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Introduction of the Locomotive Safety Truck - Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology: Paper 24
John H. White American railroads of the early 19th century were cheaply and hastily built. They were characterized by inferior roadbeds, steep grades, sharp curves, and rough track. In spring, poor drainage and lack of ballast might cause the track to sink into the soggy roadbed and produced an unstable path. In winter this same roadbed could freeze into a hard and unyielding pavement on which the rolling stock was pounded to pieces. In those pioneering times the demand for new roads left little capital to improve or expand existing lines; therefore equipment was needed that could accommodate itself to the existing operating conditions. The first locomotives used in this country had been imported from England. Designed for well-ballasted track with large-radius curves and gentle gradients, they all too frequently left the rails, and the unsuitability of the essentially rigid British design soon became apparent. The challenge posed by the American roadbed was met by American mechanics. By the mid-1830s a distinctive American locomotive had evolved that might best be described by the word flexible. The basic features of its running gear were a bar frame and equalizing levers to provide vertical relief and a leading truck to provide lateral relief. Of these devices the truck was probably the most important, and more readily than any one component distinguished the American running gear from that used by the British before 1860. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 25454
Author: White, John H.
Release Date: May 12, 2008
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