The Working and Management of an English Railway/Chapter 12
On the Working of Goods Stations.
To the uninitiated, it may possibly appear that when a package or a consignment of merchandise is handed to a railway company for transit, it is a very simple operation to place it in a waggon and convey it to its destination, but it is only necessary to bear in mind the vast extent of the operations carried on at a large and important goods station, the multitude of consignments that have to be simultaneously dealt with, their varied description, and the many destinations to which they have to be conveyed, in order to realise that to enable a vast business of this kind to be conducted with promptitude and certainty, to provide securities against goods being mis-sent or wrongly delivered, and to ensure a reliable means of tracing them in the event of their, after all, going astray, a most complete and careful system of organisation is indispensable. It may be premised that the methods and appliances employed by different railway companies, as a means of securing these results, are not precisely identical in practice, nor are they absolutely uniform at all the stations of one company, it being frequently necessary to be guided by physical circumstances, the mode of construction of the premises, and the special nature of the traffic at particular stations, but from a description of the mode of working certain of the goods dep6ts on the London and North-Western Railway, the reader will be able to gather a fair idea of the nature of the operations to be carried on in working a large merchandise traffic, and of the arrangements which, with more or less variation, are adopted at the most important goods stations.
A goods station which possesses certain features of interest, chiefly on account of its somewhat unique mode of construction, is Broad Street, which is the City Depot of the London and North-Western Company, in London. The North London Railway, which is connected with the North-Western, passes round the Northern suburbs of London to Dalston Junction, where it trends almost due South to its passenger terminus at Broad Street, in the very heart of the City. Land in the City of London being, of course, extremely valuable, the line is carried during the latter part of its course by means of bridges and viaducts at a high elevation, in some cases over the tops of the houses, and it thus reaches its terminus at a point considerably above the level of the surrounding thoroughfares, the passenger station having accordingly been built on arches. Advantage has been taken of this fact to enable the London and North-Western Company to provide themselves with an extensive goods station without incurring the enormous expense of taking land for the purpose in the busiest part of the City, and the goods traffic is, as a matter of fact, conducted in the arches under the passenger station, the waggons of goods being transferred one by one from the upper to the lower level and vice versâ, by means of powerful hydraulic lifts. All along the front of these arches, which are fourteen in number, and, including some space beyond them, which has been covered in, each measure 340 feet in length, and 32 feet in width, a roomy stage, or unloading bank, has been erected, 430 feet long and 45 feet deep, and from this, at right angles, narrow stages 240 feet in length, and 12 feet in width, with a line of rails on each side of them, extend through each arch, the lines of rails being at the further end connected with a cross-line, by means of which the waggons can be turned upon turn-tables, and taken to one or other of the hydraulic hoists, each of which will raise a weight of fourteen tons.
On the further side of the arches some additional space has been taken in on the street level to form an open goods yard, on one portion of which a lofty warehouse has been erected for the storage of goods waiting delivery, or goods for forward transit.
Before attempting to describe the manner in which this station is worked, it is necessary to explain that traffic arriving from the country for delivery in London is called "up traffic," while "down traffic" means traffic sent from London to the country, and these two elements in the business of the station are in practice kept perfectly distinct.
The inwards or "up" traffic at Broad Street, consists very largely of provisions for supplying the early markets with fish, meat, poultry, butter, eggs, and other perishable commodities, which have to be delivered in time for sale to the retail buyers who attend the markets as early as four o'clock in the morning, and also of general merchandise, purchased from manufacturers in the provinces one day, and expected to be in the City warehouses by nine o'clock on the following morning; and to effect deliveries at such an early hour is a work which demands for its accomplishment the most perfect organisation and attention to detail. For instance, in the Metropolitan Meat Market there are no less than 230 stalls or shops, all of which receive meat from the provinces, and the railway companies are expected to deliver and hang the meat in these shops before the arrival of the salesmen. Thus, a waggon will arrive, say, from Scotland, with thirty sides of beef for delivery to as many consignees, in as many different parts of the market, while other meat will arrive simultaneously from other stations for the same consignees, and, with a view to speed and economy, the different consignments have to be brought together, and the vans loaded in such a way that, as far as possible, two vans will not be delivering at the same time to one shop. This is effected by sorting the meat into districts, according to the position of the stalls in the market, on the stage at Broad Street before it is loaded on to the vans.
Speaking more generally, the mode of dealing with "up" goods is as follows:—This part of the business is conducted, not in the arches previously described, but in the warehouse of which mention has already been made, the ground floor of which is staged, so as to form a deck, or platform, upon which the goods can be sorted and transferred from the railway waggons to the street vans. This platform is open on both sides, so that vans can be backed up to it on one side, while a line of rails extends along the other side, on which the railway waggons on arrival are placed, after being lowered from the upper level by means of the hydraulic hoists. The invoices which are received with the waggons, and which are documents containing a description of the goods, their marks and addresses, the weight, and particulars of the charges, are passed into an office called the delivery office, where each invoice is entered in a book, stamped with a progressive number, timed as to arrival, checked as to correctness of rate and charges, and is then passed to a "marking clerk," whose duty it is to mark against each entry on the invoice the position on the platform or sorting bank in which the article to which the entry refers, is to be placed. On the platform, by means of letters and numbers painted on the columns which support the roof, the whole of London is mapped out into districts with great care and precision, and the numbers inserted by the marking clerk on the invoice correspond with these divisions, and are for the guidance of the checkers in unloading the goods from the waggons, and loading them into the vans for delivery. The marking clerk having discharged his office, the invoice passes on to another set of clerks, each of whom extracts from it, and enters on the carman's delivery sheets, such of the entries as refer to the particular section of the City with which he is appointed to deal, and by this process of exhaustion, the whole of the entries for delivery to a particular district are brought to a focus, although the goods may have arrived from hundreds of different stations, and be entered on as many different invoices. The same set of clerks enter the charges in the carmen's delivery sheets in cases where they are to be paid by the consignees.
The next step is to pass the invoice out of the delivery office to the platform, where a gang of men unload the goods from the waggons, checking them with the invoice as they do so, and wheel them away on hand-trucks to the different positions on the platform, according to the numbers marked against the entries. Next, the carmen's delivery sheets are passed out to the platform, and the delivery foreman directs the loading of the vans from the different sections on the bank, the goods being carefully checked against the entries on the delivery sheets as they are placed in the vans. Finally, the cartage department take possession of both vans and delivery sheets, the vans are horsed and started away to their respective destinations, all the processes being carried out with the utmost care, but at the same time, with the greatest rapidity.
There are, however, many contingencies which arise in the working of the traffic, and must be promptly met, in order to prevent delays occurring, and the chief of these may be classed under four heads, as follows:—(1) Goods arriving without invoice; (2) discrepancies between the invoice and the goods actually received in the waggons; (3) invoices arriving without the goods; and, (4) goods accidentally trucked to the wrong position on the platform.
If the waggon arrives without invoice it is unloaded in its turn, an account of the goods contained in it is entered on a special form provided for the purpose, and, where the addresses of the consignees appear on the goods, they are trucked away to their proper position on the platform, the number of the section being marked on the form by the checker. The form is then passed into the delivery office, and, as far as possible, delivery sheets are made out from it in the same way as if it were the missing invoice. Such goods as are found in the waggon merely under mark and not addressed, are taken to a particular position on the platform to wait further orders on the arrival of the invoice. Meanwhile the sending station is applied to for a copy of the invoice, and the goods which remain on hand are dealt with on its arrival. A similar course is adopted in the case of goods found in a waggon without there being any corresponding entry on the invoice.
When the invoice arrives, but not the goods, which usually results either from the waggons having been wrongly labelled or having missed their proper train, the telegraph is set to work to ascertain their whereabouts, and the invoices are held over until the goods make their appearance.
The most troublesome errors arise from the porters misunderstanding- the directions given by the checkers, and wheeling goods to a wrong section on the platform. In a case of this kind, when the delivery sheet for that section arrives from the office, it, of course, contains no entry of this particular package, and it is consequently left on the bank. On the other hand, the checker for the section to which it should have been taken finds he is short of it, and makes a remark to that effect on the sheet which he passes back to his foreman, and the latter employs every means in his power to discover the whereabouts of the missing package. Failing to do so, he calls in the services of two men, who are called "searchers," and are employed upon this duty all day, but if their efforts prove fruitless there is nothing for it but to wait until the "bank list" is taken, that is, when at four o'clock each afternoon a complete list is made of all goods remaining on the bank after the morning's deliveries, by means of which most errors can be rectified.
The "down," or outward traffic is dealt with in the arches before described, the "runs" or lines of rails alongside the stages being gradually filled during the day with rows of empty waggons, ready to receive the goods as they come in during the afternoon and evening. This is effected by transferring to the "down" arches the waggons which have come in with "up" goods and have been emptied during the morning. As the loaded vans come in at the gates they are stopped at an office placed at the entrance, called the "weigh-bridge office," and the consignment notes are impressed with an official stamp, which alone renders them authentic. The consignment note plays an important part in the manipulation of the outwards goods, and it may be explained, for the benefit of the uninitiated, that it is a document which the sender of goods hands to the carman or other agent of the Company, to whom he delivers the goods, and in which is described their nature, their marks, and addresses, and sometimes their weight. Business firms who are in the habit of forwarding goods use for this purpose printed forms supplied by the Company, or provided by themselves, but where ordinary members of the general public forward isolated packages without a consignment note, the Company manufacture one from the address, or the entry in the carman's book, the principle acted upon being that there must be a separate consignment note provided for every distinct package or parcel of goods for the same destination. The object of stamping the consignment notes at the entrance gates is to checkmate a very ingenious system of fraud which was found to be in operation some time ago, when some dishonest servants of the Company hit upon the plan of obtaining possession of valuable goods, by simply destroying the original consignment notes and addresses, and substituting false documents, by which the goods were consigned to confederates in some other town. Under the present system, as the fraudulent note could not bear the weighbridge stamp, its character would at once be detected.
Large firms frequently enter a whole van load of goods for various addresses, on one consignment note, and therefore the first step is for all such notes, containing more than one entry, to be taken to an office called the "Shipping office," where a separate note is made out for each separate consignment, these manufactured notes being officially stamped to shew that they are "extracted" from an authentic note.
Meanwhile the vans, as they arrive, are placed in position for unloading on to the large stage or platform, previously described as running along the front of all the arches; the consignment notes relating to each load are handed by the unloading foreman to the various checkers who are in charge of the unloading gangs, and the goods are removed from the vans, checked against the entries on the consignment notes, and weighed on the weighing machines, which are stationed at regular intervals all along the stage. On the wall in each of the arches is painted a number, and the name of the place or district for which goods are loaded in that particular arch; for instance, one will be "Liverpool," another "Manchester," a third "North Staffordshire," and so on, and in each arch, also, there is displayed a copy of a table, corrected from time to time, and which shews in more detail the stations to which goods are loaded in each arch, and the times of departure of the trains made up and despatched each night to the various destinations. The experienced checker, however, has all this in his head, so that when a package is taken out of a van, and the marks or address is called out, he is able at once to check the entry on the consignment note and to shout "No. 5," or "No. 6," as the case may be, when the, package is forthwith placed on a hand truck and, accompanied by its consignment note, is wheeled away to the particular arch to which it belongs, and deposited on the stage there, ready for loading into the waggons. Here one of the loading gangs, each of which consists of a checker, a loader, a caller-off, and two porters, take it in hand, and deposit it in a waggon destined for the station to which it is addressed. When the goods are in the waggons, the consignment notes are taken to the shipping office, and the clerk in charge sorts them out to the different clerks whose duty it is to make out the invoices for the various destinations. These clerks enter on the invoices the names and addresses of consignees, the nature and description of the goods, the weight and the charges; and the invoices, if they are ready in time, are handed to the brakeman in charge of the train by which the waggons are despatched; if not ready at the time the train departs, they are sent afterwards by fast passenger trains, so as to arrive at the same time as the goods, or before. The consignment notes, having been marked with a progressive number in such a way as to identify them with the corresponding entries on the invoices, so as to facilitate the tracing of goods which may go astray, are carefully filed for future reference.
The waggons of goods when loaded, sheeted, and labelled, are run out at the further end of the arches, turned on to the hydraulic hoists by means of the turntables and capstans, and emerge on to the upper level, where in a group often long sidings adjoining the North London Railway, and still by the aid of hydraulic capstans, they are marshalled into trains, and sent away to their various destinations.
This process is, however, very much facilitated beforehand by the fact that the waggons have been arranged in the runs or arches in train order, i.e., a separate train or portion of a train has been loaded in each arch and in station order, so that the waggons emerge from the lifts on the high level in the order in which they are required to go away.
Goods intended for large centres such as Liverpool, Manchester, etc., to which many waggons are loaded on the same night, are dealt with in two of the arches which are laid out in a somewhat different manner from the rest. In these arches, there is a roadway for carts throughout, and the goods are loaded direct from the carts to the railway waggons without any hand trucking being needed.
If, through extra; pressure, or by oversight, goods are left on the stages when the loads have been made up, and the night's work is over, the consignment notes found with them are taken into the shipping office, and stamped with the letter "S" (Stage), to indicate that the goods have been left over, and that special attention must be given to their despatch by the first available train.
When goods are found left on the stage without consignment notes, if the names and addresses of consignees are apparent, they are entered on new consignment notes, and dealt with in the usual way. If, on the other hand, there is nothing to indicate their destination, they are kept on hand, and a record of the fact is made in a book set apart for the purpose, and which is referred to whenever there is any enquiry with regard to goods not delivered, every available means being meanwhile taken to discover the owners, by a number of clerks specially employed on this duty.
There are many other arrangements in operation, both with regard to "up" and "down" traffic, with a view to guard against irregularities, and to rectify mistakes; but perhaps enough has been said to give an adequate idea of the amount of method and organisation required to conduct such a business with order and despatch.
The warehouse, already referred to, which occupies one side of the yard, and rears its imposing height far above most of the surrounding buildings, consists of four storeys, besides extensive cellarage in the basement, and the different floors are reached from the stage by means of two 25-cwt. hydraulic lifts. Packed closely from top to bottom with goods of every possible description, it would at first sight appear that an individual package once deposited here, would be to all intents and purposes lost, but a brief examination will correct this error, and reveal order in the apparent chaos, for the numerous iron pillars which support each floor divide it into small sections, each of which bears a number, while every article which comes into the warehouse, either waiting for delivery, or for forward transit, is entered in a book with the number, against the entry, of the floor and section in which the article is deposited. Amongst a great deal of curious flotsam and jetsam, which has drifted into this capacious repository, perhaps one of the most interesting features is a huge wooden case, fashioned after the manner of a coffin, and which contains what are alleged to be the fossilised remains of a gigantic specimen of the human race, upwards of twelve feet in height, and of colossal proportions. It is said to have been excavated near the Giant's Causeway (surely an appropriate spot for such a trouvaille!), some years ago, during some prospecting operations for the discovery of iron ore, and was for a time exhibited at Liverpool; but a dispute arising as to its ownership, the grim relic was thrown into Chancery, and has remained "on hand" at Broad Street ever since the year 1876, the Railway Company having a very considerable lien on it for warehouse charges. Whether it be, as stated by its original owner, the of a human being, or merely a specimen of very antique sculpture, it is beyond doubt one of the most curious consignments ever warehoused by a railway company.
The total area embraced by the Broad Street Goods Station, including three and a half acres on the high level, is seventeen acres, the lines affording, in all, standing room for 820 trucks, of which 487 can be placed in position for forward loading on the low level at one time. On the average, 456 loaded waggons are received daily, and 508 are forwarded, making a total not far short of a thousand waggons a day.
The crane power employed is as follows:—
Nine 30-cwt. hydraulic cranes, and twenty-seven manual cranes, for loading from vans to waggons and vice versâ.
Eleven 30-cwt. hydraulic cranes, and five manual cranes, for loading from vans to platforms and vice versâ.
Twenty 30-cwt. hydraulic cranes, and sixty-nine manual cranes, for loading from waggons to platforms and vice versâ.
Besides which there are twelve hydraulic and twenty-eight hand cranes used for special purposes, and one 5-ton and one lo-ton hydraulic crane in the yard, for dealing with exceptionally heavy articles.
A goods station of the London and North-Western Company, which has excited the attention, and, to some extent the admiration, of foreign engineers and railway managers who have visited this country for the purpose of comparing their own methods and appliances with ours, is Holyhead. The Company have devoted a great amount of attention to cultivating and encouraging the trade between England and Ireland, and one means to this end has been the provision of very complete and admirably adapted accommodation at Holyhead, for the transfer of traffic between the railway waggons and the fleet of steamers belonging to the Company, seventeen in number, and having a gross tonnage of 6,128 tons, by means of which a daily service is established between Holyhead and the North Wall, Dublin.
Holyhead Harbour, the entire quay frontage of which is about 3,760 feet, has an area of twenty-four acres, and an average depth at high and low water of thirty feet and twelve and a half feet respectively, the transhipment of the goods being carried on in two large warehouses, each about 750 feet in length, erected on the quays on the east and west sides of the harbour, of which the one on the east side is devoted exclusively to the export traffic, or traffic going from England to Ireland, and the one on the west side to the traffic from Ireland to England. Lines of rails, conveniently connected with the railway, run right through both warehouses, with a platform or loading deck, fifteen feet wide, running throughout between the lines of rails and the quay. In each warehouse there are six hydraulic cranes, having a rake of twenty-five feet, and a capacity of three tons, so fixed that they can lift goods from the railway waggons to the platform, or to the hold of a vessel, or vice versâ. With screw steamers, of which the Company possess four, it is practicable by one operation to take a package from the waggons and deposit it in the hold of the vessel, but with paddle-wheel steamers, owing to their greater width, the hydraulic cranes are worked in connection with a winch which raises or lowers the goods between the hold and the deck.
The harbour and quays are illuminated at night by five powerful electric lights, one being fixed at each end of each warehouse, and the fifth at the south end of the harbour.
The mode of carrying on the working is as follows:—Waggons containing export traffic for shipment, having been brought by the train engines, and deposited close to the entrance of the export warehouse in reception sidings provided for the purpose, are drawn up by hydraulic capstans, and placed in exact positions opposite the berths, where are moored the vessels into which they are required to be unloaded. The goods are taken from the waggons, checked with the invoice, and lowered into the vessel, full particulars of the goods shipped by each boat being recorded in a "Transfer-book." The clerkage is carried on simultaneously with the actual handling of the goods, so that almost as soon as the hatchways are closed, and the gangways removed, the invoices are sent on board, and the vessel is ready to leave. Specially heavy articles, such as furniture vans or machinery, are loaded on the quay by means of 18-ton hydraulic cranes, or, if necessary, by a pair of shear legs, which will carry eighty tons.
With regard to import traffic, as soon as the vessel is berthed alongside the quay, the invoices are passed to a checker, who, for the guidance of the men on the platform, first makes out a "card," or list, of the urgent, or "perishable," traffic, showing the loads which have to be made up for different destinations, so that as the goods are landed from the boat, the ganger in charge of the men on the platform is enabled to direct the loading into waggons. By the time the urgent, or perishable, traffic has been dealt with, the checker has prepared another "loading-card" for the general cargo, and thus the discharging and loading-up of the goods is enabled to proceed without interruption, until the whole have been despatched.
Ireland being to so large an extent an agricultural country, an important feature in her exports to England is live stock, and for the transfer of this from the vessels to the waggons at Holyhead, the arrangements are very complete. There is accommodation for the unloading of the animals from the vessels at any height of the tide all along the front of the import warehouses, and this operation can be carried on at the same time as the unloading of parcels and the perishable goods traffic from the same boats, while, close at hand, is a covered pen set apart for the reception of lame and distressed animals who are unfit to walk to the cattle yard, such animals being loaded up and taken by an engine to the yard. The animals who are fit to walk are conducted by a convenient roadway to the yard, which contains covered accommodation for upwards of 180 cattle, 800 pigs, and fifteen horses, together with open pens capable of holding 230 head of stock. There are also pens erected alongside a siding, upon which twelve waggons can be placed in position for loading the animals up for forward transit. The sidings appropriated to the cattle traffic hold in all 140 waggons, and there are ample facilities for cleaning and disinfecting them after each journey, including twelve hydrants for the supply of water. During the year 1887, 76,700 cattle were transhipped at Holyhead to the various towns in England, in addition to 63,032 sheep, 27,110 lambs, 7,780 horses, and last, but not least, 157,411 pigs. The live stock shipped to Ireland from England is not considerable, but last year it included two lions and two elephants, although what these strange denizens of the far east were to do in the "distressful country," can only be a matter of conjecture.
When import goods are loaded into waggons, a kind of inventory is made of them, which is termed a slip, and as soon as the load is completed, these slips are compared with the invoices, so as to discover and rectify any mistakes, as for instance, goods loaded in the wrong waggon. A transfer book is also kept, as in the case of the export traffic, and in this is recorded the date and number of the invoice, particulars of the traffic, the weight, the name of the vessel by which the goods are received, and the number and destination of the waggon in which they are loaded for forward transit.
As the waggons are loaded, they are turned over turntables on to adjoining lines of rails, where they are marshalled. in proper order, labelled, and sheeted, and within a few minutes of the loading of the last waggon being completed, the train is ready to start. In discharging a vessel, as already mentioned, preference is always given to perishable and urgent goods, and these are despatched by express passenger trains within an hour after the boat is berthed, but within two hours and a half of the arrival of the vessel, a full train load, of sometimes upwards of thirty waggons, is despatched, while a second and a third train follow at intervals of not more than an hour, a striking proof of the excellence of the arrangements, and the energy and skill with which the operations are conducted.
There is a large fish traffic at Holyhead, and in dealing with this, speed is, of course, of the utmost importance, especially in hot weather. In order to accommodate the fish brought to the harbour by steamers and sailing vessels direct from the fishing grounds, the Company have constructed a fish jetty, 440 ft. long and 50 ft. wide, on the import side of the harbour, with two platforms and two lines of rails, each line being capable of holding twenty-five waggons. The loading from the vessels to the waggons is performed by means of three hydraulic cranes, each lifting 30 cwt., and having a sufficient rake to cover both platforms, so that two train loads of fish may be loaded simultaneously. To save time, the empty waggons are placed in proper station order, so that there shall be no delay in marshalling them, and the labels and way-bills being prepared while the loading is proceeding, the train can start on its journey as soon as the last load is completed.At all the Company's large goods stations, ample provision is made for the prevention or extinction of fire, fire brigades composed of members of the staff being organised, drilled, and frequently called together by signal for exercise, and these precautions are not omitted in the case of Holyhead. The fire appliances here are of a very complete description, and water is supplied from no less than sixty-three powerful hydrants.
The total traffic handled at Holyhead during the year 1887, in addition to live stock, was about 250,000 tons, including coal; of this total about 117,000 tons was cross-channel traffic with Ireland.
It has always been a question involving some amount of controversy, as to what is the best and most convenient manner of laying out the accommodation in a large goods warehouse, so as to enable the business to be carried on in the most expeditious and economical manner. Many different arrangements have been tried, and, of course, in building a warehouse at any particular station, there may always be special circumstances to be taken into consideration, such as the nature of the traffic, and the available space; but our illustrations (Figs. 29, 30 and 31) shew the ground plan, first-floor plan, and section, of a large goods warehouse of the first class, built upon the most modern principles, and laid out in the manner which is believed to be the best adapted to the needs of an important goods station (Chester), where three different classes of traffic have to be dealt with, that is to say (1), local traffic, or traffic which commences or ends its journey at the station; (2), transfer traffic, or traffic loaded to the station, for the purpose of being transhipped into other waggons, and forwarded to destination; and (3), warehouse traffic, or goods which are required to be stored, awaiting orders for forwarding or delivery. It will be perceived that this is what is termed a "dead-end" warehouse, or, in other words, the waggons come in and go out the same way, and cannot be taken through the warehouse, and out at the other end. There are five platforms, or stages, and six lines of rails, so that every platform, as will be seen, has a line of rails alongside it, and three of them have a line on each side. There is also a stage running transversely along one end of the building, to which access is given by a roadway for carts. To facilitate the handling of the heavy goods, there are in all twenty-four cranes, each carrying thirty cwt., four of which are power cranes, and the rest are worked by hand. The upper floor is devoted to storage purposes, and to enable grain to be conveniently delivered from this storey, slides are provided, down which the sacks can be passed to the ground floor; there are also a number of shoots for transferring loose grain from sack to sack. Grain in sacks can be hoisted direct from the waggons or carts below to the upper storey by means of cranes, but if required to be stored in bulk, it is lifted by crane to a gangway, or gallery, erected over the upper storey, and supported on the principals of the building, and then is shot out of the sacks into bins below, through shoots provided for the purpose.
Under the stages of the warehouse are capacious cellars for the storage of ale, bacon, and such commodities, which can be lifted or lowered direct between the cellars and the carts, or railway waggons, by means of suitable cranes.
Waggons containing goods arriving by train for delivery in the town, are placed on the outer line of rails, next to one or the other of the side stages, nearest the walls, and as carts can approach either of these from the side of the warehouse, where they stand sheltered by a projecting awning, the goods can be transferred by the cranes direct from waggon to cart, or light goods can be handed across the platform. Other town goods can be unloaded in the second line of rails on either side, and trucked to the platform at the end of the warehouse where carts can approach them. Outward goods, collected in the town for forward transit, are brought in by carts, unloaded on the transverse stage, and trucked thence to the various stages alongside which the waggons have been placed for their reception. The narrow centre platform, having a line of rails on each side, and cranes suitably arranged, is appropriated to transfer traffic which can thus be easily removed from one waggon and placed in another.
A warehouse of this description and dimensions will accommodate upwards of forty waggons at one time, and in this particular warehouse about eighty are loaded daily, and ninety are discharged. Warehouses designed upon this plan are in use at Liverpool (Edge Hill), Bolton, Blackburn, Leicester, Derby, Chester, and other stations.
Fig. 32 is an illustration of a small wooden goods shed, suitable for a roadside station, where the traffic to be dealt with is purely local, and not of an extensive character. The arrangement, in this case, is so simple and obvious, as to speak for itself and to require no detailed description.In goods warehouses where a small amount of machinery requires to be actuated, and the business to be conducted is not sufficiently extensive to justify the application of steam or hydraulic power, a gas engine is found to afford very satisfactory results, both as regards economy and convenience, as a means of actuating the cranes. For a machine of this kind no special attendant is required, as one of the ordinary warehouse porters can start and stop the engine when necessary, and clean and oil it in his spare time. The peculiar advantage of the gas engine is that it can be started and stopped at a moment's notice, and there is accordingly no waste of fuel whatever, besides which the first cost of the machinery is very moderate compared with that of hydraulic power on a small scale, and the average cost of gas for an eight h.p. gas engine is not more than from threepence to sixpence per hour, according to the price of gas in the locality, and the work required of the engine.
The London and North-Western Company have at the present time thirty warehouses in which the machinery is actuated by gas engines, varying from one and a half to eight h.p., according to the size of the building, and the number of cranes and lifts required. A good example of this class of machinery is found at the Northampton warehouse, erected by the North- Western Company, in 1881. In this warehouse there are two cranes of thirty cwt. capacity, and two 10-cwt. friction jiggers, worked by a gas engine of eight h.p., the first cost of the installation having been £950. The cost of gas consumed (about 108,300 cubic feet) averages £10 10s. per annum, in addition to about £3 10s. for maintenance and repairs, and £3, 5s. for oil and waste, etc.