The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 11 (February 1, 1936)
Aluminium in Train Construction
Aluminium in Train Construction.
New Zealand folk will certainly endorse the recent remark of Mr. P. Knutzen, Director-General of the Danish State Railways, to the effect that fast trains to-day make travel as comfortable as sitting in one's armchair at home. A special effort is being made to increase travel comfort in Denmark, and in this connection new, fast Diesel-driven trains have recently been put into traffic. These are light trains, each accommodating 235 passengers. The coaches largely are constructed of aluminium, and the trains have been designed to run at speeds of from 55 to 65 m.p.h.
The employment of aluminium and aluminium alloys in coach construction seems to offer immense possibilities for reducing train weights. While aluminium and aluminium alloy construction involves increased outlay at the start, it is probable this extra cost is more than counterbalanced by subsequent savings in operation. In Britain, the London & North Eastern Company is experimenting with passenger page 45 coaches of aluminium alloy, the sides, ends and doors being all alloy castings, suitably ribbed and strengthened, and riveted to steel framework pillars and cant rails. The roofs are of duralumin sheets, and a saving in weight of something like eight per cent. has been secured. It is worth noting that, even where aluminium alloy is not employed for car construction proper, a considerable saving in dead weight may be effected by the use of interior fittings of this material.
Aluminium alloys are finding favour in Europe in goods wagon and container construction. Container movement progresses steadily throughout the continent, so greatly is the convenience of this method of transport appreciated by the public. A new move now being recorded aims at the simplification of container loading and unloading. In big stations it is a simple matter to handle a container by crane-power, but at smaller stations, where lifting appliances are lacking, the extended use of containers of normal form is hardly possible.
To overcome this difficulty, the French State Railways are experimenting with a specially-designed container having patent moving equipment attached. The container is fixed to a carrier of channel iron, and to this are attached small wheels, permitting of the unit being rolled into any desired position by hand. A tilting road trailer is employed for movement of the container between railway station and sender's or consignee's place of business, and the need for cranes is completely eliminated.