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The Sliding Railway., Issue 8043, 21 October 1889
The Sliding Railway.
By way of protest or reaction, we suppose, against the over-elaboration and supersubtlety of the times, both science and fashion of late manifest a curious tendency to revert to old ways and primitive method;'. The revival of oil-lamp and candle illumination just as gas and electricity appeared to bo carrying all before them, and the return to canal navigation when the triumph of railway locomotion seemed to be complete, are but a couple of many kindred instances of this reaction, which finds its counterpart in the art world in the temporary popularity of the ijnecu Anne, Marly English, and other long buried styles. Vet another instance of tills leaning to old and simple methods in furnished hy the latest Improvement in locomotion—the so-called chemin tie fer (jlmant— the motive principle of which threatens to cast steam, gas, and electricity into the shade in its capacity to annihilate time and space. This is nothing more than cold water applied simultaneously as a lubricant and a motive force. The slide railway, which is now an accomplished fact at the Paris Exhibition, is so far as it goes, wo understand, the swiftest and smoothest means of locomotion yet invented ; and there appears to be no reason to question the assurance of the owners and managers thataspeed ofovoiTOOmilesan hour can be attained on it under fairly favorable conditions. The carriages, which are propelled by hydraulic power, have no wheels, but slide on grooved blocks closely fitting the upper surfaces of the rails, which are rather wider than those in ordinary use. When it is desired to set the carriage in motion, water is forced into the hollow slides or skates of the carriage from a reservoir by compressed air. In seeking to escape, the water forces its way out of a small orifice at the bottom, and spreads over the under surface of the slide, which it raises about a nail’s thickness above the rail. The slides thus resting, not on tho rails, but on a film of water, are in a perfectly mobile condition ; in fact, the pressure of the forefinger is sufficient to displace a carriage thus supported. Tho propelling force is supplied by pillar jets, which stand at regular intervals on the lino between the rails. Running underneath every carriage is an j iron rack, about Gin wide, fitted with j paddles, and as the foremost carriage passes ! in front of the pillar a tap on the latter is opened automatically, and a stream of water at high pressure is directed on the paddles. This drives the train on, and by the time the last carriage has passed the tap, which then closes automatically, the foremost one is in front of the next tap, the water action thus being continuous. The speed developed in this way is described as marvellous, although within the limits of the Exhibition enclosure it is, of course, impossible to illustrate the full power of the process. There is some splashing on tho rails at starting, until the inn inertia* of the carriages is overcome; but the splashing diminishes in proportion to the speed of the train, and on long journeys it is believed the waste would be inappreciable. In order to stop tho train it is only necessary to turn off the small stream of water that feeds the slides. The latter, then deprived of their lubricant, come into close contact with tho rails, and the resulting friction stops the train almost immediately. A water train of this description running at a speed of over 100 miles an hour could be pulled up, it is calculated, within 80yds. Moreover, it could climb or descend gradients, and run on curves impossible to steam-driven trains. As to the cost of construction and working this extraonPnary railway, we have at present no trustworthy data. For urban use it is said to be cheaper than ordinary railways, but in the country dearer. The great advantages it offers, however, in regard to speed, smoothness, safety, and freedom from smoko ought to outweigh any considerations of cost for main lines of communication, more especially when the difficulties at present experienced in adapting it to the requirements of goods traffic have been overcome.—‘ Eastern and Australian Journal of Commerce.’
The Sliding Railway., Issue 8043, 21 October 1889
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