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DIFFERENT KINDS OF ROADS, AND MODES OF CON
The different kinds of roads may be distinguished and described as follows:
1st. Iron railways. 2d. Paved roads.
3d. Roads of which the surface is partly paved and partly made with broken 'stones, or other materials.
4th. Roads with a foundation of pavement and a surface of broken stones.
5th. Roads with a foundation of rubble stones, and a surface of broken stones or gravel.
6th. Roads made with broken stones laid on the natural soil.
7th. Roads made with gravel laid on the natural soil.
When iron railways were first introduced into England cannot be clearly ascertained : they were probably first used in iron manufactories for local and private purposes, and as an improvement on the wooden rails previously employed at coal mines and stone quarries.
Mr. Wood, in his treatise on railroads, supposes that timber railways were first introduced about the year 1602, or between that and 1649, by Beaumont, a speculator in coal mines, in the neighbourhood of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
It is certain that timber railways were in very general use in the collieries of North Cumberland and Durham about the commencement of the eighteenth century. It is stated, that on railways of this description a horse could draw about forty-two hundred weight; the usual load for one horse upon the common roads being, at that time, about seven hundred weight.
The first improvement which took place in railways of this description, was that of laying down double rails, or one rail over the other, the upper being pinned down to the under one ; by which means it could be replaced by a new one when it was worn out, without raising or disturbing the sleepers or the under rails. The next improvement was securing the upper rail from injury by covering it with a plate of iron, and substituting iron wheels for wooden ones, about the year 1753.
At what period the next improvement took place, namely, that of using iron rails instead of wooden ones, is not exactly known. Mr. Robert Stephenson, of Edinburgh, says, that the first cast-iron rails were made at Colebrookdale, in Shropshire, in the year 1767.
Mr. Wood states that Curr, in his “ Coal Viewer and Engine Builder,” published in 1797, says, “that the making and use of iron railroads were the first of my inventions, and were introduced at the Sheffield colliery about twenty-one years ago.” They were not, however, generally known, until they were introduced by Mr. Outram, engineer of the Butterly Works, in Derbyshire, many years after.
In 1789, Mr. Jessop introduced the edge-rail on the public railroad at Loughborough : this was a considerable improvement of the old system of flat plates with fanches. The only great improvement which has since taken place, is the making of the edge-rails of wrought instead of cast iron, and the fixing of them in a more firm manner to the blocks, or sleepers.
Mr. Wood states, that ison rails were tried at Wallbattle Colliery about the year 1805, by Mr. C. Nixon ; but Mr. Stephenson says, they were first introduced about the year 1815, at Lord Carlisle's coal works on Tindall Fell, Cumberland. According, however, to the statement of Mr. Thomson, the present agent, they were laid down on that railroad in 1808. Since that period they were not extensively used until after the
1824. Previous to 1794 there was no public railway. In that year, Mr. Samuel Homfray obtained an act of parliament for constructing an iron railway between Cardiff and MerthyrTydvil, in South Wales, for the use of the public, on paying certain tonnage rates per mile. Soon after 1797, iron railways began to be constructed in Shropshire, as branches to the canals, and in other parts of England.
It is generally allowed, that on a railway well constructed, and laid with a declivity of one in ninety-six,' or fifty-five feet in a mile, one horse will readily take down waggons containing from twelve to fifteen tons, and bring back the same waggons with four tons in them, and that on a level railway a horse can draw twelve tons.
An ingenious contrivance has been adopted on the Darlington railway, for increasing the work performed by the horses. Great part of the traffic is in one direction, and the railway happens to be so constructed that, on a considerable portion of its length, the carriages descend by their own gravity when loaded.
A low truck, or platform, accompanies the train of loaded waggons; on this truck the horses are carried along those parts of the road where the carriages are moved by gravity: by these means they are enabled to do much more work than they otherwise could do; for, by the time the carriages arrive at the bottom of the descent, the horses are in some measure rested, and are enabled to drag on the train of waggons, with fresh vigour, to the next inclined plane, where they again ascend the truck. Mr. Storey states that “ previous to carriages
“ being used for the horses to ride on, a week's work, of six days, was eighty-seven miles with twelve tons of coals, and five tons and a half of empty carriages, and eighty-seven miles back with five tons and a half of empty carriages; in all, 174 miles. A week's work, after using the horse carriage, was 120 miles with twelve tons of coals, and five tons and a half of empty carriages, and 120 miles with five tons and a half of empty carriages; in all, 240 miles, or one third