London, Volume 6
In the course of our work we have had frequent occasion to illustrate the general magnitude of the metropolis, and of all that belongs to it-as, for instance, in its mighty underground systems; its docks, banks, and markets; its size-its population; but all these together hardly give so vivid an idea of what London truly is as is furnished by its Railway Termini-those gates of the world through which we have only to pass, put on our wishing (or travelling) cap, which we take to be suggestive, in Fortunatus' case aswell as in our own, of a short nap, and the thing is done; we are presently either roaming among the sublime mountains of Wales or Northumbria, following with antiquarian interest the route of Henry the 's invading French army, Southampton, looking for the samphire on Shakspere's cliff at Dover; or, if we are in a great hurry, whirling away on the other side of the Channel to Paris or Cologne, towards Italy or Vienna, towards Siberia or Timbuctoo. And apparently, before many years, all destinations will be about the same as regards the hours occupied-your only modern mode of measuring-or as regards the comfort and safety with which they may be reached. For, seriously, it would be as idle to sit down now satisfied that travelling has reached its climax, as it would have been when the of those excellent coaches
|started which reached York from London in a week, God willing. 's health, no doubt, requires that there should be a little interval between shaking hands with friends at parting in London, and doing the same with others on meeting at Brighton; but really the amount of that interval promises to depend upon some such considerations only. But of this subject we shall have to say a few words by and bye. And now, as to our metropolitan termini. They are in number: namely, the London and Birmingham, (date of Act for the establishment); the Greenwich, ; the South Western or Southampton, ; the Great Western to Bath and Bristol, ; the Croydon, ; the South Eastern and Dover, ; the Northern and Eastern, ; the Eastern Counties, ; the , ; and the Brighton, ; the whole erected at a cost of above twentyseven millions of morny. The streets of London may not be paved with gold, as no doubt, many of our readers can remember once thinking they were, when youth and distance alike lent enchantment to the view, but certainly the roads leading to London seem to have been founded upon that metal. And, if there is something suggestive of almost Oriental visions of wealth and profusion in such an expenditure, there is not the less a decidedly British character of reality about the results. On the Birmingham line, for instance, every expended is now worth ! The annual income of the Company is fast advancing towards a million (in the year just ended it was above )! whilst the aggregate of the mere duties paid to Government by the lines, in the same time, was above ! It can be hardly necessary to say word more as to the gigantic commercial character of the metropolitan railways.
But this is, after all, the least important and interesting of their features; the revolution they have wrought in our locomotive capabilities sinks into comparative insignificance when we contemplate the revolution they must yet work in, mental and moral phenomena-blending together more and more intimately all countries and peoples, all religions, philosophies, feelings, tastes, customs and manners, through the agency of the great social harmoniser, personal converse. We shall hardly be able to speak much longer of mere visitors to and from London, but of London going to see the country, the country coming to see London--of London running over to inquire how all goes on in Paris, Paris returning the compliment in the same way: already we perceive hours is the allotted time for passing from London to Boulogne; we do not despair of seeing Paris reached in less than twice that period. Through a great portion of Europe the same kind of communications are preparing; and we may, in short, almost anticipate the time when we shall make as little fuss about the tour of the world as of a tour through the Isle of Wight; when we shall talk of London, Paris, Vienna, Madrid, and so on, as of so many stages for refreshment--a little longer, certainly, than those of a stage coach, but still more nearly akin to them than to anything else. Seeing all this, can almost excuse the enthusiasm generated in some minds by the subject, and which has led a recent writer into an attempt to explain, by the system of railroads, the mystical Vision of the Chariot by the prophet Ezekiel, and other Scripture passages, which, he says,
Then again, as the writer reminds us, there is the Hebrew tradition that the Rabbins
If we are to believe all the rest, there can be no reason why we may not have full faith in that part of the explanation too. We cannot however but remark that such parallels must be painful to many, perhaps to most religious persons: who require no such literal illustrations of the spiritual truths of the Bible.
We now propose to notice and briefly some of the more striking individual features of our metropolitan railways; and then to devote the remainder of our paper chiefly to a view of the economy of a metropolitan station, a subject, if we mistake not, of considerable interest, and not entirely without novelty to our readers, and which, through the politeness of the authorities, we have had ample opportunity of examining. We refer to the London and Birmingham, the earliest in point of time, and greatest, as regards revenue and expenditure, of all the more important railways that radiate from the common centre-London. For the present, then, we pass on to the railway for which an Act was obtained in the same year, , the Greenwich, which is remarkable as standing upon
|continuous series of brick arches, and which is interesting to engineers from the experiment tried upon it as regards the respective value of stone sleepers (or square slabs) at intervals, or continuous bearers of wood, for the support of the rail. Stones were used, but with such unsatisfactory result, that they were taken up and replaced with timber: the improvement has been most decisive. This is an American custom, which Mr. Brunel, jun., was among the to introduce into this country, by recommending it for the Great Western. The bearers are there carefully Kyanized to prevent decay, then secured to the ground by piles. There is little doubt that a smoother and more elastic road has been thus obtained. The other advantages held out, superior economny and safety, are perhaps questionable. The formation of the Great Western Railway was signalized by a still more daring innovation on railway customs; the rail has a gauge of feet instead of feet inches, the general breadth at the period in question. Larger wheels can consequently be employed, and therefore greater speed adopted with equal safety; the superior width of the carriages, of course, offers also superior facilities for carrying numerous passengers, or for making a limited number more comfortable. As to the speed, the directors of the line estimated their minimum would be miles an hour, and their speed for mails and -class trains much more. They have not been disappointed; their average speed now for the latter, including stoppages, is miles an hour. We may here pause a moment to notice the gradual rise in men's minds of our presertt ideas of speed. When the projectors of the Liverpool. and Manchester Railway offered their premium for the best engine, the most important of the conditions were that it should draw times its own weight at the rate of miles an hour. After their success, so astonishing at to themselves, both as regards the speed and the power they found they could obtain, the directors of the London and Birmingham did not begin at a higher rate than eighteen miles an hour, then gradually advanced to , and a half, and ultimately to above , including stoppages; whilst, excluding stoppages, from to miles per hour is run upon the Northern and Eastern, the South-Eastern, and the Brighton, and not unfrequently on the Great Western, which, on special occasions of importance, considerably exceeds even that enormous rate. The history of the Great Western, like that of the Birmingham, is distinguished by the severity of the parliamentary opposition that had to be contended with and overcome. The company in defending its claims expended between and , and the , facts nationally disgraceful, not so much for the individual selfishness that was at the root of all, as for the view it gives of the business capacities of our legislature, which stood idly and almost unconcernedly by, watching parties fight their battle as they best might, exhausting their time, temper, and funds, instead of at once causing such inquiries to be made as were necessary in a direct and unquestionably honest manner, and then deciding according to the result of the inquiry. Those party fights have been attended by some ludicrous among many painful exhibitions. We do not know whether the following story ever before appeared in print, but if so it will bear repetition: --An eminent northern engineer was undergoing a rigid examination at the
| hands of a barrister on the subject of a proposed line:
said the latter, after many other equally shrewd and pertinent queries,
was the brief answer.
We believe the barrister asked no more questions.
Perhaps the most noticeable characteristic of the South Western or Southampton Railway is the prosperity which it seems likely to confer on the line of country and the chief towns with which it is connected. Already since the establishment of the Railway has Southampton been made a mail packet station by the Government, whilst on the part of the people, chiefly those resident in Southampton and Portsmouth, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised for the formation in those places, of docks, piers, jetties, floating ferries, and similar works; and at the present moment a commercial association to India and China is in process of establishment. It is indeed a line in many respects peculiarly favoured. For instance, it necessarily enjoys a great deal of Government patronage, not only by carrying the mails from the most important parts of the world, but also through its connection with the Admiralty at Portsmouth, and through the continual conveyance of troops, which cause it to be in constant communication with . Some idea of the importance of this last department to the Company may be obtained when we state that, although the charge per head amounts to only a penny and a fraction per mile, between and were nevertheless received during the last year from that source. The increasing importance of the South Western Railway is indeed very evident from its present movements. Besides preparing to enlarge its metropolitan station by the addition of some acres of land in the , new branches are marked out to be undertaken by the Company, namely, to Epsom and to Salisbury; for all which purposes Acts are to be sought in the ensuing session of Parliament. At the same time it is proposed to follow the example of the London and Birmingham Railway, and convert the share capital into Stock.
No less than of the Railways we have mentioned have their termini at the same spot, the foot of , where the strikingly handsome building, of which a part is shown in an adjoining page, is now in course of erection: these are the Greenwich, the Dover, the Croydon, and the Brighton. The lines of the whole are connected together in a most remarkable manner. Thus, for a short distance there is but line; then the Croydon Railway diverges to the right, forming to Croydon also the Brighton and Dover lines; from Croydon the last depart in undivided companionship as far as Redhill, about miles from London, where they separate to seek each alone its respective destination. Before this is reached on of the lines, the Dover, the works become of the most interesting and extraordinary character. At Folkstone the line touches the coast, and from thence the tunnels, sea walls, and excavations in the cliffs are of the most stupendous nature. The accounts in the papers of the
|blasting of some of these mighty masses of rock by gunpowder, fired by galvanic batteries, are among the most striking memorials of engineering skill and daring. Who can ever forget that sublimely-calm lifting up of the rocky mountain, as if to expire as a mountain should, then descending, scarcely less calm, though rent and shattered to the very heart, and crumbling to pieces as it touched its former apparently invincible foundations? During the last session an Act was obtained on the part of of these companies which will somewhat obviate the disadvantages arising from such a congregation of termini, and add in other ways materially to the public convenience-we allude to the branch now in progress from a certain point of the Croydon line to a point near the Bricklayers' Arms, where an extensive station will be erected for the joint use of the Dover and Croydon companies. The passing of this Act was a strong hint to these giant monopolies which we are now bringing into existence, perhaps necessarily, just as all others are disappearing. The Greenwich Company demanded fourpencehalfpenny for every passenger that passed over their mile and quarters in their way to the other lines we have mentioned; and they had their reward when this Act passed, in spite of their most determined opposition.--We have mentioned the costs of the respective Acts of Parliament for the establishment of the Birmingham and Great Western Railways, but the most expensive contest that has yet taken place in this country was that connected with the Brighton Railway, when for successive sessions or companies were engaged in the struggle. Whilst in Committee the expense of counsel and witnesses is stated to have amounted to about a daily for some days. Can there be any other country in the world where it is so hard to obtain
|leave to spend 's money? The Eastern Counties and the North Eastern Railways are also connected at starting from (where they have a joint and handsome station) until they reach ; there the pursues its route towards Colchester, and the towards Bishop's Stortford, from which it is to be extended to Newport, an Act having been obtained in the last session. The Eastern Counties, for the miles, runs along onealmost continuous series of arches and bridges, the last alone numbering , and of them, the bridge over the Lea, having a span of feet. When this line was opened, in , portions of it were crossed by means of temporary viaducts of timber, rendered necessary in cases by gaps in the unfinished embankments, and in the by a most perverse land-slip, as it is called, at Lexden, where, in a space of about feet by , earth was thrown down in such amazing quantities, without the slightest perceptible elevation, that it is-said that cubic yards of soil failed to raise the embankment a single yard either in its height or its length. On the whole of this line there are no less than bridges, arches, and culverts. The expense of the Railway, as may be supposed, was enormous, namely, nearly up to last August. An Act for a branch from the Eastern Counties at to the Thames was sought last session, but (it is said, through misapprehension) ineffectually. Since writing the above, we perceive by the papers that the companies, the Northern and Eastern and the Eastern Counties, have become completely amalgamated into , and that the general management of both has been transferred to a board of directors consisting of members of the greater company and of the lesser. We may now hope, it seems, to have the line pushed on northwards from Newport to Cambridge and Ely, and thence eastward to Brandon and westward to Peterborough. Truly the network of railway is fast enveloping the entire surface of England. The London and Railway has some peculiarly individual features to distinguish it from the other netropolitan Railways, arising chiefly from the fact that no locomotive engines are used on it, and that it is necessary to set down passengers very frequently. Accordingly there is an endless rope, nearly and a half miles long, or double the length of the Railway, attached to powerful engines, at and in London. A train starting from the latter is so arranged as that the carriages shall be foremost, and the carriages for all intermediate stations similarly placed in order. At a signal, given by means of the electric telegraph, the engine begins to wind up the rope, thereby drawing the carriages attached towards it. On approaching the station the carriage destined for it is detached from the train by the guard, and stopped by a brake; and the same proceeding takes place at all the other stations. Whilst drawing the train, the engine has at the same time of course unwound the other part of the rope attached to the London engine, which, in its turn winding up, draws back the train, with all the carriages, which before starting have been attached to the rope, wherever they were, so that they come in with a rather curious-looking want of unanimity, but of course they all do come in by dint of sufficient winding--up of the rope, and so the carriages are again collected together. The same line therefore, it will be seen,
| is used both for going and returning. A stranger to the Railway, after reading this account, may be surprised to hear that by such means, and hampered with such difficulties, the Railway will take him along at a rate varying from to miles an hour. Yet so it is. And in a great measure this has been accomplished through that beautiful invention of our own times, the electric telegraph. Its importance here may be understood when we state that it is not only necessary for the attendants at each terminus to know when the train is about to start from the opposite extremity of the line, but also when the carriages at all the intermediate stations are ready: there must be, in short, an almost instantaneous communication, whenever required, through the entire line-and this is obtained by means of the telegraph. The principle of this agency is thus explained by Mr. Cooke :--
A wire, then, is laid down from London to , connected where required with certain small instruments, containing a needle so fixed that it moves either toward the left or the right, in accordance with the direction given to the magnetic current passed through it; the movement intimating
those who desire to give the signal previously ringing a bell placed above the dial in the place where the signal is to be received, and which is also managed by an ingenious application of the voltaic stream. Of course the communication between the battery of any particular station and the general wire may be interrupted or continued as required.
It has been calculated, and the fact gives a striking idea of this truly stupendous undertaking, that the quantity of earth and stone removed on the London and Birmingham line, miles long, was about millions of cubic yards, which, if formed into a belt feet wide and high, would more than encompass the earth at the equator. Yet the mere quantity of the earth and stone removed formed but a small portion of the mighty task; which consisted rather in the circumstances under which the labours were so frequently carried on-now in piercing through a mile-long tunnel; now cutting for miles together, and feet deep, through the limestone rock; now through another tunnel above a mile and a quarter long, where nearly yards of the entire length was a perfect quicksand, in which the excavators could only pursue their labours by the aid of most powerful steam-engines; and which tunnel, alone, cost The fact is, that such lines of railway are each a conquest over an aggregate of difficulties, any of which, a few years ago, would have made their engineer famous. Passing from the line itself, to the stations which are formed on it at intervals, we have a scarcely less magnificent idea presented to us of the character of the Railway. of these stations alone-those at Birmingham, Camden Town, and , occupy acres, in addition to which there are stations of great magnitude at Wolverton, Rugby, and Hampton, and several smaller ones. The original estimate for stations was about , but such
|has been the immensity of the traffic, and the greater accommodation consequently required, that times that sum have been expended. of these last-named stations-Wolverton, the grand central of the Company-is, alone, worthy of a visit; the Company have there built quite a little town, which has already its population of souls, almost all their own people; a church, in a beautiful early English style, with parsonage-house attached, in the Tudor style; a market-house, reading-rooms, schools, streets, and squares-aye, even squares. The schools have teachers--a master, and mistresses. Many of the houses have a small garden-plot attached; but in order to assist in rendering such tastes universal, the Company have rented a piece of ground, of acres, simply to let out to their people at a low rent.
The Camden Town Station is used chiefly as a kind of supplementary station to that of ; here, for instance, are kept the engines required for the metropolitan extremity of the line; and here all the heavy goods are set down, with cattle, sheep, &c., thereby leaving the station entirely for the accommodation of passengers, and for the receipt and delivery of parcels. And, as looks at the immense warehouses that range along side of the Camden Town Station, with the well-known names inscribed on their frontPickford and Co., Chaplin and Home, &c., how the eventful history of the last few years, as regards conveyance, rises forcibly to the mind! Where are the flyvans of the now? Where all the fast coaches of the other? that those great leviathans of the road come hither so meekly to take up their lot with the Opposition? They have put down many an opposition in their time, but, apparently, there was no putting down this! So the fly-vans and fast coaches were dropped quietly into oblivion, and their owners now content themselves with carrying heavy goods to and from the Railway. The change has been indeed wonderful in all that relates to coaches and coaching, whether drawn by horses, , or ; in all that relates to vans, waggons, and carriers' carts; in all that relates to the inns and yards where they were erst accustomed to start from or to put up at. Our metropolitan inns and yards in particular could, we fear, tell a melancholy story of deserted rooms, pining chambermaids, and misanthropic ostlers, of gallant teams that to prance in and out so, notwithstanding the narrowness of the way, of landlords once thriving, but since gone into the Gazette, or measuring the time when they must go into it. We suspect that not all their faith in political economy can satisfy them of the beauty of these adjustments of the natural principles of supply and demand; and that, in reality, their only consolation is--they can't help it. But to return. The plan adopted on the Birmingham Railway is, to leave the collection of all bulky commodities to the carriers before mentioned, the railway proprietors only receiving from the public what are called parcels; and charging the carriers at a fixed rate per ton for whatever they put upon the line to be transmitted. And a goodly train they provide for the Company occasionally. There have been as many at time as waggons in a single train, to draw which engines were required; the country people must surely have thought London was removing . We now advance towards the engine-house, passing, on the way, the coke-yard, where a long double range of furnaces are constantly
|employed forming small coal into coke. The engine-house is a strange-looking place, with the floor covered with tracks and circles, the last a most ingenious contrivance for turning the engine round so as to remove it from line of rail to another. To this house the engines, which go no further than Wolverton, are brought on their return from that place with the trains, to be cleaned and carefully examined; no engine being sent out a time till it has undergone these processes. How many of those beautiful and powerful things, which really seem, in the words of the writer before quoted, to be instinct with a vital spirit, and panting like some mighty animal-how many of these, may it be supposed, are required for the service of the Birmingham Railway?-! There are absolutely of them now in the Company's possession, all in the most perfect condition. The performances of some of these engines are marvellous. or years ago, a very minute investigation was made into their respective powers, as well as into the separate branches of expense attending their employment. It was then found that engine, the most powerful among the passenger engines, had run during months miles, and conveyed loads which, for mile, would be equal to tons. As regards consumption of fuel, and cost, the averages struck for the performance of all the passenger engines engaged in the months, showed that lbs. of coke were consumed for each mile run, and ounces for each ton conveyed mile, and that the cost was for each mile run, or about - of a penny for each ton conveyed that distance. The locomotives, as is well known, stop at Camden Town, and from thence the carriages run by their own impetus down an inclined plane to ; and up which, on their return, they are drawn by an endless rope, stretched on small wheels between the rails, and winding at each extremity round a great wheel beneath the ground, motion being given by of powerful steam-engines at Camden Town, also buried beneath the earth, where the tall and rather elegantlooking chimneys stand that are so conspicuous for miles round. But hark! Whence that whistle? It seemed to come from the little wooden shed where we descend to the steam-engines just mentioned. It did so, we are informed, and intimates that a train is ready at to start. Hardly anything in particular makes you wonder on a railway, everything is so wonderful; therefore quietly asking for an explanation we are shown a contrivance of the most ingenious and simple character. There are cylinders without tops, of which is turned upside down into the other, and the last filled with water; the inner is, therefore, air-tight. In this is a pipe extending from hence to another little signal-house at similarly furnished, and, by the mere turn of a handle, air is suddenly forced into the pipe, when, in about seconds after, a whistle is heard at the other end, a mile and quarters distant. The whistle, therefore, we have just heard comes from . Instantly the steam-engine sets to work, the rope glides rapidly along, which, being perceived by the man at , tells him, in answer to his whistle, that all is ready. Presently we see the train come thundering towards us and stopping here for its engines, the policeman welcoming it with the white flag, signifying that the way is clear. It is an anxious time on a railway when that white flag is
|not seen, and when in its place a green is exhibited, enjoining caution, or more terrible still when the red appears, threatening dangers, and commanding an instantaneous halt. By night the flags are exchanged for lamps, which, with so many turns of the hand, exhibit the same colours. The perfection of all the arrangements on such a railway as this is, indeed, most extraordinary; every contingency has been thought of, and systematically provided for. Here is an instance in this train that has just come up from the country. A ship going into harbour is not treated with more caution than a train meets with in being led into the metropolis; like that, too, it must have its special pilots, the bank-riders, as they are called, a small body of men who do nothing but this; from to Camden Town, and from Camden Town to is the extent of their travels; and very absolute in their dominions they are. The engine called the pilot-engine furnishes another instance of the Company's care and forethought. Let but any train exceed its time by a certain number of minutes, and out comes the pilot-engine and runs off as fast as it is able to seek its truant fellow and all the carriages under his charge, learn what is the matter, and render its assistance if necessary. The duties of the metropolitan pilotengine extend as far as Tring, where there is another, ready for the same purpose, and so along the whole line at intervals. And what, it may be asked, is that man doing who seems to delight in lounging along the line of a railway, of all places in the world? Oh, he does nothing but take care of the rope, watching daily over its state with the most kindly and incessant solicitude. It is interesting to mark the result of such care and foresight in connection with the whole of our English railways. During the years -- there was a regularly decreasing average of accidents, until in the last mentioned year, if we omit accidents caused by the evident misconduct of passengers, or accidents to servants of the companies, we find the almost miraculous result that of eighteen millions of persons carried by railway in , only was killed! Still, it is to be observed, that in looking at the character for safety of any particular system of locomotion, accidents to those engaged in promoting the public convenience must not be esteemed of less grave consequence; and such accidents are, it appears, very numerous. These, too, must disappear before we can or ought to be content with any system. It is useless to put dangerous tools into men's hands, with the hope that the knowledge of their danger will make them habitually careful; it never does anything of the kind: and we should be thankful for it. Could a more horrible state of existence be devised than where men felt in continual danger of their lives?
The most conspicuous feature of the Station is, of course, the gateway, the grandest specimen of Grecian architecture perhaps existing in England, which is almost saying, in other words, that it is the grandest of all English gateways, which we think it is. There are, no doubt, many richer, many more interesting, many more valuable, from various causes, but none so truly, purely noble. Look on it from what aspect you will, and however often, it never wearies, never seems to grow smaller either in its style or actual dimensions, which is more than can be said of most modern structures; it is, in a word, worthy of its position, and we know not what higher praise could be bestowed on it.
|We need not dwell upon its details, since they are shown in the adjoining engraving; it will be sufficient therefore merely to add that its height is feet, and that the granite pillars, though hollow at the core, are feet inches in diameter.
And now as we walk round the busy scene before us; at every step some illustration of the liberality and the wisdom that pervades all the arrangements meets the eye. Here, on the right of the gateway, of the little buildings that flank it is now being elegantly fitted up for the accommodation of persons waiting to receive friends; whilst those who come to see friends depart follow the latter into the rooms that lie on either side the office where tickets are obtained. Then again mark that carriage coming in at its own separate entrance; how quietly and rapidly the horses are removed, the carriage turned with its back to the edge of the platform, and then pushed over the little pieces of iron lying embedded in the stone, till turned back upon the railway-truck, like little bridges-and that work is accomplished; or mark the arrangements for passengers leaving who require a cab; the wish is expressed to the porter, who calls the of the allowed within the yard whose turn it is; the vehicle hurries along with its fare, but before passing through the gate the driver's destination and number are taken down by a clerk. You wonder at the meaning of so troublesome a proceeding, as you fancy it must be, to the Company--you get home, jump out, and in the delight of return forget your carpet-bag, with heaven knows how many valuables in it. You hurry off in a great fume and fright to the Station-before you have well got out the story the clerk hands you
|over the bag: you appreciate fully then the Company's thoughtfulness. The fact is that each of these men deposits a certain sum () before he is admitted into the railway-fellowship, and so sure as he neglects to bring back anything left in his cab, or charges a solitary sixpence more than his fare, even to ease his conscience--for certainly all cabmen must look upon the legal fare as a sin alike in him that gives and him that takes-so sure as any complaint of that kind reaches the Company is he fined, suspended, or altogether dismissed from the yard. It is quite touching, we understand, to see the virtue and humility of the cabmen under these little provisions for their welfare and that of the public. In the same spirit of regard for the protection of their customers, which contrasts so gratifyingly with the selfish recklessness that too often characterised the old coach-proprietors, the Company make it an invariable rule to have all the carriages examined on the arrival of every train, immediately after the passengers leave them, and whatever is found is carried also to the office for the custody of lost property, where it stays, if unclaimed, till the annual sale, the proceeds of which exceeded a last year, and which will probably regularly average at least that amount. The disposal of the proceeds of the sale reminds us of another honourable feature of the Company's establishment. They have formed a Friendly Society among the parties connected with the Railway, which every must belong to, though the compulsion is anything but disagreeable, considering that the benefits are more than proportionate to the payments. The proceeds of the annual sale go to the Friendly Society, all fines levied by the Company from their officers do the same, and then there is continually some irregular source of income arising through the liberality of the directors. For instance, when Her Majesty, the other day, travelled on the line, the Company of course made no charge, and Royalty of course was not the less munificent- guineas were presented, and handed over to the Friendly Society. The members receive from this a handsome weekly allowance when sick or superannuated. The number of persons permanently engaged on the Railway, and for the greater part of whom the Society has been instituted, is probably not less than --a goodly establishment, commencing with Chairman, Deputy-Chairman, and Board of Directors, and then passing gradually downwards through all the stages of Secretary, Superintendent, Superintendent of Locomotive Power, Architect, Consulting Engineer (Mr. Stephenson, the patriarch of the system), Resident Engineer, Cashier, Accountant, Heads of Departments, Engineers, Overlookers, Guards, Ticket Collectors, Police, Porters, &c. &c. Having alluded to Her Majesty's visit, we may remark that the carriage built for her use is exceedingly chaste and beautiful, of a rich chocolate colour on the outside, with white window-cases and plate-glass, and lined throughout in the interior with delicate blue satin-walls, couch, and the arm-chairs. But a still more delicate mark of attention is in preparation for the next occasion on which the Sovereign may honour the Company with her presence: rooms, a kind of ante-chamber, are fitting up in the most exquisite style. The walls are white and buff, painted in large pannels, with the most fairy-like scrollornaments and flowers. The windows reach from the floor to the ceiling, and, of these opened, Her Majesty will step at once out upon the platform, ready
|to enter her railway-carriage. This kind of fitness of every office, or room, or thing to its place, is characteristic of all the arrangements; so that in the very height of the bustle and apparent confusion, nothing in reality but the strictest order prevails. Among the many other interesting objects about the Station, the vast number of the carriages must attract attention, ready to provide accommodation, at a minute's notice, to any conceivable number of passengers that may present themselves. The Company possesses of these carriages at the present time, in addition to waggons. Among these the Mail carriages appear conspicuous, each painted a different colour, according as it favours Liverpool or Manchester, Birmingham or Coventry. But, not content with building towns, and churches, and schools, forming Friendly Societies, establishing their own hotels (those splendid ones opposite the gateway belong to a company formed out of the greater Company), the Railway must have its own Post-Office too; this carriage before us, partially divided in the centre into rooms, in of which, shaped into a half circle, the upper portion of the wall is covered with neat little nests, each with the name of a place painted beneath. Here, regularly as the hour comes round, resort clerks and a guard, with all the northern letters; the door is shut, and work begins. And thus while the train is rattling away at its usual swift pace, the bags are, by , emptied of their contents, and distributed into these little nests, till the whole of those required for the line are exhausted; then they are re-made up into the proper bags, and a new phase of the capabilities of the Railway Post-Office is exhibited. As the train is approaching a minor station, where no stoppage is allowed, the bag for that station is suspended outside the carriage, on a curious little hook. At the station itself the arrangements are of a similar character--the bag is suspended by means of a pole, so as to be quite close to the Railway Post-Office which is to receive it. As the carriage passes at the rate of some miles an hour, it quietly knocks off the bag into a net which lies extended beneath, and with the same movement releases the other bag from the hook and sends it whirling into the road, far out of harm's way. We don't know what those old respectable postmasters, who have always been accustomed to think a dignified slowness part of the duty of the office, must think of this-but could fancy they must feel greatly scandalised. But we must dwell no longer on this subject, as another demands our little remaining space; so, with the mere mention of the new Ticket Office, so admirably fitted for its object; the Bude Light, which so brilliantly illumines the outer area; and lastly, the Transfer Office, where a register is kept of all transfers of Stock, as the capital is now called, by virtue of a recent Act, and which, when completed to its full amount of millions, will be worth some millions on the Stock Exchange, we conclude our notice of the London and Birmingham Railway Terminus. We may here append a table showing various particulars connected with the foregoing railways, such as the amounts expended upon each, the cost of construction per mile, the average number of passengers weekly, and the average weekly receipts (omitting fractional sums), which we have extracted from a more comprehensive statement of the same kind just published in of the railway journals:--
There is a short railway, but little known among the public, called the West London, constructed to unite the Great Western and the Birmingham railways, and give both facility of communication with the Thames by means of the Kensington Canal at Kensington. On that railway exists a very remarkable spot, where , at the lowest level, we see the railway, then above that a canal, and over that again a bridge or public roadway, the whole work being we believe perfectly unique in the annals of engineering. This arrangement, which got over great difficulties, was the work of Mr. Hosking. But that railway is still more remarkable for a series of experiments commenced upon it or years ago in order in test the capacities of a new locomotive agency--the atmosphere itself. Along the middle of the track for about half a mile was laid, at a certain height from the ground, an iron pipe, or inches in diameter. In this a piston was moved along at a rate of from to miles an hour, by simply exhausting the pipe constantly before it, by means of air-pumps worked by a stationary steam-engine. Of course there was a groove through the whole length of the pipe, with a valve to close it, made air-tight by means of tallow, &c., which gave way to the impetus of the advancing piston, and was immediately relaid by a hot iron. The engine being attached to the piston, the whole apparatus was complete. Now the advantages promised by this system were of the most important character, if the idea itself was practicable. There were no steam-engines to burst and scatter death and dismay on all sides; no possibility of running off rails, since the engine was firmly bound by the middle to its proper line; no collision by meeting other trains, since the engines in front would each stop the other by preventing the formation of the necessary vacuum; in short it promised to rid us at once of all the formidable dangers attending railway travelling. But it did seem too good to be practicable. At the best it was thought it would probably turn out slower or dearer than the old mode. What then must we now think of the system when we hear on unquestionable authority that on the Dalkey extension of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, trains, trains, have been for a considerable time propelled at rates of speed varying from to miles an hour? and that, too, in spite of an upward inclination of the line in some cases as steep as I in , and averaging generally in , and in spite, too, of several curves of a more than usually small diameter! Nay, in the late
the speed is said to
|have reached miles; and that whilst safety and economy--for with all its other wonders it is said to be more economical too--are both secured in an extraordinary degree, there really seems no limit whatever to the speed of the Atmospheric Railway. This is indeed, advancing with giant strides to perfection.