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During the above period the average mileage per car per day was seventy-five miles.
During the time that we have been working on this road we have met every possible difficulty and have met it successfully. The grades and curves are, I think, greater than those anywhere yet operated by a self-propelled motor without aids to traction.
The specialty to which the Bentley-Knight Company desires to call your attention is the conduit system.
We have laid the only conduits ever worked successfully, and our desire is to introduce the conduit form of construction upon city roads. Of course we put up elevated conductors as well, and build roads partially overhead and partially conduit. We have successfuly met every difficulty from insufficient drainage, floods, mud, crossings of other roads, switches, turnouts, excessive loads and the like. I think it is fair to say that the conduit line at Allegheny City, although short, is a practical solution of the question of the adaptability of electricity to city railway service. We are now laying, as Mr. Sprague has just informed you, a threemile section for the West End Street Railway Company, of Boston. Over that conduit, a section of which we have here for your inspection, will be operated motors supplied by several companies; and upon that road, both the conduit and overhead systems will, I think, receive the best and most thorough test that has ever been made of electrics in their application to city street-railway service. These cars will be run in competition, undoubtedly, and will be forced to run against each other, both on the overhead and underground systems. The result of that trial will, I think, decide the future. There can, probably, be no more thoroughly fair and square test than that afforded by the West End Company.
The cost of conduit ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 per track mile-taking into consideration average cost of drainage and average difficulties-the smaller figure applying to our lesser and the larger to our greater cities, the difference being largely caused by the cost of providing against the strain to which the conduit will be exposed from traffic over the slot, and climatic changes.
We do not object to the overhead system wherever the municipal authorities will allow the placing of a network of suspended wires. As the cost of elevated conductors should not exceed, at most, $3,000 per double mile of track, that system can be advantageously laid where the cost of conduit would preclude its adoption. As is now done at Allegheny City, elevated wires in the suburbs are a most effective supplement to a conduit system in the paved and sewered streets of a city. The tendency to the cheapest forms of construction where suspended wires are used, is, however, to be greatly deprecated, and much trouble and uncertainty of operation has been caused by the employment of the cheapest design, material and labor, to the general damage of electrics in the eyes of practical men.
I have not mentioned our dynamos, motors and mechanical constructions as applied to the equipment of the cars themselves. All that is good, reliable and efficient is claimed by every electric man for his own particular plant. What has been said by the other gentleman applies therefore to what my Company furnishes. We, as well as the others, have the best of everything, and in support of that statement, refer to what we are now doing and to the work laid out for us in the coming year. During the coming winter there will be, not only in Boston, but in Allegheny, and possibly in New York, a thoroughly good, careful test of exactly how an electrical conduit system will work during the winter months; and in each place where it is to be constructed, the difficulties are such that their solution will meet the requirements of every road there is in the United States.
Mr. Wm. Richardson : Where will the conduit system be seen in New York ?
Mr. Blackwell : During the last week arrangements have been entered into between the Company that has been trying to put a road through Fulton street, New York, and the opposing Company, and at last an agreement has been signed, as I understand, which places the Fulton street line in a position where it can construct half of its road from Broadway to Fulton Ferry at once.
I will say that the material for that line was prepared a year ago; and we have endeavored constantly to get the matter in some position where the road could be built. We understand now that half of the line can be built before the middle of November. The cars will probably not be delivered until the month following.
In closing, I would say that there are many motors to-day offered to you by many companies, and that in selecting an electrical machine, the same care, scientific and mechanical, should
be taken as is taken in the selection of any other machine for the application of power.
Price is a poor criterion, the cheapest is rarely the best; and furthermore, the extraordinary attempts now made by the electric companies to underbid each other and get work on whatever terms, lead to all kinds of disastrous results, not only to the seller but to the buyer as well.
There is another fact that we have to meet, and that is, that while the electric motor car takes the place, not only of the present car but of the horses as well, it only gets the care that is now given to the car, and none of the care that is given to the horses. Now you cannot expect a mechanical thing to well and successfully, unless it is well taken care of, and unless the same care and attention is given to it as is given to other machinery. Somebody must take care of all mechanical things ; somebody must keep the mechanism in good and proper shape, and unless so kept up, it will be a dismal failure.
Mr. Woodworth: I should like to hear from the ThomsonHouston Company. Mr. Mansfield is here and represents that system, and a good many of us would be glad to hear from him. REMARKS OF MR. GEORGE W. MANSFIELD ON THE
OVERHEAD ELECTRIC SYSTEM. Mr. George W. Mansfield, of New York, of the Thomson Houston Electric Company: Mr. President and gentlemen of the Association. I know that it is rapidly approaching the hungry man's dinner hour, and I think that the merits of the Thomson-Houston system in incandescent and arc lighting, stationary motors and its new railway work, are so well appreciated and being so thoroughly recognized by all, that any lengthy remarks made here would be unnecessary.
I would, however, like to state one or two facts on one or two matters which I think pertinent. First and foremost, we invite the most accurate and minute inspection of all the street-railway men at this gathering or in this country to our system. There is nothing covered up, there is nothing to be hidden, and there is no secret about it which we do not want you all to possess.
We clearly recognize that to have our system adopted by street-railway men, they must first know about it, and they can only know it by thoroughly investigating and ascertaining all that it is possible to learn. For my part, I should prefer to have every streetrailway manager or superintendent an electrician; and I agree with Mr. Blackwell in his remarks that the electrical motor, as a mechanical construction, must have care and supervision, and must have intelligent inspection. They cannot run covered with slime and grease; they cannot run where moisture is prevalent, and where the rain is going to beat down upon them and flood them, and they cannot run under a great many other circumstances, which many street-railway men suppose they can run under. We have here in Washington, running from Seventh street out to the boundary line, and then beyond to Eckington, about two miles of road. Upon that road is exemplified most of the details of our system, our truck, with its mode of suspension of the motor, this motor being one with the truck and not suspended from the car, the form of the motor, the form of the gearing the contact arm, the armature, the brush-holder, the brushes, and the manner of controlling the motors, all of which are pertinent points that every one of you must familiarize yourself with before you can intelligently select an electric motor for your roads. Upon this road you will see two cars running. We did not intend originally to hurry the line through so rapidly, but to take proper time and adjust everything carefully, but due to solicitations we have pushed matters, and now, as I say, we have two cars in operation on the line.
Regarding the overhead work, and it is entirely constructed with the overhead system, I would say that the three methods most generally in use are there shown. One method which has not been applied in any other city in the United States, to my knowledge, and is destined to take a prominent position in the construction of overhead lines in large cities, is the location of the poles in the centre of the street between the tracks. New York avenue is broad, and therefore, this method is permissible. Along through a cut just beyond the boundary is what we call the “bracket method; that is, one pole on the side of the street, and arms extending from that pole. Further out is what we call the cross suspension method. In this method the poles are upon both sides of the street, with supporting wires reaching
If you give this road your careful inspection, you will see there these three methods exemplified. We would like to call your attention to our commutators and cone insulators; also to the attachment of the car to the top of the conductor, so that it
allows a perfectly smooth and free surface on the under side of the wire for the trolley wheels to roll upon. We would like, also, to call your attention to the frogs for cross-overs and the curve-ears.
I note that the electricians and electrical constructors of different companies are sometimes prone to offer apologies and excuses, and say we are not quite ready and have not got everything done; but we are going to do such and such a thing, and are going to do this and that. We have done in the limited time which the United States Senate would allow to us, we feel, a fairly creditable amount of work. This line, it must be remembered, was put up under some opposition. There was a law framed by the United States Senate that no more wires should be put up after a certain day. This law bothered us a good deal, and we had to push around very lively to get our overhead work up before the expiration of this date. But we succeeded in accomplishing our object, and our cars are now running, and we invite your careful inspection of the line. Before taking my seat I would like to ask one other favor of the street-railway men, and that is, that as the Thomson-Houston electricians do not know to-day all there is to be known in regard to street-railway management and street-railway requirements, on our side of the house we would like to ask questions of you; we would like to have your hearty co-operation; we would like to hear from you every time we can.
Call on us, go to our factory, and assist by your practical railway experience. In this way the Thomson-Houston Company feel they can build what you require, and will construct apparatus that will meet your wants quicker and better than to go along thinking that they know it all, and that they can manage a street-railway as well as you. Trusting that we shall have the pleasure of seeing you on the road this afternoon, I will take my seat, unless there is some question that you would like to ask in regard to the Thomson-Houston system.
Mr. Sinclair : I would like to hear from the gentleman in regard to the relative danger or safety of the system, in regard to accidents to passengers. I ask that question for the reason that I believe that yours was the Van Depoele system originally.
Mr. Mansfield : The only connection of our system, as put forth to-day, with the Van Depoele system, is, that the ThomsonHouston Company purchased all of Mr. Van Depoele's electric railway patents, and they have the services of that extraordinarily ingenious and practical man. While the system which we put