Ark. LXIII.—On a Self-acting Clamp Mountain Wire Tramuay.
[Read before the Auckland Institute, August 8, 1870.]
This is a proposed modification of the wire tramway in use on the Thames gold field, for which a patent is being sought by the inventors—the author of the paper and Mr. Herrich, of Parnell.
The principal points in this new arrangement of mountain tramway, which particularly distinguish it from all methods heretofore brought into operation, are the following:—The load is suspended underneath a travelling endless wire by a self-acting clamp of the patentee's invention, which grasps the wire the more tightly the weight is increased, and, as the suspending rod is provided with a universal joint, the load finds its proper centre of gravity without straining the wire, and these clamps embracing the travelling wire, are so adapted to the grooved rollers over which they run, as to enable them to pass with facility. With regard to the arrangement for encircling sharp curves, there is a provision which enables the load to leave the wire, and a properly grooved pulley, underneath the hook, runs with the load on to a rail or supplementary guide rod, placed so as to cut off the awkward angles. Immediately the pulley or roller takes the weight on the branch line, the self acting clamps relax their hold of the main line or wire, and as soon as it runs off the subsidiary line they again seize the chief wire, and the box or carriage runs on as before. A similar provision is made at the starting and discharging points, and by the simple device of raising one part of the wire slightly, so as to catch the pulley at a certain part of the incline, the load must necessarily leave the main line and run on the grooved pulley, until a corresponding decline again enables the clamps to catch hold of the traversing wire. Of course, the junction of trucks from branch lines can be managed in the same manner.
Again, when it is requisite to traverse any country of a peculiarly irregular character, power of any description can be applied to a driving wheel, and the surplus of this power, as well as that which is gained by the descent of the full boxes, can be utilized in moving pumping or ventilating apparatus, winding gear, separation of tailings by an endless screen, or the general work of a crushing machine, and a break can be attached so as to stop the wire at any moment.
It will be seen, also, that by the addition of a suspension rod, the cross beams which support the wire can be made of much lighter material than usual.
Passenger cars can also be attached to the line, and the inventor has designed one of a safe and convenient description.
A line of telegraph can be carried along the posts without any great increase of expenditure.
Besides all these unusual recommendations, the boxes are so constructed as to enable them to be locked at the point of departure, so as to prevent the introduction of any foreign substances of a deleterious kind while in transitu, and by a simple self-acting contrivance, the load will be shot out on its arrival at the battery, and a self-acting weighing machine will be attached to the last post, by which the weight of the load can be correctly read off.
Last, but not least, of the proposed advantages:—A grip has been contrived by Mr. Herrich to grasp the wire at any moment, to prevent accident by the sudden fracture of the line; should a fracture occur, the natural inclination of the line would be stopped by the grip revolving upon the roller on which the wire travels, and holds it firmly jammed.
With these advantages, and the additional fact that it is believed the line can be constructed at an average cost of £800 per mile, it must be evident that the mining community would reap advantages from adopting this scheme, which would infuse new life into its proceedings, and would resuscitate many moribund companies which are being wound up, simply in consequence of their inability to obtain carriage at a reasonable cost.
The principle may be utilized for uniting any distant part of the country, instead of a railway, say between Riverhead and Helensville, a distance of sixteen miles, which could be constucted at a moderate calculation, including motor power, for about £10,000; the cost of a railway line of 3 ft. 6 in. gauge would be £50,000, not including rolling stock.