Abbildungen der Seite




get them. So long as they report to any defects which may exist and are faithful and loyal to our interests, we will take care that we will get over any troubles which may develop. We are half over a trouble as soon as we know just what it is. One of these troubles you have on overhead line, and that is the liability of the line being struck by lightning. There has never been to my knowledge any lightning device that has been entirely successful in diverting lightning strokes, until quite recently. We have now got lightning pretty well harnessed. We have had lightning strike the car when the

was operating it; he simply hears the “click” and sees the spark, and that is the end of it. I am perfectly willing to ride on the car in the heaviest thunder storm that was ever known. With our latest devices the lightning cannot get into the station or into the motors, except to go where we wish it; it is a trouble of the past, and is now entirely remedied.

Mr. McCreery: Will Mr. Sprague say how many cars he intends to run in Boston ?

Mr. Sprague: The total length of the line will be about twelve miles, two or three miles of conduit put in by the Bentley-Knight Electric Company; the balance, which is about six or seven miles of double and single track, aggregating ten miles of single track, is to be operated by the overhead line; there will be twenty cars, and three cleaning cars run. The central station, which is at a place called Allston, near the middle of the line, is equipped with over four hundred horse power of engines and dynamos. This is in excess of the needs required for the trial; but the President of the West End Street Railway of Boston is one of the most progressive of street-railway Presidents; and he is fully confident that electric railway propulsion in some form or other will succeed. The station will be large enough to do the haulage of a good many cars if the road is equipped with electricity, whether it be by the conduit, overhead or storage battery system, He will have a station which can handle all the cars that he will need for the service on that line, as easily as it will handle the twenty cars with which the experiment is to be made. When you are putting in a dynamo, it is as easy to make arrangements for a hundred horse power as it is for ten.

Mr. Lawless: On September 12th I was in the city of Richmond, and I found that the car houses at either end of the road contained twenty-eight out of the forty cars, which is the full complement of the road, and they were evidently idle. I asked what the reason was, and they said that the motor on the cars burned out. We asked what was the cause of it, and were told that there had been twelve days of very rainy weather. I then went to a point where I could see the cars quite a distance both ways as they came along; and I found that they were running from a quarter of an hour to an hour and a half apart. Now, I should like to ask whether that condition of things occurs often; I should also like to ask what the cost of repairing the motors is after they are burned out; and thus we can get at something practical. I know positively what I assert, that on the day mentioned they were running in the condition mentioned. I do not assert the cars were burned out; I was only told that.

Mr. Sprague : The management of that road has been characterized by the grossest mismanagement. I want to place the responsibility for an accident on electric roads where it belongs. If you have a cable and some ignorant fellow shoves a spike into it, and lays up the system, are you going to blame the cable ? So with the electric railway ; if it is run through mud and slush in the street, seven inches below the water line, and by so doing the machinery is deranged, and the motors are left in the streets uncovered, and not even cleaned in nine months, if anybody is responsible, it is the men in charge. No machine will stand this sort of usage.

So far as natural and expected depreciation is concerned, the Company I represent is amply able and willing to make a reasonable guarantee as to the depreciation of motors where instructions as to their use and care are faithfully and intelligently carried out. They are not to be abused and left in the street and treated as if they were solid iron. To-day there are not less than thirty-eight out of the forty cars ready for operation. We have now got a good, careful man there, and he wrote to me the other day that they have no difficulty whatever in maintaining twenty-nine out of thirty cars in operation; and out of forty cars there should be thirty-six ready for actual operation. I have told you the Richmond machines are overloaded. Nobody knows that better than I do. The machines which were built for seven horse power are obliged to operate up to ten or twelve horse power, and consequently are greatly overloaded. The Richmond motor is only one type of machine to meet one condition of travel We have now machines whose capacity, working steadily, is thirteen or fourteen horse power, and which may be worked up to eighteen or twenty, and will not only carry the ordinary load in Richmond of twelve or fifteen thousand pounds weight, but will take twenty or thirty thousand pounds up a ten per cent. grade. The new machine is one which can be absolutely and perfectly enclosed, so that it will be water and dust and oil proof. You cannot get water into them ; and I believe they will run for a month without oiling. But you cannot yet take an electric machine through six or eight inches of water with no covering, without laying it up. So far as depreciation on machines is concerned, ordinary machine practice is to reckon the wear and tear at ten per cent. a year. I believe I am justified in saying that in the near future the depreciation of an electric machine on a street-railway car will be but little more than that of the ordinary steam engine with equal care and duty, but we prefer to put the figure a little higher now, and be on the safe side. A reasonable amount of care and attention will save nine-tenths of any trouble which will happen on an electric car.

Mr. Sinclair : What will it cost ?

Mr. Sprague : Ordinarily about one hundred dollars per horse power; sometimes as low as seventy-five or eighty, according to the conditions of the proposed plant.

Mr. Lawless : I just wished to give the gentleman the result of my investigations, as I have visited several electrical lines for the purpose of seeing what was in them.

Mr. Hendrie, of Detroit : I would like to ask if it is a common occurrence in Richmond to have eighteen men in the repair shops there. I counted that many the day before yesterday.

Mr. Sprague: It ought not to be, but I do not hold myself responsible for that road. If you want to inquire about certain other roads which are properly managed, I shall be glad to refer you to the gentlemen in charge of them.

Mr. Littell, of Louisville: What is the cost of repairs to dynamos?

Mr. Sprague: The depreciation on dynamos not over five per cent., and on motors it ought not to exceed about twelve per cent. We are willing to guarantee it, provided your men will give the ordinary and proper care to the machines which should be given.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Pratt, of Worcester: When the armatures are burned out from any cause, what does it cost to renew them?

Mr. Sprague: I do not know that I am justified in answering that question; it is a commercial matter, and depends on circumstances. Your bill might be fifty dollars, more or less, and certainly would be reasonable.

Mr. Pratt: It is commonly stated that it would cost two hundred dollars.

Mr. Sprague: I will guarantee the depreciation if you will pay me so much, and observe ordinary care in the use of the machines. It makes no difference what is deranged, we will keep it in repair. The manufacture of this class of machinery enables us to take out an armature which has burned out and substitute another for it, without much loss of time. These things develop, as everything connected with electricity has developed, to more and more perfect work. We are gaining experience every day, and to know what the trouble is is more than half the battle. The motor that is built to stand four or five hundred volts and a ground circuit will be the best for either the storage battery, conduit or overhead systems. The motor that is built to meet all these varied conditions of service, the most arduous conditions as well as the lightest, must eventually be through evolution, a practical, hard-headed sort of machine.

The President: The President will say, on behalf of the Association, that we are very gratified to Mr. Sprague for his remarks and the many points and facts of interest to us all which he has brought before our attention.



Mr. Robert W. Blackwell, of New York, of the Bentley-Knight Electric Railway Company: A year ago I had the pleasure of addressing you at the Philadelphia meeting. I spoke of a good many things then that we would do during the year to come ; and we have fulfilled most of them. We were at that time about to run the road at Allegheny City, a little over a mile in conduit and about three miles overhead. We have run that road now with two cars since the middle of December. Since the middle of February we have run four cars, and for the last six weeks we have run six cars. That road is doing to-day, I think, the heaviest work done anywhere in the world by electric motive power. Of the entire length of the road, sixty per cent. is in curves, and there is a total rise of two hundred and ninety-five feet in 4,900 feet, the steepest grade being twelve and a half per cent. We are using exceptionally powerful motors, the heaviest in the country, there being thirty nominal horse power on every car, and each pair of motors develop at times seventy-five horse power. The road, I think, is subject to the worst conditions of any road in the country.

After a storm the water comes running down like a freshet through the side roads and rushes into the conduit; the mud is phenomenal, the pavement is bad, but there has never been a stoppage caused by any defect in motor mechanism or conduit construction. While the road was still in the constructor's hands a fire in the car house destroyed half of the cars, and in consequence the road was not deliverable until the early part of June. Since that time the road has been operated by the Observatory Hill Passenger Railway Company. As to expense, I would briefly say that the entire operating cost of the road, including interest upon the investment, is under sixty-five dollars per day. While I was last in Allegheny the receipts of the line were as follows :

September 23, 2017 September 24, $116 ; September 25, $151 ; September 26, $153. During this period only five cars were in operation, some alterations in the power station rendering it impossible to get power for all of the six cars. The average daily mileage of each car was eighty-five miles. During the four weeks while the road was being operated by the railway company on trial preparatory to its being accepted from us as contractors, the expense and receipts for four cars (the original number ordered), was as follows: For the week ending

Expense. Receipts.
May 12th....


$453.60 19th..


443.90 26th.


527.90 June 2d


664.40 The two succeeding weeks were as follows : June 9th....


$600.70 16th...

601.00 The fact that a number of men were, during these weeks, working on the road-bed, accounts for the difference in the expense column for these weeks.


« ZurückWeiter »