Instead of two
lines of rail laid upon the ground, as heretofore, Mr. Palmer's Railway
consists of only one,
which is elevated upon pillars, and carried in a straight line across the country, however undulating or rugged, over hills, valleys, brooks, and rivers; the pillars being longer or shorter to suit the height of the rail above the surface of the ground, so as to preserve the line of the rail, which is always straight, whether the plane be horizontal or inclined. The waggons or receptacles for the goods, travel in pairs, one of a pair being on one side of the rail, and the other on the opposite
The above is an illustration (taken from the “Register of Arts and Sciences,” January 1824) of a further suggested improvement of the famous Palmer railway, in which case sails were to be employed for propulsion when the wind was favourable. “I would propose” (says the inventor) “that a horse should always be in attendance, so that when employed in drawing a train along the rail, if a breeze of wind should spring up, the sails might be spread, and the horse clapped into a carriage properly constructed to accommodate his noble person, where, in comfort, feasting over his bag of corn, his frame would be reinvigorated for fresh exertion should the wind happen to fail.”
side, as panniers over the back of an ass. By this arrangement only two wheels are employed (instead of eight) to convey a pair of waggons; these two wheels are placed one before the other on the rail, and the axletrees upon which they revolve are made of sufficient length and strength to form extended arms of support, to which are suspended the waggons or receptacles on each side of the rail, the centre of gravity being always below the surface of the rail.
The rods by which the waggons are suspended are inflexible; hence, although the weights on each side may not be equal, they will nevertheless be in equilibrio; as may be observed in a ship, which being unequally loaded, it assumes such an angle with the surface of the water as preserves the equilibrium. Although an equal distribution of the load on both sides be preferable, it is not necessary.