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DEDICATED, BY PERMISSION,
THE RIGHT HONORABLE LORD RAVENSWORTH,
RIGHT HONORABLE LORD WHARNCLIFFE,
JOHN BOWES, Esq., M.P.
THEIR MUCH OBLIGED AND HUMBLE SERVANT,
IN offering these pages to the Public, little explanation is, perhaps, necessary; the acknowledged importance of Railroad conveyance, and the intense anxiety existing in the public mind, respecting the relative value of Canals and Railroads, as species of internal communication, render any information concerning them of interest; and, if that information is founded on the result of experiments performed on a working scale, it is conceived that, whether they tend towards establishing the one system or the other, they will be equally entitled to attention.
The want of practical information, on the subject of Railroads, has been much lamented; detached observations and opinions have at times been circulated, but little has been done towards the exhibition of the sub
ject in a systematic manner. The want of experiments on the friction of carriages,—the want of detailed obser
vations on the performance of horses, and of other kinds of motive power, have alike been the subject of regret among those interested in such enquiries; and little more than mere conjecture has transpired in the writings of those, who have not been more immediately concerned in the practical application of this mode of con
In attempting to supply these defects, considering the importance of the subject, some apology may be necessary; but in giving the result of facts, which have come under our knowledge in the course of professional practice, and also of several experiments made with the express view of obtaining the requisite information; it is trusted, that it will be a sufficient excuse for any errors, when it is considered, that the path is almost an unbeaten one, and that little, except general observations, has hitherto been published.
The greatest care has been used in the prosecution of the different experiments, and the most minute details are given, in order that the reader may be able to judge of the credit to which they are entitled; our object has been to furnish practical data on the subject, and in doing so, not to assume any theory, or deduce any proposition, which is not supported by experiment; and if, in doing this, we have rendered the work less suited to the taste of general readers, or have fallen into prolixity in the details; we trust that it will be attributed to our desire of rendering the subject clear and familiar to the capacity of every one, whether acquainted, or