Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/404

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

locomotives to carry one hundred tons a day. Where rivers and gorges have to be crossed and very uneven ground is to be passed over, no expensive bridging or grading has to be done. It is not necessary to buy the land over which the line runs; only a right of way need be acquired—for the tracks being elevated, the road does not interfere with the use of the ground for agricultural or other purposes. At Glynde this consideration was an important one, and the fact of the tracks being elevated was also important for the reason that sometimes in winter some of the fields over which the line passes are several feet deep in water. The presence of an electric line of conveyance may be an actual convenience for agricultural operations; for a root-cutter, a shearing-machine, a thrashing-machine, a circular saw, or any other agricultural machinery, may be driven by attaching a small electro-motor to the machine, and connecting it by wires with the rods of the line.

A train of ten loaded skeps, on a road of flexible rods such as has just been described, weighs about two tons, yet lines can be designed, especially when stiff rails are used, that will carry almost as heavy loads as desired. Yet telpher lines are especially applicable where the traffic is not large enough, or the difficulties of construction are too great, to make an ordinary railroad profitable, and where the goods would be conveyed in carts or on pack-horses. Prof. Perry estimates that on a railway the cost of transporting freight is about 1d. per ton per mile, if there is a sufficient amount of traffic; that on a telpher line the cost is from 2¼d. per ton mile to 3½d.; whereas cartage can not be performed at much less than 1s. per ton mile, and even at this high price the cost of constructing the cart-road and keeping it in repair is left out of account. Telpherage is claimed to be superior to the wire-rope haulage system in its power to turn sharp corners with ease.

It was reported in the spring of last year that the Glynde line had given every satisfaction under continuous working for over three years, and that negotiations were in progress for the erection of telpher lines both in England and abroad. Among the contracts then recently made was one for two lines in Cornwall, for the carriage respectively of one thousand and five hundred tons of tin ore a week.

In regard to possible applications of telpherage Prof. Perry has said: As we have it at present, it will not only be very useful in bringing ore from mines, but it is easy to arrange for a telpher line which will load or unload a vessel which is unable to come close to shore on account of the shallowness of the water, and we can imagine these trains of skeps running out over the sea, running down into the hold of a vessel, running up again, and