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system has been tested by Mr. Sprague at Richmond, where he runs forty cars.
I am here more particularly to speak of a system underneath the road-bed, where it is desired to use electricity in large cities, such as New York, Boston, Cincinnati, St. Louis and other large cities. A writer in “Scribner's," in March last, who took a review of the whole subject from the time of Faraday down to the time of writing his article, and did not forget any inventors who were working on the system up to that time, gives a full description of everything that has been done. He said in this article that a number of inventors were at work on a system to carry the line conductors underneath the road-bed, and which, he believed, would be accomplished in due time. For instance, you take your telegraph or telephone system, and there is not a particle of leakage in a thousand miles. Now, what we want to do is to get underneath the road-bed and make the line so that you can start out with either one, fifty or three hundred cars and have all the power that is necessary to move them, but how are we going to do that? In my system the conduit is placed in the centre of the track on top of the cross ties, which are nine inches below the centre of the street. The depth of our conduit is nine inches and it is eight inches wide. On the side of the conduit close to the top is situated a pair of jaws with insulating block to enter them, and having an opening through it, and electrical conductors having tongues to them to enter such opening and a key to secure the tongues in place and thus we attain complete insulation for our conductors. The current is taken from the line conductors, of which there are four, situated near the ceiling of the conduit by a contact carrier, consisting of rollers, pressed against the bottom of the conductors by springs, and operated from the car by a lever, and thus it at all times gives us a perfect contact.
We start out with three out-going wires and one common return wire connected electrically with the conduit, making a perfect home circuit.
If we should start out with twenty-five cars on each conductor, or seventy-five cars in all, and an accident should happen to any one of our circuits, or going over a heavy grade, we can switch to any one of the circuits or to them all, if necessary, without any of the passengers being aware of the change.
In large cities, you are all very well aware, storage batteries for long lines of road, where cars are stretched a mile or two apart, are very good in their way. I am talking for railroads where you run from twenty to sixty or five hundred cars. I will equip a road of five hundred cars without any trouble and handle them all. Each line conductor has its own generator and is separate from the other, just as much so as if one was in Boston and the other in San Francisco, and yet they are in the same conduit and only half an inch apart. Well, now, to run a road with sixty cars, if you please. It would require, at the least, in the neighborhood of one thousand volts to run sixty cars. I divide these volts and make three hundred and fifty on each wire, which makes it perfectly safe, with no danger of any accident occurring. I want you to understand this, and I want you to question me, because I know you are all anxious to get something, so that you can do away with horses.
Mr. Barr, of Philadelphia: How do you provide against lightning ?
Mr. Love: The conductors are all encased; neither water, dirt, filth nor lightning can get to them.
Mr. Perin, of Baltimore: That is a very important question. We had an experience a few days ago on our electric road in Baltimore, where the lightning struck the contact wire, went up through the motor and burned the motor out. There is no way of getting rid of that. I understand how you can overcome it at the power station, but along the road it is a question for consideration.
Mr. Love: I will say in answer to this gentleman's inquiry that my wires, of which there are four, are all of them encased, and you might turn on the hose of a fire engine and you cannot get a drop of water, nor a particle of dirt on them, nor can lightning touch them. In a thousand miles there is not a drop of leakage. I run upon low potential, three hundred and fifty volts or twenty
The current of electricity would not hurt a child. Mr. Maxon, of St. Louis : If your wires are perfectly encased, so that no electricity can escape, please tell me how you get your electricity from your wire to carry your cars ?
Mr. Love: The wires are held in close adjustment near the ceiling of the conduit, and the contact carrier presses against them and carries the current to the motor.
Mr. Maxon : Does the gear touch the wire encased ?
Mr. Love: The wire that runs from the conduit is thoroughly encased, but we have got to have a point of contact.
Mr. Maxon: Exactly!
Mr. Love : But these line conductors are encased. It would be impossible to take a contact from a covered wire.
We have got to have our wires naked at the point of contact. But the method of concealing the wires, that is my invention-the conducting wires are concealed and encased.
Mr. Maxon : You must have an exposed point, in order to make a contact.
Mr. Love: Of course, you have got to have a contact, that is right.
Mr. Lawless: Only one question. In case of a heavy rain.fall, and there are parts of the road situated where the side streets slope and form a hill in the direct line of the electric line. I understand that water is a great conductor of electricity. You take a heavy day's rain, and it might prove a serious trouble. I would like to know from you what effect the flow of water down these side streets into the slots and coming in contact with the conductor would have upon the electric current.
Mr. Love: We are running upon low potential. In place of carrying one thousand volts on one wire, I carry three hundred and fifty volts on each wire, really giving me one thousand and fifty volts, so that a wire seven-sixteenths of an inch in diameter would hold the electricity. In place of the electricity going into the water, it would remain in the copper; it has more affinity for copper than water.
Mr. Lawless : In case of a continuous flow of water through the slot rail in your conduit, would not that interfere with the electric current ?
Mr. Love : In case of a continuous flow, we propose to have a drain to the sewer to carry the water off.
Mr. Lawless : There are some cases where you cannot do that.
Mr. Love : I have provided thoroughly for that, sir. When we come to such a place as you speak of we have an overhead wire stretched on poles, and we cut the current off the submerged part. Now for crossing a bridge or a number of railroad tracks,
an overhead system; by means of the lever we lift the contact carrier out of the conduit and make our connections from the overhead wires, which are in reach of the motor man.
Mr. Love : The electrical railway, besides its pecuniary advantages, presents greater safety in handling the cars and greater comfort to the passengers than any other system. It is possible to reverse the driving gear and so make any permitted speed safer to foot passengers and vehicles than by either the horse or cable system, where it is impossible to do anything more than put on the brakes. The motion of the car, too, is entirely free from jerks, both in starting and while in motion, as the power is applied gradually and the motor has no dead centres to make irregular motion. Sixty cars propelled by electricity will accomplish the work of eighty horse cars.
REMARKS OF MR. THOMAS C. BARR ON A STORAGE
Mr. Thomas C. Barr, of Philadelphia : I desire to state for the benefit of the gentlemen present, on the storage battery question, that we experimented with a car so operated on our road over about four miles of track for at least two months. The car was run sixteen miles a day; it was operated in the afternoon. It was a twenty-two foot car, weighing in the aggregate, trucks, batteries, car and all, fourteen thousand eight hundred pounds, of which four thousand eight hundred pounds was the weight of the batteries. This car was operated and managed by the Electric Car Company of America. In order to get the best results, and as we anticipated introducing electricity as a motive power on our line, it was necessary, to give the experiment a full opportunity for success, to relay our line, which we constructed with girder-rail and cross-ties very two and a half feet ; a construction that would practically carry from fifteen to twenty tons weight. The car would seat thirty-four passengers, and would carry crowded one hundred and twenty-five, so that the aggregate weight when the car was crowded would be in the neighborhood of thirty thousand pounds ; possibly more. As I said, we fan the car two months, and it was very satisfactory. The
smoothly and nicely; and it moved off gently and firmly after a stop without any jerky movement of any kind that would be noticed by any of the passengers. The car was taken off only by reason of the fact that a large sewer was being constructed through the central part of our street, causing us to run over a siding; and we were afraid that the weight of the car would interfere with the work.
As to the cost of operating that car, we cannot give that to you satisfactorily, by reason of the fact that the power for charging the batteries was leased at a high figure. It took three and a half hours to charge a battery which operated the car for sixteen miles. We would roughly estimate it at possibly a cost of fifty or sixty cents for the sixteen miles. Taking eighty miles as the day's work for the car, with eighteen hours' work for our men, it would make the cost of operating that car for a day in the neighborhood of nine dollars ; but I presume we could reduce that materially by operating our whole line with electric cars. The nine dollars would, of course, include the wages of our men as well as the cost of charging the batteries. We found that the car ran so smoothly that a high rate of speed could be attained and not be noticed by those on the street or by passengers.
This car was operated on a level, there being no grades on our road; we had, of course, some four curves at the terminus of the road which the car ran around without any difficulty at all. The same car was operated in the works of the electrical company with one charge, some sixty-three miles. This, of course, was very satisfactory when you take into consideration the character of the car, weighing as it does about fifteen thousand pounds. In operating the car over your road where it is necessary to stop at almost every crossing, you will find that the power necessary to start the car at every crossing is wasted to a great extent; in other words, you can operate the car over a level without stops, at practically about ten or fifteen per cent. expenditure of your power, but when you come to each crossing and have to stop and start continually, the expenditure of your power will run up in the neighborhood of eighty or ninety per cent. This not only wastes the power, but causes a great strain on your motors as well. Taking it altogether, the experiment was very satisfactory, so far as the operation of the car was concerned. We have looked into the matter very thoroughly, and have determined that in order to operate a street-railway line with electricity, it is necessary to have each car separate and independent of the others, in order to get the best results. We have devoted our attention to the storage or secondary battery system. We are waiting until such developments are made that the system is brought down to such a point that it will be financially practicable to equip our line. The only difficulty that stands in the way at present is the actual cost of