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TAX! TRAMWAY WORKSHOFS AT
For some time past the efficient working of our compli- cated tramway system has been seriously hindered by the lack of proper facilities for the maintenance and repair ol tho tramcars and motors, the accommodation hitherto pro- vided at Randwick having been totally inadequate for the purpose. The drawback was a very serious one, and its effect upon the working of tho tramways may be judged irnni the fact that in October lost there were no lesa than 35 tramway motors and 26 boilers waiting for repair at Randwick. The withdrawal of this large amount ol rolling-stock from tho service of< course meant a serious loss, and the attention of the authorities having been directed to the matter, certain improvements in the works at Randwick were commenced, under the supervision of Mr. Mideltou, tho tramway locomotive engineer, which it IB hoped will have the effect, when the arrangements pro- posed are completed, of rendering the works equal to the heavy demands made upon them. All the heavy repairs required by the tramway rolling-stock are done at Rand- wick, çnly a small portion of tho lighter repairs being effected at Randwick, and thus the efficiency of the service depends, to a large extent, upon the capability of these works to execute repairs or renewals as quickly ns possiblo. Owing principally to the bad condi- tion of tho streets through which the tram way a run, the wear and tear of the rolling-stock is abnormally large. It hos up to the present been found impossible to keep the dirt and grit from getting into the working parts of the motors, and, os every engineer will be aware, thia hos a most rapid and destructive effect on their efficiency. Brass bearings and other working parts of the motors are to be been at Randwick, which have been, owing to the action of the grit, worn entirely through in a very short space of time, und in the yard are a number of condemned axles, the bearing surfaces of which have been reduced by one inch in diameter after only 12 months' wear. The excessive vibration caused by thu rough state of the lines has also a very injurious effect on both motors and cars, .the continued Bhaking tending to loosen and weaken every joint in thom. The only remedy for this Btu te of affairs appears to be tn a proper construction of the streets, by moans of which the water and mud, instead of lodging as at prosent, on tho tramlines, will be carried away from them to the outer ' portion of the Btreets. The rails should also be laid on a more sulid foundation, so as to avoid the present unevenness of the lines, to which the exces- sive vibration is largely due. The average life of a tram motor is only nine years, and it is estimated that tho aver- age time during which a motor will run without exten- sive repairs is only nine months. As the lepairs usually take about two months, it follows that each motor only runs about 10 months out of each year, lt must be remembered, howevor, that tho tram motors run over an unusually large mileage, tho average number of mila) run yearly by each motor being 27,506. This is a larger number of miles than is run by any of the loco- motives on our main lines of railway, and will compare favourably with the work done on any railway line. The tramcars aro still more frequently in need of repairs, the wholo of the carriages being turned over three times in the course of the year. This means that each carriage needs repairs about three times a year, and thus spends about three months of each year at the workshops, the other nino months beiug spent in active service. Of course the necessity for repairs to the rolling stock is largely inoreasod through tho collisions which are continually occurring in the Btreets, with cabs, cartB, &c, and by which the carriages and motors are often seriously damaged. In 1886 the average number of motors in use was 62, and the average total number of motors 96, giving the averago number of motors under repair 44. The total cost of repairing motors during 1886 was £34,963, and the total cost of repairing the carriages, £10, 00. At present thcro are about 40 motors and ll carriages undergoing repairs, and about 326 men are employed at the works.
The improvements whioh have recently been effected at the workshops do not include tho erection of now sheds, but comprise the alteration and re-arrangement of the ex- isting Bhcds, and the erection of a quantity of new iron and wood-working machinery, much of which has been lying idle at tho works for some time. It was proposed a short time ago, to erect a now shed at a cost of £9000, but this expenditure has been found to bo unnecessary, as the ex- isting accommodation, if properly availed of, is quito suf- ficient for all present purposes.
Tho works consist of a number of separate sheds, disposed at intervals around a largo yard, through which branch lines run liom tho main line which puspos close by the establishment. The first shed entercáis the running shed, alargo gulvuniscd iron building measuring 300 feet by 60 feot, through which two lines of rails run. Cleaning pits under each line extend the whole length of tho Blied, affording easy access to the motors, either for tho purpose of cleaning or repairs. A quantity of repairing work is still being done in this shed, but it is intended, as soon ns tho arrangements are completed, to entirely discontinue repairing in this building, and to re servo it only for running purposes. By this means a clear line will bo obtained from end to end of the shed, and the traffic will be greatlv facilitated. This building, as well as tho other portions oí tho works, is lit by the electrio light, tho motive power for which is obtained trom' a 20-h.p. engine, situated in shed close by, which drives two powerful dynamos. Portable electrio lights are also tilted in tho cleaning pits, by moans of which the lower parts of the motors can bo lit up at night, and any part of tho machinery examined. As a largo amount of work is necessarily dono during tho night, these lamps prove very useful, and greatly facilitate tho work. Close to the running shed is'a small building used as a tinsmith's shop, where a number of men are-employed making and re- pairing lamps for tho tramcars and motors.
The fitting and machine shop is a large structure similar to tho ono previously mentioned, and measuring 300 feet by 40 feet, lt was originally used as a running shed, but is now being fitted up entirely for use as a machine shop. A largo numbor of the latest and most improved iron-working machines have boen erected, including several powerful lutbos, shaping machines, &c, some of which are alrondy at work. A complete line of shafting ÍB being erected, extending the whole length of the building, the motive power being provided by a 20-h.p. engino in the shed. Two engines are at present being fitted with new boilers in this shed, as well as a uumber of others undergoing minor repairs, and last year 12 engines received now boilers. As the boilers of a motor only hist from five to seven years, frequent renewals ave necessary, and it is important that every facility should be provided for this work. A recently introduced improvement in this shed is an ingenious and simple traversing gear, by means of which motors cnn be moved acrojs tho shod from ono lino to the other, or placed on the lino outside, thus enabling them to be moved to or from any part of tho shed without shifting any of the other motors undergoing repairs.
I The noxt shed contuing the smiths' and boilermaking
shops. The building is a new one, measuring 300 x 60 feet, and was erected last year. One-half of tho shed is fitted up as a smith's shed, in which 12 fires aro at present at work, ns well as a spring furnace for tho manufacture of springs, which ore now being made on the premises. The furnaces aro kept going by a powerful Sturtevant fan, driven by a donkey-engine, which is capable of keeping up a draught for 30 fires. A 500-cwt. steam-hammer is also in operation in this shop. The other half of the shed is fitted up for the purpose of boiler-making and repairing, au the requisito machinery for making boilers being provided. It is intended as soon ns possible to start
the manufacture of boilers for the motors on tho premises, but up to the present the work has been confined to repairs. A number of large drilling machines are at work hero for piercing' the boiler-plates, &c. There is also a portable drilling machino of a new description in use, .which is known as the Stowe Flexible Drill. This machine consists of a small portable drilling machine, which is affixed to any part of a boiler required to be pierced, the motive power being obtained through a flexible shaft con- structed of wiro, which is rotated by means of an ingenious arrangement of pulleys and ropos. The engineers declare that this little machine is indispensable, und effects an immense saving in labour, the work which it now performs with the utmost ease and speed having for- merly been done by hand at great expendo. A travelling crane runs across tho roof of tho shed, which is powerful enough to lift and move the heaviost boilers used in the depart mont. Boforo leaving tho shed alt boilers are tested with warm water by a hydraulic machine up to a pressure of 18Ulh., after which they aro tested by steam. A quantity of machinery is stared in the corner of "the shed, which has not yat been erected, but which will be put in place as soon
as timo permits.
The carriaga-rcpairing shop is in another large shed, measuring 300 x 6u foot, which is titted up with the most modern wood-working machinery, including circular and band saws, planing, moulding, and mortising machines, &c. Tho motive power is obtuiuod by a 12-h.p. engine in the shed. This machinery lins only just been put to work, although it has been for some time in stock at the works. At present repairs only are being dono hore, but there is nothing to prevent tho tram oarringes from being entirely manufactured in tho shop, as the most complete machinery
for til« mimosa is nrovidml. Thurn urn now nÎAVAn mr.
riages under repair "in the shop, some of which are being decorated and fitted up prior to being sent to Newcastle.
Tho works also include a emull brass foundry and pattern shop, and theusuul offices and auxiliary shops. A hydraulic press for forcing tho wheels on to the axles is now at work, and a larger machino for this purpose, which has been lately imported, ÍB about to be erected. Everything necessary for the rapid execution of works has been, or will shortly be, provided, and it will be seen that there is now nothing to prevent tho works from keeping pace with the requirements
of the tramway systoni.