions of the soil and of industry as cheap as possible. This keeps down the prices of food, the prices of raw materials, the prices of finished goods ; and thus increases the consumption of all productions, the employment of labour and capital, and generally the national industry and national wealth. But a speed of 10 miles an hour would have accomplished all these purposes, and have been of great benefit to travellers, while it could have been attained at from one half to one third of the expense which has been incurred by the system that has been acted upon. It is no doubt true that travelling at the rate of 25 or 30 miles an hour is personally very convenient, but how it can be made to act so as to contribute very much to the benefit of the country at large it is not easy to discover. Economy of time in an industrious country is unquestionably of immense importance, but after the means of moving at the rate of ten miles an hour is universally established, there seems to be no very great advantage to be derived from going faster.

The use of steam power and the practice of keeping up an excessive rate of speed has necessarily led to high charges for carrying passengers and goods. A slower rate of speed would, by diminishing expense, admit of the charges being moderate, and in this way the national interests would be best promoted. The object in making railways ought, from the beginning, to have been the reduction of the cost of moving passengers and goods to the lowest possible limit, and not excessive speed. This would have made the money applied to railways go much farther in extending them over the face of the country; the risks of accidents would have been almost wholly avoided; while the charges for travelling and transporting goods would have been considerably less. It is, however, right to admit, that if the raging passion for excessive speed had not been gratified, subscribers, probably, would not have been found for forming railway companies, and what was really useful and necessary in substituting railways for common roads would never have been accomplished. The public, in fact, are alone to blame for the immense waste of

money

which has taken place in forcing an excessive rate of speed, and in producing that superfluity of embellishment and grandeur which is to be seen on all the railways.

PAVED ROADS. In situations where canals cannot be constructed, either for want of water or other circumstances, and where the description and quantity of traffic, or local obstructions, do not justify the expense of forming a railway, paved trackways and roads made on proper principles would be found much better for conveying goods than turnpike roads, constructed as they usually are. The advantages which

may

be derived from paved roads as a means of transport have been too much overlooked; and therefore it is very important to show how much superior a well-made pavement is to a common road in enabling horses to draw very large burdens.

The plan of paving which contributes most to diminish the labour of moving heavy weights on roads, is that of forming as hard and smooth a surface as can be formed, with stone for the wheels of carriages to roll upon. This is effected by making use of large blocks of granite or other hard stone. Roads of this kind, when the blocks are about 16 inches wide, and are laid in parallel lines, are commonly called stone tramways or trackways.

On a well-constructed road or trackway of this kind, it has been proved by experiment that a London draught horse can draw, on the level, ten tons.

In cases where hills cannot be brought to a better inclination than 1 in 20 without incurring a very heavy expense, a stone trackway may be used with very great benefit. On the Holyhead Road, between Towcester and Daventry, there is a hill one mile in length, from Forster's Booth to Geese Bridge, and another hill from this bridge, of the same length, to Stow. The inclinations on both hills being about 1 in 20, the estimated expense for reducing these inclinations to 1 in 24 was 20,000l. ; but nearly all the advantage in diminishing tractive force which could have been obtained by this outlay has been obtained by a moderate extent of cutting and embanking, and by making a stone trackway on a portion of each hill; the whole at an expense of 9,0001. The power required to draw one ton on the old road over those parts of the hills which were at 1 in 20, was found to be by Mr. Macneill's instrument 294 lbs., but the power required on

* See Report of Mr. Walker on the Commercial Road, and Remarks of Mr. Macneill on Tramways, Appendix, No. III.

these trackways for the same weight and at the same rate of inclination is only 132 lbs. ; so that the tractive force has been reduced more than one half by this improvement.

The Commercial Road, from the West India Docks to Whitechapel, was made on this plan in 1829, that is, with large blocks of granite five or six feet in length, sixteen inches wide, and twelve inches deep, laid for the wheels to run upon, as on a tramroad of iron, except that there is no flanche. The space between the granite blocks is paved. The plan has succeeded, as may be seen from the following Report of Mr. Walker to the trustees of this road :

“ I beg to report the results of the experiments made this day upon the stone tramway now forming on the Commercial Road, before you, accompanied by the Chairman of the West India Dock Company, and Mr. Colville, one of the directors.

“ The experiments were made upon the space between the West India Dock-gate and the first turnpike upon the Commercial Road, with a very good town-made waggon, belonging to Messrs. Smith and Sons, distillers, and a stone truck, belonging to Messrs. Freeman.

“ The dust had been swept off the tramway in the morning. The distance is 550 feet, of which 250 feet nearest the Dock-gate rise 1 foot, or 1 in 250, and the other 300 feet rise about feet, or 1 in 116.

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