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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8

Memoranda by Compiler

page 12

Memoranda by Compiler.

The Inventor of these cars is W. R. Rowan, C.E., Managing Director of the "Scandia" Company of Copenhagen, whose Railway Carriage Works are at Randers, in Jutland. Messrs. Kitson & Co., of Leeds, the well-known engine manufacturers, have undertaken the manufacture both of cars combined with engines as used in the Berlin trials, and of separated, noiseless, steamless, and smokeless engines which can be used in drawing ordinary tram-cars.

Messrs. Kitson and Co. (whose reputation is a guarantee for the work turned out) have decided on adopting the system known as "Rowan's Steam-Car" as the most advantageous method of substituting mechanical power for horse-power on tramways. They manufacture both steam-cars and separate engines, both of which are considered to have produced the best results hitherto obtained in point of economy and efficiency; they show neither smoke nor steam in any weather, and fully conform to the Board of Trade regulations in every respect. In the "Engineer" of Jan. 18th, 1878, may be seen a short account of some of the results obtained from one of these "dummy" engines working on the Leeds tramway line. This engine was afterwards run on the Dewsbury, Batley, and Birstall Tramways, from March 26 to April 13, 1878, with the following results:—
Weight of engine in working order 5 ½ tons.
Total miles run 889
Average miles per day 52 ¼
Consumption of fuel 4 tons 8 cwt. 2 lbs,
Do. do. per mile run 11-149 lbs.
Cost of fuel £1 15s. 7d.
Do. per mile .48d.
Fuel used Common gas coke,
Ruling gradient 1 in 45.
Weight of car with 40 passengers 4¾ tons.

The above mileage includes 100 miles run, with two cars attached, which were invariably full.

The engine has since been purchased for the Rouen tramways in France.

It should be borne in mind that, while first-class results are attained by the separate engines, these results are greatly enhanced in having the engine and car combined. In both the machinery is thoroughly protected from mud and dust, lessening thereby enormously the cost of repairs, but, in the combined car, owing to a considerable portion of the weight being borne upon the driving wheels, the adhesive power of the engine is increased by the load which it has to draw. The combined car, with two tons less dead than the separated engine and car, has the same adhesive power, and can ascend a gradient of 1 in 15 with a load which the separated engine would fail to draw up 1 in 20. Again, the steam-car on 1 in 30 has an excess of power over the detached engine to 1 in 40.

In the combined car, also, the combination increases the steadiness of both engine and car. The steam-car is shorter than the separate engine and car, or than a pair of horses and car—an important point in town traffic.

A new system is applied to the condensation of the steam, and to the combustion of the fuel and surplus steam in the furnace; for obvious reasons, details cannot be entered into here. The draught of the furnace is so completely under the control of the driver, that the generating of steam can be proportional to the amount required whereby the greatest results are obtained with least waste. These are not random assertions, but have been verified in England and on the Continent before some of the first practical engineers of the day.

Either separate engine or combined car can work round curves of as little as 45ft. radius. or up grades as steep as 1 in 15 with a full load. The combined cars are so constructed that ordinary cars can be attached to them if required, the power of the engine being ample on ordinary grades. They are also so constructed that the engine and bogie can be run out if required, either to be employed in another car, or to be replaced in case of accident, either by another engine or by a simple bogie, so as to allow the car to be drawn away by horses. The engine is so separated from the passenger portion of the page 13 car that absolutely no heat is felt from the engine, while a portion of the exhaust steam-can be utilised in warming the car in winter. There is no puffing or other noise; and nothing to frighten either horse or man—simply an ornamental-looking car moving along quietly without visible motive power.

The saving effected by using steam instead of horse-power as a motor is now generally computed at from 15s. to £1 per car per diem.