Interborough Rapid Transit Company.

Interborough Rapid Transit: the New York subway; its construction and equipment online

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the i 20 volt secondary wiring circuits, while the lighting of the subway sections between adjacent stations is
accomplished by incandescent lamps connected in series groups of five each and connected to the 600 volt
lighting circuits. Recognizing the fact that in view of the precautions taken it is probable that interruptions
of the alternating current lighting service will be infrequent, the possibility of such interruption is nevertheless
provided for by installing upon the stairways leading to passenger station platforms, at the ticket booths and
over the tracks in front of the platforms, a number of lamps which are connected to the contact rail circuit.
This will provide light sufficient to enable passengers to see stairways and the edges of the station platforms
in case ot temporary failure ot the general lighting system.

The general illumination of the passenger stations is effected by means of 32 c. p. incandescent lamps,
placed in recessed domes in the ceiling. These are reinforced by 14 c. p. and 32 c. p. lamps, carried by
brackets of ornate design where the construction of the station does not conveniently permit the use of
ceiling lights. The lamps are enclosed in sand-blasted glass globes, and excellent distribution is secured by
the use of reflectors.

The illustration on page 122 is produced from a photograph of the interior of one of the transformer
cupboards and shows the transformer in place with the end bell of the high potential cable and the primary





Lighting of
the Power

switchboard containing switches and enclosed fuses. The illustration on page 123 shows one of the
secondary distributing switchboards which are located immediately behind the ticket booths, where they are
under the control of the ticket seller.

In lighting the subway between passenger stations, it is desirable, on the one hand, to provide sufficient
light for track inspection and to permit employees passing along the subway to see their way clearly and
avoid obstructions ; but, on the other hand, the lighting must not be so brilliant as to interfere with easy
sight and recognition of the red, yellow, and green signal lamps of the block signal system. It is necessary also
that the lights for general illumination be so placed that their rays shall not fall directly upon the eyes of
approaching motormen at the head of trains nor annoy passengers who may be reading their papers inside the
cars. The conditions imposed by these considerations are met in the four-track sections of the subway by

placing a row of incandes-
cent lamps between the
north-bound local and ex-
press tracks and a similar
row between the south-
bound local and express
tracks. The lamps are
carried upon brackets sup-
ported upon the iron
columns of the subway
structure, successive lamps
in each row being 60 feet
apart. They are located
a few inches above the tops
ot the car windows and
with reference to the direc-
tion of approaching trains
the lamps in each row are
carried upon the far side
of the iron columns, by
which expedient the eyes
of the approaching motor-
men are sufficiently pro-
tected against their direct

For the general illu-
mination of the engine
room, clusters of Nernst
lamps are supported from









of single lamps of the
same type is carried on
the lower gallery about
25 feet from the floor.
This is the first power
house in America to be
illuminated by these
lamps. The quality of
the light is unsurpassed
and the general effect of
the illumination most
satisfactory and agreeable
to the eye. In addition
to the Nernst lamps, 16
c. p. incandescent lamps
are placed upon the en-
gines and along the gal-
leries in places not con-
veniently reached by the
general illumination.
The basement also is
lighted by incandescent

For the boiler room,
a row of Nernst lamps in
front ot the batteries of
boilers is provided, and,
in addition to these,
incandescent lamps are
used in the passageways

around the boilers, at gauges and at water columns. The basement of the boiler room, the pump room,
the economizer floor, coal bunkers, and coal conveyers are lighted by incandescent lamps, while arc lamps are
used around the coal tower and dock. The lights on the engines and those at gauge glasses and water
columns and at the pumps are supplied by direct current from the 250 volt circuits. All other incandescent
lamps and the Nernst lamps are supplied through transformers from the 60 cycle lighting system.

In the booth of each ticket seller and at every manhole along the west side of the subway and its
branches is placed a glass-covered box of the kind generally used in large American cities for fire alarm pur-
poses. In case of accident in the subway which may render it desirable to cut off power from the contact
rails, this result can be accomplished by breaking the glass front of the emergency box and pulling the hook
provided. Special emergency circuits are so arranged that pulling the hook will instantly open all the circuit-


Signal System
and Provision
for Cutting Off
Power from
Contact Rail


THE SUBWAY I T I ~ ~ N I T I v c T I ' N ~ N I E ~ ~ ! * M I * T

breakers at adjacent sub-stations through which the contact rails in the section affected receive their supply
of power. It will also instantly report the location of the trouble, annunciator gongs being located in the
sub-stations from which power is supplied to the section, in the train dispatchers' offices and in the office of
the General Superintendent, instantly intimating the number of the box which has been pulled. Automatic
recording devices in tram dispatchers' offices and in the office of the General Superintendent also note the
number of the box pulled.

The photograph on page i 20 shows a typical fire alarm box.



TH K determination of the builders of the road to improve upon the best devices known in electrical
railroading and to provide an equipment unequaled on any interurban line is nowhere better
illustrated than in the careful study given to the types of cars and trucks used on other lines
before a selection was made ot those to be employed on the subway.

All of the existing rapid transit railways in this country, and many of those abroad, were
visited and the different patterns of cars in use were considered in this investigation, which in-
cluded a study of the relative advantages of long and short cars, single and multiple side entrance
cars and end entrance cars, and all ot the other varieties which have been adopted tor rapid transit service
abroad and at home.

The service requirement of the \cw York subway introduces a number of unprecedented conditions,
and required a complete redesign of all the existing models. The general considerations to be met included
the following:

High schedule speeds with frequent stops.

Maximum carrying capacity for the subway, especially at rimes of rush hours, morning and evening.

Maximum strength combined with smallest permissible weight.

Adoption of all precautions calculated to reduce possibility of damage from either the electric circuit
or from collisions.

The clearance and length ot the local station platforms limited the length ot trains, and tunnel clear-
ances the length and width and height ot the cars.

The speeds called for by the contract with the city introduced motive power requirements which were
unprecedented in any existing railway service, either steam or electric, and demanded a minimum weight
consistent with safety. As an example, it may be stated that an express train of eight cars in the subway to
conform to the schedule speed adopted will require a nominal power of motors on the train of 2,000 horse-
power, with an average accelerating current at 600 volts in starting from a station stop of 325 amperes.
This rate of energy absorption which corresponds to 2,500 horse power is not far from double that taken by
the heaviest trains on trunk line railroads when starting from stations at the maximum rate of acceleration
possible with the most powerful modern steam locomotives.

Such exacting schedule conditions as those mentioned necessitated the design of cars, trucks, etc., of
equivalent strength to that found in steam railroad car and locomotive construction, so that while it was
essential to keep down the weight of the train and individual cars to a minimum, owing to the frequent
stops, it was equally as essential to provide the strongest and most substantial type of car construction



Owing to these two essentials which were embodied in their construction it can safely be asserted that
the cars used in the subway represent the acme of car building art as it exists to-day, and that all available
appliances tor securing strength and durability in the cars and immunity from accidents have been introduced.
After having ascertained the general type of cars which would be best adapted to the subway service,
and before placing the order for car equipments, it was decided to build sample cars embodying the approved
principles of design. From these the management believed that the details of construction could be more
perfectly determined than in any other way. Consequently, in the early part ot 1902, two sample cars were
built and equipped with a variety of appliances and furnishings so that the final type could be intelligently
selected. From the tests conducted on these cars the adopted type ot car which is described in detail below
was evolved.

After the design had been worked out a great deal of difficulty was encountered in securing satisfactory
contracts for proper deliveries, on account of the congested condition of the car building works in the

country. Contracts were finally closed,
however, in December, 1902, for 500
cars, and orders were distributed between
four car-building firms. Of these cars,
some 200, as fast as delivered, were placed
in operation on the Second Avenue line
of the Elevated Railway, in order that
they might be thoroughly tested during
the winter of 1903-4.

In view of the peculiar traffic con-
ditions existing in New York City and the
restricted siding and yard room available
in the subway, it was decided that one
standard type of car tor all classes of
service would introduce the most flexible
operating conditions, and for this reason
would best suit the public demands at
different seasons of the year and hours of
the day. In order further to provide
cars, each of which would be as safe as the
others, it was essential that there should
be no difference in constructional strength
between the motor cars and the trail cars.
All cars were therefore made of one type
and can be used interchangeably for either
motor or trail-car service.

The motor cars carry both motors
on the same truck; that is, they have a



motor truck at one end carrying two motors, one geared to each axle; the truck at the other end ot the
car is a "trailer" and carries no motive power.

Some leading distinctive features of the cars may be enumerated as follows:

(i.) The length is 51 feet and provides seating capacity for 52 passengers. This length is about 4
feet more than those of the existing Manhattan Klevated Railroad cars.

(2.} The enclosed vestibule platforms with sliding doors instead ot the usual gates. The enclosed
platforms will contribute greatly to the comfort and safety of passengers under subway conditions.

(}.) The anti-telescoping car bulkheads and platform posts. This construction is similar to that in
use on Pullman cars, and has been demonstrated in steam railroad service to be an important safety

(4.) The steel underframing of the car, which provides a rigid and durable bed structure tor trans-
mitting the heavy motive power stresses.

(5.) The numerous protective devices against defects in the electrical apparatus.

(6.) Window arrangement, permitting circulation without draughts.

(7.) Emergency brake valve on truck operated by track trip.

(S.) Kmergency brake valve in connection with master-controller.

The table on page I } 5 shows the main dimensions of the car, and also the corresponding dimensions ot
the standard car in use on the Manhattan Elevated Railway.

The general arrangement of the floor framing is well shown in the photograph on page \T,2. I he side
sills are of 6-inch channels, which are reinforced inside and out by white oak timbers. The center sills are
5-inch I-beams, faced on both sides with Southern pine. The end sills are also ot steel shapes, securely
attached to the side sills by steel castings and forgings. The car body end-sill channel is taced with a white-
oak filler, mortised to receive the car body end-posts and braced at each end by gusset plates. 1 he body
bolster is made up of two rolled steel plates bolted together at their ends and supported by a steel draw
casting, the ends of which form a support for the center sills. The cross-bridging and needle-beams of
t;-inch I-beams are unusually substantial. The flooring inside the car is double and ot maple, with asbestos
fire-felt between the layers, and is protected below by steel plates and "transite" (asbestos board).

The side framing of the car is of white ash, doubly braced and heavily trussed. There are seven
composite wrought-iron carlines forged in shape for the roof, each sandwiched between two white ash
carlmes, and with white ash intermediate carlines. The platform posts are ot compound construction with









anti-telescoping posts ot steel bar sandwiched between white ash posts at corners and centers ot vestibuled
platforms. These posts are securely bolted to the steel longitudinal sills, the steel anti-telescoping plate
below the floor, and to the hood of the bow which serves to reinforce it. This bow is a heavy steel angle

in one piece, reaching from plate to
plate and extending back into the car
6 feet on each side. By this construc-
tion it is believed that the car framing
is practically indestructible. In case of
accident, it one platform should ride
over another, eight square inches ot
metal would have to be sheared off the
posts before the main body of the car
would be reached, which would afford
an effective means of protection.

The floor is completely covered
on the underside with '^.-mch asbestos
transite board, while all parts of the

car trammer, flooring, and sheathing are covered with fire-proofing compound. In addition, all spaces
above the motor truck in the floor framing, between sills and bridging, are protected by plates of No. 8
steel and '^-inch roll fire-felt extending from the platform end sill to the bolster.

The precautions to secure safety from fire consists generally in the perfected arrangement and installa-
tion ot the electrical apparatus and the wiring. For the lighting circuits a flexible steel conduit is used, and
a special junction box. On the side and upper roofs, over these conduits tor the lighting circuits, a strip ot
sheet iron is securely nailed to the roof boards before the canvas is applied. The wires under the floor are
carried in ducts moulded into suitable forms of asbestos compound. Special precautions have been taken
with the insulation ot the wires, the specifications calling for, first, a layer ot paper, next, a layer of rubber,
and then a layer of cotton saturated with a weather-proof compound, and outside ot this a layer of asbestos.
The hangers supporting the rheostats under the car body are insulated with wooden blocks, treated by a special
process, being dried out in an oven and then soaked in an insulating compound, and covered with > 4 -inch " tran-
site" board. The rheostat boxes themselves are also insulated from the angle iron supporting them. Where
the wires pass through the flooring they are hermetically sealed to prevent the admission ot dust and dirt.

At the forward end of what is known as the No. I end of the car all the wires are carried to a slate
switchboard in the motorman's cab. This board is 44x27 inches, and is mounted directly back of the
motorman. The window space occupied by this board is ceiled up and the space back of the panels is
boxed in and provided with a door of steel plate, forming a box, the cover, top, bottom, and sides of which
are lined with electrobestos 'j'-inch thick. All of the switches and fuses, except the mam trolley fuse and
bus-line fuse, which are encased and placed under the car, are carried on this switchboard. Where the wires
are carried through the floor or any partition, a steel chute, lined with electrobestos, is used to protect the
wires against mechanical injury. It will be noted from the above that no power wiring, switches, or fuses are
placed in the car itself, all such devices being outside in a special steel insulated compartment.





A novel feature in the construction of these cars is the motorman's compartment and vestibule, which
differs essentially from that used heretofore, and the patents are owned by the Interborough Company.
The cab is located on the platform, so that no. space within the car is required; at the same time the entire
platform space is available for ingress and egress except that on the front platform of the first car, on which
the passengers would not be allowed in any case. The side of the cab is formed by a door which can be placed
in three positions. When in its mid-position it encloses a part of the platform, so as to furnish a cab for the
motorman, but when swung parallel to the end sills it encloses the end of the platform, and this would be its posi-
tion on the rear platform of the rear car. The third position is when it is swung around to an arc of I 80 degrees,
when it can be locked in position against the corner vestibule post enclosing the master controller. This would
be its position on all platforms except on the front of the front car or the rear of the rear car of the train.

The platforms themselves are not equipped with side gates, but with doors arranged to slide into
pockets in the side framing, thereby giving up the entire platform to the passengers. These doors are
closed by an overhead lever system. The sliding door on the front platform of the first car may be partly
opened and secured in this position by a bar, and thus serve as an arm-rest for the motorman. The doors
close against an air-cushion stop, making it impossible to clutch the clothing or limbs of passengers in closing.





Pantagraph safety gates tor coupling between cars are provided. They are constructed so as to adjust
themselves to suit the various positions of adjoining cars while passing in, around, and out of curves
of 90 feet radius.

On the door leading from the vestibule to the body of the car is a curtain that can be automatically
raised and lowered as the door is opened or closed to shut the light away from the motorman. Another
attachment is the peculiar handle on the sliding door. This door is made to latch so that it cannot slide
open with the swaying of the car, but the handle is so constructed that when pressure is applied upon it to
open the door, the same movement will unlatch it.

Entering the car, the observer is at once impressed by the amount of room available for passengers.
The seating arrangements are similar to the elevated cars, but the subway coaches are longer and wider
than the Manhattan, and there are two additional seats on each end. The seats are all finished in rattan.
Stationary crosswise seats are provided after the Manhattan pattern, at the center of the car. The longitu-
dinal seats are 17^4. inches deep. The space between the longitudinal seats is 4 feet 5 inches.

The windows have two sashes, the lower one being stationary, while the upper one is a drop sash.
This arrangement reverses the ordinary practice, and is desirable in subway operation and to insure safety
and comfort to the passengers. The side \\indo\vs in the body of the car, also the end windows and end
doors, are provided with roll shades with pinch-handle fixtures.






The floors are covered with hard maple strips, securely fastened to the floor with ovalhead brass screws,
thus providing a clean, dry floor for all conditions of weather.

Six single incandescent lamps are placed on the upper deck ceiling;, and a row of ten on each side deck
ceiling is provided. There are two lamps placed in a white porcelain dome over each platform, and the
pressure gauge is also provided with a miniature lamp.

The head linings are of composite hoard. The interior finish is of mahogany of light color. A

mahogany handrail extends
the full length of the clere-
story on each side of the car,
supported in brass sockets at
the ends and by heavy brass
brackets on each side. The
handrail on each side of the
car carries thirty-eight leather

Each ventilator sash is
secured on the inside to a

brass operating arm, manipu-
lated by means of rods run-
ning along each side of the
clerestory, and each rod is operated by means of a brass lever, having a fulcrum secured to the inside
of the clerestory.

All hardware is of bronze, of best quality and heavy pattern, including locks, pulls, handles, sash
fittings, window guards, railing brackets and sockets, bell cord thimbles, chafing strips, hinges, and all other
trimmings. The upright panels between the windows and the corner of the car are of plain mahogany, as
are also the single post pilasters, all of which are decorated with marquetry inlaid. The end finish is of
mahogany, forming a casing for the end door.

At the time of placing the first contract for the rolling stock of the sub\\ay, the question of using an Steel CtZf'S
all-steel car was carefully considered by the management. Such a type of car, in many respects, presented
desirable features for subway work as representing the ultimate of absolute incombustibility. Certain







practical reasons, however, prevented the adoption of an all-steel car in the spring of 1902 when it became
necessary to place the orders mentioned above for the first 500 cars. Principal among these reasons was the
fact that no cars of this kind had ever been constructed, and as the car building works of the country were
in a very congested condition all of the larger . companies declined to consider any standard

specifications even for a short-time delivery, 4r^^b while for cars involving the extensive use

of metal the question was impossible of f ^>W immediate solution. Again, there were

a number of very serious mechan- ^dr ^^. ical difficulties to be studied and


overcome in the construction of such a car, such as avoidance of excessive weight, a serious element
in a rapid transit service, insulation from the extremes of heat and cold, and the prevention of undue
noise in operation. It was decided, therefore, to bend all energies to the production of a wooden car with
sufficient metal for strength and protection from accident, i. e., a stronger, safer, and better constructed car
than had heretofore been put in use on any electric railway in the world. These properties it is believed are
embodied in the car which has just been described.





\ [t 'A Mh Mil I UK I KL'L K

The plan of an all-metal car, however, was not abandoned, and although none was in use in passenger
service anywhere, steps were immediately taken to design a car of this type and conduct the necessary tests
to determine whether it would be suitable for railway service. None of the car-building companies was
willing to undertake the work, but the courteous cooperation of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was
secured in placing its manufacturing facilities at Altoona at the disposal of the Interborough Rapid Transit
Railway Company. Plans were prepared

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Online LibraryInterborough Rapid Transit CompanyInterborough Rapid Transit: the New York subway; its construction and equipment → online text (page 10 of 13)