MR. WHISTIA.W'S RAILWAYS Or GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
IN an Analysis of Raihnays, published nearly four years ago, when none of the great lines were opened, and many of them hardly "begun or not begun, Mr. WMSHAW gave a descriptive and cri- lical report on the various schemes which had procured legislative sanction, or been dropped for the session. The speculations of 1837 were vast and startling, whether one regarded the extent of the .proposed ways," the difficulties to be overcome, or the motley to be expended : but the performance (rare case !) has outdone the promise. And now our civil engineer is again in the field with a scientific account of the railways completed or in progress, de- rived from a "railway-trip extending over something like 7,000 miles," and procured from parties officially connected with the rail- -ways,—though in some few instances Mr. WHISRAW'S applications 'seem to have been repelled with mystification or coolness ; but this conduct was the exception.
The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland, visited and described, .are fifty-eight in number ; and as a similar mode of treatment is adopted as regards each, varying only in the number and minute- ness of the particulars, an account of one description will suffice for.all. First, then, an introduction gives a sort of history of the .origin of the railway, with any remarks or reflections which the circumstances suggest ; a short account of the Act of Parliament comes next, with the-manner in which the -funds have beet, raised ; -followed by particulars connected with the opening of the line.
The scientific branches of the railway are discussed in seven heads or chapters, from the shortest "radius of curvature," and the "gra- dients," to the viaducts, bridges, and tunnels. Eight headings are devoted to the economical management, including stations, dein:its, carriages, locomotives, fares, and the staff or establishment of the railway. Four more short sections dispose of financial topics, under the heads of original estimate, actual cost, annual expendi- ture, and annual revenue.
It will be guessed that the character of this work is too strictly professional to afford much matter for popular extract ; but a fee railway facts may he gleaned from various heads. The difference between-an-estimated and an actual outlay is proverbial,-but‘ it was perhaps never more strikingly exemplified than in railways,—unless some Government undertakings-may carry off the palm. The first estimate for the London and South- western (the Southampton) Railway was 13,000/. per mile ; when the works had made some progress, the estimate was increased to 22,167/. per mile ; up to 30th June 1840, the actual cost was 26,788/. per mile. The Great Western, we fancy, will exceed this by a considerable amount ; but the particulars are not given, and indeed cannot be till the completion of the work. However, the first estimate for the whole line was two millions and a half; four millions and a half were already expended up to the 30th of last June, though not much more, we believe, than two-thirds of the distance is finished. The receipts, however, even on the unfinished line, are consider- able,-243,159l. for one year, leaving a profit of 117,041/. Some of this difference between estimate and outlay doubtless arises from the sanguine temper of man, which, shutting the mind to the reality, always hopes for success in despite of the experience of others; part of it maybe attributed to the difference between theory and practice, especially in new undertakings; part .Mr. WursaAw assigns to less creditable motives. " We have heard it frequently remarked," he says, "that if real estimates had been sent forth to capitalists, not a tithe of the present extent of railway communication would have been effected." * * * " Thedictum of a provisional committee has in more than one instance been imperative ; and the disfigured estimate has been sent .forth -as a decoy-bird .to delude the unwary." May not committees have sometimes been deceived ? It is more for the-interest of surveyors, contractors, et id genus oinne, to have, these works. carried on, than for anybody else ; and- of .yore it was a standing maxim with many of the tribe, that if.people knew at first what things were to cost, works would never be begun.
The most _expensive lines are, of course, those in the neighbour- hood of London, from the value .of the land andof the _property to be purchased, as well as from the shortness of .several ; the legal and other extra expenses, if not costing, as much for a short line as a long one, being much higher in proportion. The cost of the Brighton Railway, which is carried through the most.difficult country that could have been chosen, will not, it is supposed, exceed 38,0001. a mile; the cost of the London and Croydon Railway, including the furnishing of engines, &c., reaches 70,2391. per mile ; that of Green- wich 170,778/. per mile, exclusive of the terminal stations; that of Blackwell-is not yet ascertained, but it will exceed even Green- wich, and perhaps approach 200,000/. per mile. The total as- certained cost on the Blackwell to the 30th June was 643,343r; of which the works amounted to _214,5731., and.the property pur- chased on a line of some two miles and a half was 330,8141.The cost of the land, &c. for the 76 miles of the South-western was only 291,0201.; though, be assured, the Company paid quite enough. for it. In the way of lawyers' charges, the Brighton line, we take it, bears the bell. The expense of the Parliamentary contest was as follows-
Rennie's Line £72,000 Stephenson's 53,750 Cundy's 16,500 Gibb's 26,325 South-eastern (about) .25,000
ADD already expended on the line finally chosen—
Parliamentary expenses £4,240 Law expenses 8,311 12,55!
We are indeed a rich and enterprising people! What other nation in the world either could or would scatter about hundreds of thousands in this way to procure permission to spend millions more, in a speculation where success mustbe doubtful?
Yet the receipts on the finished undertakings equally exhibits our wealth. Take the Birmingham for example. The original esti- mate of this railway was two millions and a half; the actual outlay was upwards of five millions and a half; the total annual expense, for the year ending 30th June 1840, was 277,7811., excluding in- terest on loans and reserved fund, which would raise it to 422,4671.: but the receipts from passengers alone were 505,479/., and the profit upwards of a quarter.of a million. As this is an undertaking which, as JOHNSON said of POPE'S Horner, "no age nor nation can pretend to equal," we present an account or two.
BILL FOR THE BIRMINGHAM RAILWAY.
Land and compensation
.£ 706,152 5 2 Railway works and stations 4,287,646 18 10 Engines and tenders, tools anclimplernents 146,910 5 1.1 Coaches, trucks, waggons. &c. 189,187 4 5 Acts of Parliament 72,868 18 10
Law-charges, conveyancing, engineering, advertising,
printing, direction, office -expenses, salaries, &sundries 167,983 .3
Interest on loans, previous to general opening on the
17th September 1838 127,493 0 6 Debenture charges 133 7 0 £5,698,375 4 7
Maintenance of way, including slips, &c. £80,763
13 11 Locomotive power, including salaries, wages, coal, coke, oil, tallow, waste, &c.; expenses of pumping engines at stations ; repaira of engines and tenders ; superintend- ence; and all other charges 69,003 Police-account, including wages, clothing, &c. 22,243 11 9
Coaching-aceflunt, including salaries, wages, clothing of
guard: and porters, gas, oil, tallow, and stores 47,611 9 4
Merchandise-department, including salaries, wages, inci-
dental expenses, and repairs of waggons 5,319 16 2 Stores-department, including salaries, &c. 1,948 15 1 General charges, including law-proceedings, advertising and printing, direction, office-charges, sundries, includ- ing travelling-expenses 13,453 5 11 Rata and taxes 13,434 7 3 Mileage-duty to Government 22,848 9 1 Accident-account 1,164 10 6 £277,781 8 1 Fund for depreciation of locomotive engine and carriage stock 26,338 0 0 Interest on loans for twelve months 115,848 2 2 Rent of Aylesbury line for one year 2,500
0 Total annual cost £422,467 10 3 ANNUAL INCOME.
9 8 Conveyance of mails 14,676 16 1 Conveyance of parcels 41.784 2 7 Conveyance of horses, carriages, and dogs 31,738 7 8 Conveyance of merchandise 91,335 18 7 Conveyance of cattle 2,089 14 0 £687,104 8 7
If the money part is wonderful, the mechanical is equally sur- prising. As an example, we take
THE PLYING POST-OFFICE.
The post-office is fitted up in two compartments ; the one as the sorting- room, and the other chiefly for the letter-bags, which are distributed and col- lected at the different places along the line. The sorting-room is fitted up with a mahogany counter and drawers; above the counter are several tiers of shelves with vertical divisions, forming small compartments for the proper arrangement of letters and newspapers, each compartment having the name of the place neatly labelled on the outside, for which the letters or newspapers are respectively intended. The assistant has a small desk or counter in the bags' compartment, and also a contrivance of net-work without, for receiving the letters from the different postmasters along the line without stopping the train. The hags are also left at the requisite places while the train is in motion.
We had an opportunity last winter of accompanying one of the Post-office clerks for some miles on his journey ; and he most politely explained to us the whole system of sorting, leaving, and collecting the letters ; which appeared to us susceptible of very little improvement ; but one thing forcibly struck us, viz, the necessity of warming this carriage, which, during the winter months, is miserably cold.
The length of the post-office is 16 feet, and including buffers 18 feet 9 inches; the width is 7 feet sif inches; the height of body 6 feet 6 inches, and including under-frame, 7 feet 6 inches. The weight is 4 tons 1 cwt. 2 qrs. The weight of the clerks, hags, &c. is estimated at 2 tons 7 cwt. 3 qrs.
The past-office is accompanied by a tender, something similar to a horse-box in size ; its weight is 2 tons 7 cut. 3 qrs. The gross weight of the post-office establishment is taken at 9 tons 1 cwt.
Appended to the descriptive accounts of the railways, are a variety of practical experiments, made upon different lines, under a great variety of circumstances; the leading object being to test the speed of the train and the power of the engines. An example, from the London and Croydon Railway, will give a better notion of this branch of Mr. WHIsuAw's work than any description.
"No. 2 (particular.) June 21, 1839.—From Croydon to London ; distance 10-37 miles. Train, six carriages ; average gross load, 48,972 pounds; distance performed in 32.10 minutes ; four stoppages, occupying together 2.50 minutes. Time in motion, 29.60 minutes ; average speed throughout equal to 21'02 miles per hour ; highest rate of speed, 37.50 miles, on New Cross declivity of 1 in 100. The descent of this plane was commenced at the rate of 30 miles; by application of the brakes it was reduced in the last half-mile to the average rate of 23-07 miles an hour. At the 1-mile about the New Gross station the speed WAS reduced to the rate of 10.34 miles an hour." After having exhausted the actual, Mr. WHISHAW turns his at- tention to the speculative, and propounds a plan for a reciprocating system of railways. The principle of this project is to have but one line of rails : the carriages to start so as to meet each other at their respective stations, where, by a short double line, and by contrivances scarcely to be made intelligible without a diagram, they would drop their passengers, take up new ones, and pass each other. The object of this plan is to carry railroads through the poorer and more thinly-peopled districts. Without some " economical and at the same time efficient system is introduced," says Mr. WnisHAw, "a -large mass of the population will be for ever debarred of the comforts and conveniences afforded to those places which are in- cluded in the catalogue of railway cities, towns, or districts." Per- haps they will not merely be relatively but positively worse, since the operation of railways is to diminish the use of all other modes of public conveyance. How far Mr. WHIsuAw's plan will effect his ,purpose, is matter for experiment. The essential characteristic of it, so far as we can judge, isa rigid economy throughout. In all that .concerns ornament—as architectural stations—this is well ; but we .suspect it is pushed too far in the plan of the single lute of rail ; 'because the only saving is the trilling outlay for the additional land and the expense of a somewhat increased breadth of the road. 'This-last, no doubt, would be an important -item where tunnels and embankments -are required ; but no sensible persons, aiming at profit, would attempt to overcome -such obstacles either for single or double lines in a poor country. Mr. -WIIISI1AW estimates the highest cost of his reciprocating railways with single lines at 15,435/. per mile : that part of the Ulster Railway which is com- pleted cost only 13,8841.; and the Northern and Eastern, carried as yet mainly'through the flat lands of Essex, only 12,873/. per mile. Mr. WHISHAW indeed may say, that he allows for viaducts, tunnels, &c. Our objection is to the prudence of attempting such things at all, where there is no immediate prospect of alarge traffic. A country at once poor and mountainous must do without rail- roads.
'Mr. WntsnAw's volume is fully illustrated by plates, plans, and diagrams, and a railway map of Great Britain and Ireland ; where one might divine the physical features of the country or the mental sluggishness of the people by the line of ways. Whilst the 'Mid- land and Northern-parts of England are thickly set with railroads, Wales the mountainous, Norfolk, &c. the agricultural, and the West not particularly distinguished for any thing, are bare.