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24th April 1923, Page 14
24th April 1923
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 14, 24th April 1923 — PASSENGER RAILCA THE CONTINENT.
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THE DEVELOPMENT of railcar transport has attracted considerable attention on the Continent since the armistice. It \vas the subject of an important paper at the recent Brussels Transport Conference, and the economies realized by run-; rung railcars over short lines, especially in these days of reduced rolling stocks, is becoming increas ingly appreciated. The importance of this mbvement, too, has been well realized by the United States Government, and recently its Commercial Attaché at Berlin issued a lengthy rePort on the


Until quite recently very little attention has been paid in this country to the considerable potentialities possessed by the railcar type of vehicle, particularly in respect of passenger transport over branch lines, where the employ-ment of the ordinary type of locomotive, even with but a small number of coaches, is not a paying proposition, and where such rail transport as is provided must absorb some of the profits earned by other sections of line. Even now the attempts Made to utilize railcars prop

n propelled by inter nal,-combustion i

stion engines are, in most instances, only half-hearted, with the result that what may eventually prove a most economical and reliable means of transport for particular purposes is being left for other countries to develop.

It is essential that those who have in their hands the control of our railways should be brought to realize what great progress is being made elsewhere in this direction, and we are therefore dealing at some length with one of the most advanced vehicles which has yet made its appearance. The following types of railcars at present oVerate on German State railways :— (1) Accumulator-driyen cars (Speichertriebwagen). —These passenger cars derive the necessary current for the motors from an accumulator battery fixed in the car. They are capable of running 180 kiloms. at a speed of 60 kiloms. an hour. They are only employed for carrying passengers and luggage.

(2) Benzole-electric cars

(Benzolelektrische, trie bwagere)—Passenger cars provided with a motor employing benzole as its fuel, coupled directly to a continuous current generator. This generator _ furnishes the current under switch control for the axle motors. The speed of these .benzole-electric railcars is GO kilom. per hour, and they are used both for passenger work and luggage carrying.

(3) Cars running on railway tracks are employed for service runs. . They closely resemble ordinary passenger cars, but have wheels with. flaeges. They are used on normal-gauge railways.

(4) Mot or velocipedes (Motordraisimen), used for service runs, are light fourwheeled emergency cars, propelled like Motorcycles by one

cylinder or two cylinder motors. Their maximum speed is 30 kilicims. an hour, and they are callable of carrying four or five persons.

(5) Cars driven directly by benzoicmOtors.—These are light railway passenger cars, equipped with benzole motors, which drive the axles through a gearbox and worm gearing. 1116 Speeds up to 60 kiloms. an hour are obtainable, and both passengers and luggage can be carried. None of these types is designed for hauling freight traffic.

As in this country and in America makers are inclined to favour the construction of railcars on the lines of the motor lorry, a description of the latter type of vehicle may be of interest. IA this des:gn tramcar practice is followed out., so far as body, frame, and running gear are concerned, allowing only' the remaining essentials to be bas:al on lorry constrection.

One of the most popular of this type of railcar is that produced by the National Automobil Gesellschaft, a Berlin firm well known for its production of passenger cars and lorries.

• The lines of the N.A.G. railcar follow -those common to the carriage-s use4 on German light railways. Its overall length is 38 ft. 7 ins., chassis length • 35 ft.. 2 ins., wheelbase 13 ft. 9 ins., and body width 8 ft. 7 ins. It is of the standard gauge—i.e., 56.5 ins. —the diameter of its wheels is .31.5 ins., and the length of its springs 59.2 ins. Two strong railway axles are fitted, and these, running in plain bearings, are self-adjustable when the car is taking a curve. At the rear end of the car is the fuel tank and the lighting and starting battery. The body has a plain crowned roof; adequate ventilation -being provided by opening the upper portion of the hinged side windows, and by lowering the windows of the driver's compit'rtment at each end. Cross seats for 32 .passerigers are provided, whilst three emergency seats,together with luggage space, are allowed for in the driver's compartment at the rear end. In addition, there is ample standing room for another 15 passengers, making a grand total of 50. The passengers' compartment is separated from each of the driver's quarters by sliding doors.

The floor of the body is linoleum-covered, and trapdoors are provided to allow of easy accesstto the various important and, otherwise inaccessible parts of the mechanism. A 250 kw. Bosch lighting generator is installed, and this provides ample current for the supplying of five dome lights and a headlight at each end of the car. The comfort of the passengers is further ensured by utilizing the exhaust gases from the engine to heat suitable radiators installed in the car.

If required, a trailer can be drawn, and provision has been made at each end of the car for the necessary air connections with the brake mechanism of the trailer. All controls are arranged on a facia board in each of the driver's compartments.

The engine, which, as previously mentioned, uses benzole as fuel, has six cylinders cast in pairs, and ii capable of developing 75 b.h.p. at 950 r.p.m. Its overhead valves are operated by push rods and rocker arms from the camshaft, which is situated at the left-hand side. An aluminium cover encloses the four valves of each pair of cylinders, and on the same side are inlet .and exhaust manifolds, together with a high-tension Bosch magneto. Carburation is attended to by an instrument of Pallas make, and a centrifugal ball-type governor limits the maximum speed of the engine. • The lower crankcase i s utilized as an oil reservoir or sump, and atits lowest point an oil pump of the gear type, driven off the camshaft, is carried. This pump delivers the lubricant under pressure to the main and big-end bearings, whilst the pistons and gudgeon pins receive the oil thrown off by the

crankshaft. A centrifugal water pump circulates water both through the jackets and the honeycomb-type radiator, and, if overheating is threatened, the water can tie run through additional Cooling tubes carried along the top of the car—a very effective position where they are exposed to the full blast of air.

A six-cylinder engine . is adopted in order to ensure the best possible balance, whilst, because of its virtual freedom from vibration' no springs or other resilient mountings of any type have been found necessary. A mechanical starting device and a Bosch hand starter are fitted, in addition to an electric starter, so there should be no difficulties on this sebre. An air coMpressor, driven from the engine, supplies compressed air for braking and gear changing.

The arrangement of the gearbox departs considerably from conventional • practice. This is dile tothe fact that the customary hand-operated type was Considered either unwieldy or too difficult to be operated satisfactorily. All .the four gears employed are of the constant-mesh type, but each pair has a separate cone clutch arranged for operation by compressed air. The clutches engage by admitting B17 air to their respective actuating cylinders through one or other of two special control valves fitted to the facia board at each end of the ear. Thus, rapid changes can be effected without any danger of clashing the gears, even though the direct footoperated clutch and the conventional gearshaft are not incorporated in the design. The four speeds of the car are 8, II, 20, and 36 kiloms per hour, the drive being direct on fourth speed.

The -gear set is connected by a horizontal shaft with tWo flexible disc universal joints to a revecse gear contained in a separate housing. This enables the car to travel in either direction with equal facility.

In addition to the air-operated brake, a hand brake similar to that -used on ordinary rolling stock is provided. Contrary to usual railcar practice, neither of the brakes acts directly on the wheel drums, but on a split drum so mounted on the axle that it can be removed without disturbing the wheels of the car ; this is a feature the importance of which cannot be too strongly emphasized, as it greatly assists in permitting easy maintenance, and much reduces the time during which the vehicle has to be out of commission while brake repairs are being carried out.


Organisations: United States Government
Locations: Berlin

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