International Engineering Congress (1901 : Glasgow.

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to " line clear. The train goes on to the " home signal " at the
next station, and puts it to " danger." There is thus always at
least one signal at " danger " in the rear of a train, and no vehicle
can be left on the line if the signals are lowered in a block. An
electro magnet of the " long pull " type operates each signal with
some 250 watts, and the current strength is automatically reduced
to one-tenth as the signal is lowered. The points are electrically-
interlocked with the signals on both lines at the cross-over roads,
and in addition they are mechanically locked. After the author
had fitted the signal work on the Liverpool Overhead Railway, he
fitted a small but complete installation, not automatic, on the
Western Railway of France, by which the signals and points are
all worked by electro magnets, and the points are all locked and
repeating. The Western Railway of France have adopted that
system. Since then he fitted another automatic system on the
small circular railway, two miles in length, in the Paris Exhibition
of 1900, practically on the same lines as that on the Liverpool
Overhead Railway, but the signal arms and magnets, and resistance
and contacts, are all small and light, and encased so as to avoid the
action of wind and weather.

The paper discusses the important non-automatic installation the
* Crewe system" at Crewe, where some 1200 levers are being
fitted, and nearly one-half are finished or well in hand. The
signals are fitted in principle similarly to those on the Liverpool
Overhead Railway, except that a counter weight has been
attached. Each pair of trailing points is operated by a
pair of magnets, but the facing points are operated and locked by
an electric motoi designed and made at Crewe, which, by the aid
of worm gearing, completes the work. The first part of the travel
of the gearing unlocks by half the throw of one rod; then the
other rod moves the points over by a complete throw; and then
the other rod, by the completion of its throw, locks the points
again, and sends a return indication current to the cabin, which
enables the signalman to complete the movement of his lever,
and at the same time the selector rod at the points determines
what signals can be lowered. Unless the points are locked, no
.signals can be lowered.

The 300 lever cabin now being fitted will have only about 150


cables of f-inch diameter, from the cabin, each cable holding
several leads. But if the low pressure pneumatic system were to
be fitted to do the same work, it would require 1200 tubes from
the cabin. This is a condition which is of very serious moment,
and is an important factor in favour of electricity.

The final system to be considered is also entirely electrical, and
embraces a track circuit. It is necessary to describe it, because
there can be no question that in the near future all lines of railway
heavily charged with passengers and goods, mixed traffic, including
fast expresses, must have a track circuit fitted; and there is also
no doubt that the initial difficulties which were met with in the
earlier attempts have been sufficiently overcome to render it a

In this system, as in other systems, the levers in the cabin are,
of course, mechanically interlocked. The signals are worked
with the same magnets and gearing, only more powerful than on
the Liverpool Overhead Railway. The points are operated and
locked by a pair of electro magnets with a 7-inch throw, and the
final travel of the magnets is softened in its force by an air cushion.
At the same time a return current is sent to the cabin -lever, which
completes the throw of the lever and advises that the points
are locked. When the signal is lowered the circuit is completed
in the lever frame, and the lever is held in the forward position
by a small electro magnet, and when the current is broken the
lever goes automatically to the back position. Thus the signal-
man knows what is done. This arrangement enables a track
circuit to be fitted economically. This circuit has a small battery
in each block operating a small magnet, which, when energised,
completes the main circuit.

It should be stated here that, if electric leads for such low
potentials as not over 200 volts are properly fitted, it is absolutely
impossible for any circuit to go wrong. There is no force of
nature so constant, so easilv taken from place to place, or so
instant in its action as electricity.

The Chairman, Sir Douglas Fox, Mr. F. W. Webb, and Mr. W. B.

Worthington took part in the Discussion. The author replied to
their remarks, and also> replied to the Discussion by correspondence.

On the motion of the Chairman a vote of thanks was accorded
to the author.

Sir BENJAMIN BAKER, K.C.M.G., D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S., in the Chair.


Paper by Major C. B. MACAULEY, R.E.


THE Sudan Government Military Railways consist of two branches,
which start from Wadi Haifa and pass through different kinds of
country. One branch goes in a south-easterly direction to Khar-
toum, 576 miles by rail; and the other branch goes in a southerly
direction to Kerma, in the Dongola province, a distance of 203
miles by rail.

The railway was laid primarily to supply an army in the field;
and, partly as a consequence of this, nearly 50 per cent, of it is laid
in desert. This necessitates that every train leaving one terminus
for another shall take five special tank trucks to carry the 9500
gallons of water which are necessary for crossing the waterless


This leaves Wadi Haifa and goes through the Nubian Desert
a flat, waterless, sandy desert with hardly any vegetation to Abu
Hamed (230 miles). This section, on which there are nine stations
for crossing trains, is so flat that it contains a piece of line 45 miles
long without a curve, cutting, or embankment. Water was found at
two places, by sinking wells, at depths of 72 feet and 96 feet.
At a point 126 miles from Wadi Haifa there are small shops and
an engine pit, and at Abu Hamed (230 miles) there is a running
shed and workshop. From this last station to Shereikh (292 miles)
the line follows the river, the country being less flat, and then
makes a detour into the desert to avoid rocky country. At Abadia
(340 miles), where there are shops and engine pits, the line again
approaches the river.

From Abadia to Berber (362 miles) the most important place
on the line between the termini and from Berber to the Atbara
River (385 miles) the line runs across flat plain covered with scrub.
It crosses the river by a seven-span bridge, 1050 feet long, con-
sisting of girders resting on pairs of cylinders sunk into the river
bed upon rock foundations. From this point the line approximately
follows the Nile through flat plain and scrub, avoiding rocky country,
which begins about 3 or 4 miles away from the river. This section,
intersected by numerous watercourses, is liable to being flooded in


the rainy season ; and it is often washed away in places owing to
the few bridges and culverts which exist at present. It was impos-
sible to build these at the time owing to the rate (2000 to 2800
yards- per day, with a maximum of 5100 yards in one day) at which
the line was built. This is now being remedied as quickly as
possible. Owing to the presence of the white ant, steel sleepers
are necessary on this part of the line.

Between the Atbara and Wad Ben Naga (496 miles) there are
five stations, the one at Shendi (471 miles) being of importance,
as it contains workshops, engine pit, coal and general stores. There
are many villages along the river banks, and a considerable amount
of cultivation in the country traversed by this section of the line.

From Wad Ben Naga to Wad Ramleh (545 miles) the line again
traverses desert, and from Wad Ramleh it runs parallel with the
Nile, across a flat plain containing several large villages, till it
reaches Halfaya station, the terminus (576 miles), which is situated
opposite Khartoum on the Blue Nile.

The steepest gradient on this branch is i in 120. The heaviest
pull on the line is from Wadi Haifa to No. 5 station (103 miles),
a difference in level of 1564 feet, and practically up-hill all the
way. And from the latter station to Abu Hamed (230 miles) the
line falls 810 feet, after whith there are no very long gradients.
The usual curves on this branch are 2865 feet radius, the sharpest
being 955 feet.


The line follows the river as far as Sarras (33 miles). For the
first five miles it crosses a flat, sandy plain to the second cataract,
and from there it passes through rocky country. The cuttings
(some 40 feet deep through rock) and embankments on this section
are the largest on the lines. The gradients are numerous and as
steep as i in 60; and the curves are numerous and as sharp as
500 feet radius. There are 24 bridges on this section, mostly iron-
plate girders with stone abutments. The largest is 100 feet long,
in three spans. This section, built years ago, could not have been
constructed in the hurry of an expedition, as the work is generally
far heavier than on any other part of the lines.

At Sarras the line winds in and out of rocky hills, chiefly following
dry watercourses to Akasheh (86 miles). Between these two points
there are two stations for crossing trains, the latter at Ambigole
wells (64 miles) containing a good and constant water supply.
From Akasheh to Ferket (99 miles) the country is so rocky that,
to avoid cuttings, the railway winds in and out in a most extra-
ordinary manner. This part of the line is liable to being washed
away ; but owing to the great expense of laying a safer line it was
considered better to take the present risk.


From Ferket to Kosheh (105 miles) the line runs along the river,
the banks of which are well cultivated. At Kosheh, which has a
small running shed, the river makes a large bend, and the railway
leaves it to go across a fairly flat desert to Dalgo (174 miles).
There are two crossing stations and one 2oo-foot bridge on this
section. From Dalgo the line follows the river for 10 miles and
then crosses the river to Kerma (203 miles), the terminus, where
there is a running shed and workshop. Kerma, the starting place
for steamers to Dongola, is a large village with a considerable traffic
in dates, grain, and ostrich feathers.


The gauge of both branches is 3 feet 6 inches. Vignoles rails
are used, varying from 36 to 50 Ibs. The older sections, especially
the Kerma branch, have the lighter rail. Creosoted and uncreo-
soted wood sleepers, and 8i-lb. steel sleepers, are used. The rails
are fastened to the wooden sleepers by spikes, without bearing
plates, and to the steel sleepers by keys. On the Khartoum branch
the line is only ballasted in a few places ; but this will be remedied
later. Very few bridges exist at present, but more are being
built. The type adopted, with the exception of the Atbara bridge,
consists of steel plate girders in 50 and 30-foot lengths, with rails
laid on the top booms. The culverts consist of 2-foot cast-iron
pipes set in masonry, with an apron on the down-stream side to
prevent scouring away the foot of the bank.

The stations on both branches are rather primitive; but at Hal-
fanya, Shendi, and Haifa there are proper stone buildings. On the
Khartoum branch there are 1 9 crossing, 1 1 watering, and 1 5 coaling
places for trains, and 6 places with triangles no turntables being
used. On the Kerma branch engines can water at 6 points, and
there is a reserve of coal at every station. There are triangles at
3 points. The main workshops are at Wadi Haifa. These com-
prise a running shed holding 12 engines, an erecting shop, a smith's
shop, a machine shop with lathes and other appliances driven by
a 45 H.P. horizontal compound engine, a brass and iron foundry,
a boiler yard, carpenter's shop with circular saws and other ap-
pliances, and also two carriage repairing shops.

Owing to the light rails and bridges on the older sections of the
Kerma branch only one class of engine a four-wheeled, coupled,
30-ton tank engine, drivers 3 feet 9 inches, outside cylinders 14
inches by 20 inches is used. The engines on the Khartoum branch
are heavier, some of them weighing 50 tons. There are seven
types of engines in use due to the rapidity with which they had to
be procured. Some are eight, some six, and some four-wheel
coupled ; the drivers vary from 3 feet 3 inches to 5 feet in diameter ;
all have outside cylinders, of various dimensions. The passenger



stock is of the Indian type; but two trains-de-luxe, with sleeping
and dining cars, and some spare cars are now being bought. The
goods stock consists of high- and low-sided lo-ton trucks, of 1 4-ton
and 1 2-ton covered trucks, and of brake vans, all with double bogies.
There are also some four-wheeled, 5-ton trucks, brake vans, high-
sided trucks, and cattle trucks.

The line is worked on the absolute block system, telephones
being used. There are no safety appliances, such as facing-point
locks, etc. ; but the question of providing these is being considered.
The ordinary train service to Khartoum consists of two fast trains
weekly each way connecting with the two principal mails from
north and to north and one slow train daily each way. The latter
is a goods train and carries south Government supplies, stores,
building materials. It brings back gum, ivory, senna, ostrich
feathers, and grain, and also carries passengers. The service to
Kerma consists of two mail trains each way weekly, connecting as
above with the European mails, and about three or four other trains
weekly each way. A good deal of grain is brought from Kerma
for the army at Khartoum. .Most of the stores are kept at
Wadi Haifa, and owing to the cost of transport they are very dear.
Coal, which costs about ^3 per ton, is stacked in the open.

One of the greatest difficulties experienced on these lines is the
abnormal wear and tear caused by sand. Unskilled labour is
plentiful, but indifferent. Skilled labour is scarce; and, being
imported at present, it is consequently dear. The natives, however,
show a desire to learn trades, and fifty apprentices are now employed
in the workshops at Wadi Haifa. The lines cannot be considered
as finished, but it is estimated that they will be completed in the
course of a year or so.*

The Chairman, Sir Guildford Molesworth, and Sir Douglas Fox
took part in the Discussion; but there was no reply as the author
was at Khartoum.

On the motion of the Chairman a vote of thanks was accorded
to the author.

* The Report was written during midsummer, 1901.

Mr. B. HALL BLYTH. M.A., Vice-Chairman, in the Chair.



AUSTRALLA. is about 2500 miles long by 2000 broad. Its climate
is temperate in the south and tropical in the north. It produces
wool, wheat, horses, cattle, sheep, dairy produce, sugar, coal, gold,
and other metals. Population, 3,800,000 at present, and is
steadily increasing. Divided into five states, which, with the
adjoining island of Tasmania, are united to form the Common-
wealth of Australia.

A coast range runs round most of its perimeter. Outside this
L a comparatively narrow strip of usually fertile country, with
good rainfall and short, swift rivers, navigable only near their
mouths. Inside is a vast shallow basin, with small rainfall, often
arid surface, and long, tortuous rivers, precariously navigable,
which in some cases ultimately reach the sea, but in many others
lose themselves in swamps. This inland basin is useful for
pastoral purposes in the eastern portions, but in the western is a
nearly valueless desert, which, however, has important towns in
it at places where gold abounds.

Railway making commenced at Sydney and Melbourne, the two
largest cities (now possessing about 500,000 inhabitants each), soon
after 1850. Melbourne, together with some other parts, acting
under advice, r.dopted the 5 feet 3 in., or Irish, gauge. Sydney,
after having agreed to 5 feet 3 inches, went back to 4 feet 8J inches.
Queensland somewhat later adopted 3 feet 6 inches; so did
Tasmania and Western Australia. Thus a most unfortunate con-
fusion of gauges has come into existence.

There aie now 12,554 miles of State railways in Australia, of
which 3725 are 5 feet 3 inches; 2811, 4 feet 8J inches; 5970, 3 feet
6 inches; and 48 miles, 2 feet 6 inches, as well as about 1000
miles of private line, mostly 3 feet 6 inches.


In crossing the coast range and its spurs severe grades and high
summit levels occur. The western line of New South Wales rises
3300 feet in 30 miles, requiring long continuous grades of i in 33,
and in one case nearly two miles of i in 30. The northern line of


Victoria rises 1880 feet in 42 miles, having long grades of i in 50.
The line from Adelaide to Brisbane, via Melbourne and Sydney,
crosses the coast range six times, and reaches a summit level of
4473 feet. Of its total length of 1783 miles, 134 are above 3000,
409 above 2000, and nearly 800 above 1000 feet -grades ascending
and descending 1000 feet in 10 to 12 miles, and having inclinations
of i in 50, i in 40, and even in one instance i in 30 occur.

Grades have in some cases been recently improved, but this
cannot be done where they are continuous for many miles, as is
the case at some of the most difficult parts.


In Victoria 40 chain curves are usual on main lines, but in New
South Wales and South Australia curves as sharp as 12 and even
TO chains occur at mountainous parts. On the 3 feet 6 inches
gauge 5 chain curves are usual.


The double-headed rail originally used has for many years been
given up, and a steel rail of Vignoles pattern substituted. 100 Ibs.
per yard is standard for busy suburban; 80 for main lines; and
60 for branch lines are common on the wider gauges.

The lines are well made, with good storm ballast and heavy
eucalyptus sleepers. Accidents from derailment are rare.


In the eastern colonies large use is made of the local timber
for bridges, culverts, and viaducts, but there are many fine iron
and steel bridges over the larger rivers. The Hawkesbury Bridge
in New South Wales, the Albert Bridge in Queensland, and the
Mowabool and Melton Viaducts and Echuca Bridge in Victoria
are noteworthy.

Tunnels are not numerous. New South Wales possesses the
greatest number and length. Tunnels are always substantially
lined, and give but little trouble.

Stations usually of English type. Permanent stations are not
yet built in Melbourne or Sydney, but are about to be constructed.
Signalling appliances of English type. Interlocking points and
signals usual at important stations and junctions.


Owing to severity of grades and character of traffic, power is
required rather than speed; hence small wheels and coupling are
general. The Victoria standard engines are four or six coupled,
with inside cylinders. Those of New South Wales, four, six,
or eight, coupled with outside cylinders and leading bogie. Six
coupled engine? ,rf 56 tons, not including the tender, and indicating


over 1000 horse power, are used for express trains on the heavy
grades. On the 3 feet 6 inches lines outside cylinder engines,
with small wheels, from six to eight coupled, are general!
American engines are used to some extent, especially on sharp
curves; but English, or locally made engines of English type, are
usually preferred as being more economical in point of fuel con-
sumption and repairs. The Westinghouse brake is general. One
private line in Tasmania uses the Abt rack on a i in 1 6 grade, the
gauge being 3 feet 6 inches.


Usually of European type, with steel under-frames and four or
six wheeled bogies. The later ones on the broader gauges have
a corridor at one side, lavatories and sanitary conveniences, and are
lit with Pintsch gas. Sleeping cars of the' Pullman type are used
in New South Wales, and of the Mann type between Melbourne
and Adelaide.


Usually of English type on four wheels, but occasionally double
bogie vehicles are seen. Special wagons for carrying sheep, cattle,
frozen meat, and dairy produce are used. The Westinghouse brake
is usually fitted.


The largest suburban system is at Melbourne. The principal
station has 500 trains in and the same number out each day. The
accommodation is good, and the fares very low, is 4^d first-class
return to a point n miles from town, and one shilling first-class
leturn to one 9 miles out being representative fares. In one special
case the charges for 9 miles are only 4 |d first return and 3d second.


Australian railways are usually made and worked by the State.
The system is generally approved, in spite of certain dangers and
mistakes in the past. Each system has a Commissioner, or Board
of Commissioners at its head. The Commissioners are permanent
officials of very high standing.

The average cost per mile of Australian railways up to date, and
percentage of net revenue to capital, is as follows :

,_.. Cost per mile. nett revenue.

Victoria ,12,300 ... 3.07

New South Wales 13,700 ... 3.63

South Australia 7,500 ... 3.90

Queensland 6,900 ... 2.67

West Australia 5,000 ... 5.81

Tasmania 8,200 i.ii


In conclusion, Australian railways, despite minor defects, are
substantial, safe, and efficient, and of immense value to the com-
munities they serve.

The Chairman took part in the Discussion; but as the author
was in Australia he was unable to reply.

On the motion of the Chairman a vote of thanks was accorded
to the author.

The meeting was then adjourned.


Mr. JOHN STRAIN, Vice-Chairman, in the Chair.




THE important national and local advantages of a tunnel between
Great Britain and Ireland are not discussed in this paper, which
deals only with the engineering questions involved.


The first question considered is the selection of a site for the
tunnel. Three positions suggest themselves. First, the nearest
approach of Great Britain to Ireland is at the Mull of Cantyre,
where the distance to the Co. Antrim is 12 J miles. The next
position in point of distance is from Wigtownshire, where the Scotch
coast comes within 21 to 25 miles of Ireland. The third position
is from Holyhead to Howth.

The maximum depth of water on the Cantyre route is 460 feet ;
on the Wigtownshire route the depth varies according to the line
selected, and is from 480 to 900 feet; and the greatest depth on
the Holyhead route is 432 feet.

The strata of the Cantyre route are lower Silurian; on the
Wigtownshire route to Antrim, Silurian for the most part, but over-
laid near the Irish coast by new red sandstone and the Keuper
marls; between Wigtownshire and the Co. Down, lower Silurian
throughout ; from North Wales to Dublin would be in the Cambrian

The first of these positions has to be abandoned on account of
its not forming a practically useful connection.

The second forms a direct line between Carlisle and Belfast,
the business centre of Ireland, and gives the best route from
Scotland to all Ireland, and for the North of England to Ireland.

The third route would connect London best with Dublin, but
would be of little use as between Scotland and Ireland, and being
more than double the length of the second route, it has to be
abandoned, and the second route adopted for the present project.



On the second route two lines are considered one from Port-
patrick, Wigtownshire, tt> Donaghadee, Co. Down; the other from
near Corsewall Light to the Co. Antrim, with a curve in the centre to
pass round the north end of the Beaufort Dyke, a deep valley or
gorge in the bottom of the sea, which runs for 30 miles north and
south seven miles from the Scotch coast. The channel bed north
of this Dyke is comparatively level.

A tunnel under Beaufort Dyke would involve very serious diffi-
culties and probably dangers.


The tunnel line adopted begins at the Stranraer Railway Station,

Online LibraryInternational Engineering Congress (1901 : GlasgowReport of the proceedings and abstracts of the papers read → online text (page 4 of 37)