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or Mani-Road Railway

rails, feet, inches, sleepers and iron

RAILWAY, or MANI-ROAD, or DRAM-ROM), or WAGGON way, a track constructed of iron, stone, timber, or other material, upon the surface of an inclined plane, or other situa tion, for the purpose of diminishing friction, and thus serv ing for the easy conveyance of heavy loads of any kind of articles.

Railways were at first solely employed for transporting coals to a moderate distance from the pits, to the places where they could be shipped, and were universally made of wood. By degrees they were, however, carried to a farther extent ; when the scarcity of wood, and the expense of their repairs, suggested the idea of employing iron for the purpose of improving these roads. At first, flat rods of bar-iron were nailed upon the original wooden rails, or, as they were tech nically called. sleepers ; and this, though an expensive pro cess, was found to be a great improvement.

They were next cast in the form of long narrow plates, with a vertical Handle on one side, so that the section presented the form of the letter L, and thus the wheels of the carriages were retained in the direction of the rails ; the Ranches on the wheels being dispensed with.

But the longitudinal timbers on which these plate-rails rested, being liable to rot and give way, were at last entirely discarded, and the rails were cast of sufficient depth to sus tain the weight passing over them, and of length sufficient to reach from one cross sleeper to the next, to which they were secured by means of chairs ; these rails were reduced in width, and the Handle transferred back again to the wheels.

About 1S15, malleable bars were introduced, those of cast iron having been found objectionable on account of their frangibility. The former were simply bars of iron, three or

four feet long, and from one to two.inches square, but they were found to destroy the wheels, on account their narrowness: and a return to cast-iron appeared inevitable, until a new method of constructing the malleable rails was patented in 1S20 by Mr. Birkinshaw. This improve ment consisted in passing the bars, when red-hot, between rollers, which gave the required form to the rails, and by this means the bars were rolled in lengths of from 12 to 15 feet, and of any section required, the depth and breadth being increased in proportion to the distance from the bearings.

The rails are placed in chairs of cast-iron, which are spiked down to transverse timbers or sleepers, as they are termed, laid from 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet apart. These sleepers are commonly of larch, about 9 feet in length, 9 inches in width, and 6 inches deep, and at either end at the distance apart of' 4 feet 81 inches, are placed the chairs or saddles to receive the ends of the rails, which run parallel to each other ; they are generally about 5 inches deep at the centre, 21 inches wide at the top and bottom, and -Z. inch thick in the middle vertical rib.

The rails of the broad guage are placed 7 feet apart, and are spiked down to longitudinal timbers, which are kept equidistant by transverse sleepers.

The permanent way consists of a level roadway, properly ballasted with gravel or other suitable ballasting.