The Sheffield Velocipede railroad inspection car.
The car herewith illustrated facilitates a close inspection of a railroad, and it
is claimed that by no other device can this be done so effectually. It is
propelled by one person and has a device for carrying a second, thereby enabling
a road master or inspector, when convenient, to avail himself of the services of
a spare section hand or other man for the purpose of propelling him over the line,
he being free to note all defects in alignment or surfacing.
In this way, he can visit personally a large portion of the sections under his
charge in a single day, stopping whenever the men are at work, giving his
directions and calling attention to defects while they are fresh in his mind, and
in this way keeping his track at all times in the best possible condition, as it
is well known that in this department it is only a close attention to the details
of the work that is rewarded with success. The car is propelled by a rowing motion
and auxiliary foot power. The frame, wheels, and arm are made of white ash the
frame being firmly held together by bolts. The arm is stiffened by an iron brace.
The tires are cast iron, the axles and crank shaft are iron, the crank and stirrups
of malleable iron. The arm is adjustable and can be removed at will, thus securing
economy of space in transportation. The car weighs about 140 pounds, and is made
with either a 17 or 20 inch driver, geared 3 or 4 1/3 times as may be most
expedient. There are some 4,000 or these cars now in use both in this country
and in Europe.
Reprinted from the journal Scientific American, Volume XLIX-No. 18, November 3, 1883.