« PreviousContinue »
South Dakota, Texas, and Washington, headlights of 1,500 candlepower or over are required by law. The State railroad commission of Indiana compels the use of equally power f u 1 headlights, and in Georgia the law demands electric headlights of great luminous efficiency, with reflectors twenty - three inches in diameter.
The trouble with the ordinary oilburning headlight, c o m m only employed on locomotives is that it is seldom powerful enough to make it more than a marker to indicate to persons at stations or railways crossings, or to trains on other tracks, that an engine is approaching. For discovering or identifying distant objects on the track
ahead, it is of almost no use at all. Hence the argument in favor of the high-power headlight, gas or electric, by which persons or obstructions may be seen at a sufficient distance to enable the train to be stopped before reaching them.
On the other hand, there are some serious objections to the high-power headlight, chief among which is the fact that its rays are so intense as fairly to blind, for the moment, persons who may look into the beam. This effect, when experienced by enginemen of trains running in an opposite direction on parallel tracks, is likely to give rise to accidents. Furthermore, it is often difficult to read the colors of signal lamps correctly in the beam of an electric headlight, the spectrum of the arc being very rich in blue and green rays, and containing a
relatively small proportion of the red and yellow. On this account particularly the railroads have made strenuous objection to such headlights.
On double-track roads, and particularly on roads having three or four tracks and equipped with signals placed at frequent intervals, the prevailing opinion seems to be that electric headlights are not only unnecessary, but are likely to cause serious errors on the part of engineers in reading colored signal lights.
An ' incidental problem which the board is trying to solve is that of the headlight which shall continue to throw its beam upon the track while the engine is rounding a curve. Inasmuch as such lights are usually fixed in position, their rays are projected in the direction of the axis of the locomotive, and hence on Curves do not illuminate the track ahead. Various devices have been submitted for imparting to the headlight, while the engine is rounding a curve, such motion as will turn the beam so as to make it fall on the track. Most of these contrivances, however, are very crude, attempting to use the slewing of the front truck of the engine to rotate the headlight, and not one of them has been found satisfactory.
The board strongly recommends that railroads all over the country be compelled by law to adopt and maintain the block system for running their trains. At the present time only about sixty-six thousand miles of railroads, out of a
total of approximately two hundred and forty thousand miles in this country, are operated under this system, notwithstanding a superabundance of evidence that, wherever used, it has added immeasurably to safety of transportation. The situation is not unlike that which existed at the time when the adoption of car couplers and power brakes was compelled by Federal enactment, against a most determined opposition on the part of the companies, desirous of avoiding the expense involved in the acquisition of such improvements.
As a matter of fact, the adoption of the block system everywhere would cost
the railroads very little money. Not much apparatus is required. In July of last year, the Baltimore & Ohio line from Storr's, Ohio, west to Vincennes, Ind., and from North Vernon, Ind., to New Albany, over one hundred and eighty miles, was equipped with all the necessary outfit for the operation of the simple manual block system in less than one week.
It is the opinion of the board that the compulsory introduction of the block system on all railway lines will tend greatly to reduce the number of collisions and the incidental mortality record that results therefrom.
Keep Your Grit
Hang on! Cling on! No matter what they say.
Push on I Sing on! Things will come your way.
Best way to get there is by keeping up your grit.
Don't give up hoping when the ship goes down;
Grab a spar or something—just refuse to drown.
Smile in face of danger and hang to your grit.
Folks die too easy — they sort of fade away;
Make a little error, and give up in dismay.
To laugh at pain and trouble and keep his grit.
—L. E. Thayer In New York Times.
Soliloquy of a Minor Poet
By C. L. EDHOLM
This bloodless Age!
So placid, cool, encompassed by the laws
The good old days!
Our century was young then, (now so gray,
WHERE ONE HUNDRED'PERSONS LOST THEIR LIVES. Building concrete sheds to protect from snow slides fit Wellington. Washington,
IN June 1910 the Technical World Magazine told of one of the most tragic and remarkable railway disasters ever recorded in the United States; how an avalanche swept down the precipitous sides of the Cascade mountains at the little town of Wellington, Washington, and carried a Great Northern passenger train with almost one hundred passengers aboard, to a terrible fate in the depths of the canyon below. To prevent the recurrence of such a catastrophe was the problem that confronted the Great Northern's engineers, and spurred on by
James J. Hill, who declared that the tracks must be rendered absolutely safe no matter what the cost, they finally determined upon the erection of reinforced concrete snowsheds protecting all the Wellington danger zone. These have just been finished at a cost of $500,000.
Construction of these solid masonry structures for a distance of 3,300 feet is regarded as a great accomplishment in the engineering world, for they are not merely coverings built over the tracks— they are indestructible hoods set into the mountain side. Future avalanches may thunder into the canyon, far below, all