Scientific American, December 11, 1909
Chicago and the Railroad System of the Middle West.
THE CAPITAL OF THE MIDDLE WEST.—When the first American settler, John Kinzie, the Indian trader, established himself at the mouth of the Chicago River in the year 1803, he little imagined that he was responsible for the beginnings of one of the greatest cities in the world, nor did he know that he had accidentally hit upon the very spot which, by virtue of its geographical location, was destined to become the greatest railroad center in the world. On the other hand, to do justice to this first settler, it should be mentioned that the spot which he chose for the home of himself and family was a center, even at that early day, well adapted for such trade as came his way; for as far back as the early days of French exploration, the Chicago river formed part of a line of travel by which the Indians reached the Mississippi River. By journeying up the river and its south branch, a portage of some four or five miles brought the Indians across the divide, and enabled them to launch their canoes on the Des Plaines River, down which they could pass to the Illinois River and so to the great Mississippi. It is interesting to note in this connection that the Chicago Drainage Canal, a splendid waterway 22 feet deep and from 110 to 202 feet wide, follows approximately this old Indian trading route.
Whether or not John Kinzie had any conception of the great strategical importance of the place which he had selected to make his home and drive his bargains, subsequent history has shown that this lonely spot in the remote wilderness was destined to become the greatest meeting and distribution point of that wonderful network of railways which has grown up so rapidly over the whole face of the United States. On the opposite bank of the river from the Kinzie home the United States government located Fort, Dearborn, a mere stockade containing two blockhouses, the first garrison of which consisted of one company of infantry of the First Regiment. The settlement at Fort Dearborn made but little growth until after the war of 1812, and in 1830 it consisted of a hamlet of log houses tenanted by less than one hundred people. In 1827 Congress authorized the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and the State was granted alternate sections of land on both sides of the canal route. The commissioners proceeded to lay out towns, one of which was Chicago, which was located at the eastern terminus of the canal. The lands were thrown open for purchase in the year 1830. Buildings were erected, and a movement of settlers at once commenced, chiefly by way of the lakes and largely from New York and the New England States. In 1833 Congress made an appropriation for a harbor at Chicago; a channel “W as cut through the sandbar at its mouth; and in 1834, for the first time, a schooner sailed up the river. Three years later the town was incorporated as a city with a population of 4,170.
The canal failed to fulfill the high hopes with which it had been constructed, and indeed it was not finally completed until the year 1848; but a new method of transportation was at hand, which was destined to do for Chicago and the surrounding country all and far more than had ever been promised by the canal. In the year 1847 the first mile of railroad (running toward Galena, Ill.) was commenced, and three years later there were forty-two miles of connecting lines. In February of 1852 the city was connected with the Foast by the Michigan Southern Railway, and in the following May by the Michigan Central. The effect upon the growth of population was instantaneous. Although between 1837, the year of its incorporation, and 1840 the city had increased only from 4,170 to 4,479 in population, the inception of railroad construction proved such a powerful stimulus, that by 1850 Chicago had a population of 28,269; by 1860, of 109,206; and by 1870, of 306,605. Then, in 1871, came the Great Fire. That terrible disaster, by all the logic of human events should have dealt a death blow to the city, or at least have retarded its growth for many a decade to come. three and a third square miles of the city were swept out of existence, and property valued at $187,000,000 was destroyed; but so far from checking the growth of Chicago, the disaster served merely to demonstrate the latent resources of the city, and the unbounded faith both of its people and the country at large in its future destiny. The wreck of the wooden city was quickly swept away, and within two years the burned area was covered with buildings of the most modern type; furthermore, nine years after the disaster Chicago had passed the half million mark with a population of 503,298. In the next ten years, the population had more than doubled, the census of 1890 showing 1,105,540. In 1900 it had grown to 1,698,575 souls; and the city’s area, which in 1837, the year of its incorporation, was 2.55 square miles, had increased to 190.638 square miles. To-day the population of Chicago is estimated to be 2,572,900, and the assessed valuation of all taxable property is $477,921,976.
1910 Steam Railway Map of Chicago and Vicinity prepared for the Transportation Exhibition of the City Club of Chicago, 1912 by Charles K. Mohler, C.E., Rand McNally, 1912.
CHICAGO THE GREATEST RAILROAD CENTER IN THE WORLD.—It takes but a look at the railroad map of the United States to understand why Chicago is to-day, and has been for many years, the greatest railroad center in any country. Situated at the southern end of Lake Michigan, which projects far down into the great empire of the Middle West, it not only intercepts all the great trunk railroads, which reach with their connections from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but it forms a natural meeting and transfer point for those products of the West, which seek the advantage of water transportation to and from the East afforded by the chain of Great Lakes. In the opening up of the vast unoccupied regions of the West and Middle West, Chicago, in common with St. Louis, formed a natural starting point for the pioneers and immigrants who were seeking to better their fortunes in a new and undeveloped country. In this work of development, the railroad was always the predominant factor. Starting from Chicago, lines began to radiate out over the wide and fruitful areas of the great Mississippi Valley, across the vast prairies, which awaited only the plowshare and’ the husbandman to develop their latent fertility; and into the far-distant Rockies, where lay hidden a vast store of mineral wealth. On the other hand, the eastern railroads, as they pushed their way across the range of mountains which separates the older eastern States from the great Middle West, naturally laid their course for Chicago as the natural point of connection with the rapidly extending rail road systems of the West. Meanwhile, the discovery of gold in California, and the increasing enlightenment as to the natural resources in timber and agricultural land of the country lying between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast, had led to an extensive’ immigration by sea and overland into that country. Railroads were built upon the Pacific coast ; and it was not long before the systems of the Middle West began to push boldly through the Rocky Mountain range, with a view to securing transcontinental connections. The ‘completion of the first road of this character, the Union Pacific; was followed by the building of the Northern Pacific, the Atchison & Santa Fe, the Great Northern, and this year the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul completed its transcontinental connection. Meanwhile, a great north-and-south route was being built in the Mississippi Valley, which ultimately developed into the present Illinois Central Railway, by which direct communication is afforded from Chicago to the Gulf.
It is impossible within the limits of the present article to enter into the history of the development and growth of the complicated network of railroads which is directly tributary to Chicago; but the claim of the city to be the leading railroad center is suggested by the following table, which gives the number of through and suburban trains into and out of Chicago and the name and mileage of the various tributary roads. It will be seen that out of a total mileage of about 225,000 miles of the whole of the United States, nearly one half, or 100,123 miles, is directly tributary to the city, and that, over these roads, a total of 1,294 trains enter and leave the city daily:
RECEIVING AND DISTRIBUTING THE FREIGHT.—Elsewhere in the present issue we have spoken of the productiveness of that great empire of the Middle West of which Chicago is the capital. Spread out over the twelve States, which in government reports are known as the North Central Division of the United States, with their area of 753,550 square miles, and their population of over 30,000,000, are between 85,000 and 90,000 miles of track. Within this area is more than one-half of the wealth invested in improved farms in the United States, and over one-half of the live stock and neat cattle_ It produces 78 per cent of the total food products and more than one-half of the butter, cereals, potatoes, and poultry that are raised in the entire country. Although distinctly an agricultural district, it is rapidly moving forward to its ultimate position as the leading manufacturing center. Already it possesses 190,000 manufacturing establishments, representing an invested capital of over $3,000,000,000, which pay out annually between $700,000,000 and $800,000,000 in wages, and the value of whose annual pItJducts is about $4,500,000,000, or about 35 per cent of the value of the products of the whole country. As far back as 1905, the total output of bituminous coal was 81,000.000 tons, or over 33 per cent of the total amount of bituminous coal mined in the United States. That Chicago is the center to which the products of the West and Middle West are carried for distribution and reshipment is shown by the statistics of the Chicago Board of Trade for 1908, from which we learn that in that year the railroads brought into the city over 10,000,000 barrels of flour and 239,000,000 bushels of wheat, corn, oats, rye, and barley, of which over 9,000,000 barrels of flour and over 180,000,000 bushels of cereals were reshipped by lake and railway. In the same year over 3,000,000 cattle and 8,652,000 hogs were received at the stockyards by rail. Of potatoes over 12,500,000 bushels, and of hay some 300,000 tons were brought in, mainly by rail. Limits of space prevent any further statement of statistics, but enough has been quoted to give an adequate impression of the enormous quantity of freight which day by day enters the city, either for home consumption or for reshipment to other ports.
Chicago has solved the problem of redistribution and reshipment admirably by the construction of a belt railroad, which extends around the city, and connects with each of the railroad freight terminals. As the trains roll into the various yards, they are broken up, and the various cars sorted out and rearranged according to the particular railroad over which their journey is to be continued, or the particular point within the city at which delivery is to be made. The resorting of the cars is done in some cases by gravity, the cars being started down a gentle incline, at the bottom of which the track communicates by switches with scores of parallel tracks, on which the separate trains are made up. This railroad is a complete organization in itself, possessing its own locomotives, train hands, and office staff ; and the system of distribution is probably the most efficient of its kind in the world. In this connection it is interesting to note that within the limits of the city of Chicago are more miles of railroad track than some States contain within their borders. Altogether 2,494.59 miles of track are owned by eighteen of the twenty-six lines which center in Chicago.
CHICAGO’S SIXTY MILES OF FREIGHT SUBWAY.—The Illinois Tunnel Company owns and operates sixty miles of subway for freight traffic under the business heart of Chicago. Connections are ma.de with all of the principal freight and passenger stations of the city, and with the docks on the three branches of the Chicago River. There are also connections with the basements of many of the leading wholesale, retail, and manufacturing industries of Chicago. A disposal station is situated on the west bank of the Chicago River, from which vast quantities of excavated material, refuse, and other waste are loaded on scows and transported to final dumping grounds away from the city. The direct connection of the freight subway and this disposal station saves hauling through the streets of Chicago thousands of tons of waste material. The tonnage of freight handled to and from t?e railways through the tunnel has shown a steady increase during the last six years, and has decreased the hauling by teams through the city. Whether the bore of this tunnel will be enlarged to accommodate passenger traffic, as well as freight traffic, is one of the problems now under consideration; but it seems reasonable to expect that a start will be made in the near future on some plan to handle ‘ the immense passenger business within the city underground, and thereby relieve the congestion of the streets.
RAILWAY TERMINAL FACILITIES.-Until recently the terminal facilities for passenger service in Chicago have not been commensurate either with the importance of the city or with the size of its passenger traffic. This condition, however, is being fully corrected. The president of the Pennsylvania Railroad recently announced that a new station would be built in Chicago, and that the work would be started at an early date, and pushed to completion as rapidly as possible. The cost of the new Union Station is to be about $25,000,000, and it will be occupied by the same railroads that now use the Union Station-the Pennsylvania, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, the Chicago &: Alton, and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The Northwestern Railway is completing a $20,000,000 passenger station that will be ready for occupation early in 1910. With once exception it will be the largest passenger station in the United States/ Over thirteen acres of ground will be occupied by the station and station tracks. The approaches cover thirty additional acres, fifteen acres being used for the north and the west approaches. The present station, with capacity for handling fifty thousand passengers per day, is now overtaxed; the new terminal will be capable of taking care of a quarter of a million people every twenty four hours.
The plans call for an elevated terminal. reached by two elevated approaches of four tracks each, and a train shed 800 feet long and 320 feet wide, that will contain sixteen tracks, each with a capacity of fifteen cars. The area of the basement is over two acres; the street floor of the station building covers one and three-quarters acres; the train shed, six acres. Altogether there will be practically ten acres of of floor space devoted to public use. One of the most important features is the treatment of the train shed. This structure will not have the usual long black expanse of sooty roof that offends the eye. The sixteen long tracks which will occupy the shed will be covered by what is known as the “Bush roof,” in which the curve of the roof over each pair of tracks is broken by a concrete slot or duct, running the length of each track, and so placed that the locomotive funnels will discharge through it into the open air.
The electrification of Chicago steam railways inside of the city limits is at present a big problem to Chicago terminal lines and a popular subject with the people and the newspapers. Although an ordinance was passed by the City Council compelling Chicago railroads to provide other than steam power within two years, it is frankly stated by the authors of the ordinance that they appreciate that the work cannot be done within this time, but that they hope to see a start made toward electrification of Chicago terminals. At present the fight is centered on the Illinois Central Railway, the trains of which run along Chicago’s otherwise beautiful lake front. The smoke and noise from the frequent suburban trains on the Illinois Central at the city’s front door have accentuated the popular demand for a change in motive power.
It will be pertinent just here to give a few facts illustrating the magnitude of the business done by some Western roads, and the punctuality with which it is carried on. Subsequently to an announcement by one of the leading Eastern roads that one of its crack trains between New York and Chicago had been on time during 123 consecutive days, the Burlington Route drew attention to the fact that the Denver Limited ran the distance of 1,026 miles into Denver from Chicago on time for 136 consecutive days, and that it was on time 531 days out of 546 days from January 1st, 1908 to June 30th, 1909. That there has been a gratifying improvement in the safety of railway travel is shown by the fact that this company carried over 19,000,000 passengers during the past. year and that not a single one of these was killed. A similar creditable record is reported by the St. Paul, the Northwestern, the Santa Fe, the Rock Island, and the Alton roads. The Burlington system alone employs 42,100 officers and men, owns 1,703 locomotives and 52,403 freight cars, carried during the past year 32,379,520 tons of freight, and its receipts amounted to $78, 500,000, an increase of about 100 per cent in ten years. Another instance of the volume of business in and out of Chicago by rail is afforded by the Chicago & Alton Railway, which on a mileage of 998.8 miles moved 9,668,927 tons of freight, carried 3,828,056 passengers, and received and forwarded at Chicago 3,749,920 tons of freight.
MODERN IMPROVEMENTS !N TRACK AND ROLLING STOCK.—The present necessarily brief survey of railroad conditions in Chicago and the Middle West would be incomplete without some reference to the really remarkable improvements . which have been made during the past twenty-five years, both in the roadbed and in the rolling stock. The pioneer roads, built when capital was scarce, and extended into countries in which they had to literally create the traffic from which returns upon the investment could be made, were necessarily, if we may be excused the expression, “cut according to the cloth.” “Cheap first cost” was the controlling motive of their construction ; and the locating engineer was told to lay out his line with as little disturbance of the surface of the ground as possible. Hence, he ran his survey around the hills, or over them by steep grades, instead of through them by cut or tunnel. His line ran down into the valleys, or crossed them by cheap timber trestles. Wood was used in place of costly steel for the bridges over streams and rivers. The ties were frequently laid directly upon the surface of the ground, with practically no ballast beneath them;the steel rail was of the lightest weight which could carry the engines and cars. Twenty-five years ago, fifty tons was the average weight of the engine, and twenty tons was the maximum load for a car. The grades over the mountain were frequently two per cent, and sometimes ran up to three per cent or over, thereby greatly limiting the load which any one engine could haul over a given stretch of land.
With the settlement of the country and the development of the passenger and freight traffic, the variou s railroad companies began to find themselves in a position to bring their roadbed and rolling stock up to a higher standard, suitable to the rapidly increasing movement of freight and passengers; and during the past fifteen years hundreds of millions of dollars have been expended in this work. Much of the track has been relocated; curves have been eased or eliminated altogether; grades have been cut down; timber trestles have been replaced by solid earth or rock embankments; wooden bridges have given place to massive structures of steel; heavy grades over the mountain summits have been eliminated by the simple but enormously costly process of tunneling right through the solid mountain itself ; millions of tons of rock ballast have been distributed and tamped beneath the ties; and the light rails of 56 to 60 pounds weight to the yard have given place to rails weighing from 75 to 90 pounds.
Furthermore, many of the important western railroads are double-tracking their lines. The Santa Fe is building double track for its main line between Chicago and Kansas City, and beyond as far as Newton, Kansas. Between Chicago and Newton 644 miles of second track are now in operation, having been recently built at a cost of $22,500,000. Between Chicago and St. Paul and Minneapolis, the St. Paul road has been pushing to completion the double-tracking of its main line; and between Chicago and Omaha the Northwestern Railway has already completed its double track. and the Burlington road will complete the same work at an early date.
The transcontinental roads which have been built during the past few years will, of course, be spared these costly expenses for betterments. In a recent issue of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT we gave a complete description of the Pacific Coast extension of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. On the afternoon of March 29th of this year the last rail of this extension was laid. It is now known as the Chicago, Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railway. The first shovelful of earth on this enterprise was turned in April, 1906, so that the whole of this $100,000,000 enterprise was completed in three years time.
The improvement in railway track has been fully matched by the development of the rolling stock. Freight cars have increased in capacity from 20 tons to 50 tons; passenger engines have increased in weight from 50 tons to 135 tons; and freight engines from 60 to 70 tons have gone up to a weight of 213 tons-the above being the weights merely of the engines alone. The largest passenger engines are the magn ificent six-coupled, ten wheel engines used on the New York Central and allied roads, and built by the American Locomotive Company. They have cylinders 22 inches in diameter by 28 inches stroke, coupled to three pairs of 79-inch driving wheels. The boiler, 6 feet in diameter, has 4,195 square feet of heating surface. The engine alone weighs 130.7 tons, and the maximum tractive power is 16.7 tons. These engines can haul as many as fourteen Pullman cars, or say about 800 tons of train, on the level, at 55 to 60 miles an hour.
Even more striking has been the growth in weight and power of freight locomotives, especially since the introduction of the articulated type. The largest and most powerful of these is a mammoth affair built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Mountain Division of the Southern Pacific Railway. It is a compound with two high-pressure cylinders 26 inches diameter by 30 inches and two low-pressures 40 inches in diameter by 30 inches stroke. The boiler has 6,393 square feet of heating surface. The engine alone weighs 213 tons, and the engine and tender together weigh just under 300 tons. This engine is capable of taking a 2,000-ton train over the heavy grades of the Mountain Division of the Southern Pacific, and on the level it would be capable of hauling a train weighing 10,000 tons and carrying about 7,000 tons of freight at a speed of ten miles an hour.
THE MOST POWERFUL FREIGHT ENGINE AND THE LOAD IT CAN HAUL.
This huge Baldwin freight engine, weighing 300 tons, was built for the Southern Pacific Railroad. It is oapable of hauling at 10 miles an hour a train of 169 cars weighing, with load, 72 tons each. The train, weighing 10,000 tons, would reach for over a mile or, say, from City Hall Square to the Battery, New York. The lower cut represents the size of a single car, 200 feet by 45½ feet by 62 feet, that would be necessary to contain the load of wheat handled.
Scientific American, December 11, 1909
CHICAGO’S SIXTY MILES OF FREIGHT SUBWAY.
In our Engineering Number of December 5th of last year we illustrated a system of freight subway which had been proposed for solving the serious problem of freight congestion on the streets of this city. In the present Middle West Number we present illustrations of a complete system of freight tunnels, aggregating sixty miles in length, which has been completed below the business center of Chicago, and is now regularly engaged in conveying merchandise and the city’s mail directly to and from the railways, the Post Office, and the various office and commercial buildings of the city. The Chicago freight tunnels stand as a unique achievement among the great municipal undertakings of the world; and the capital city of the Middle West very justly prides itself upon the magnitude and completeness of this constructive work, which ranks in importance with that other great Chicago enterprise, the Drainage Canal.
Section of the Illinois Tunnel Company Map
The underlying conditions which have led to the construction of the subway are the same as those that have prompted” two powerful construction companies to make an offer to build a similar freight subway system beneath New York city, namely, the intolerably congested condition of the street traffic. It is the slow moving and bulky dray and the various freight and express vehicles that are chiefly responsible for the growing street congestion in the business centers of our great cities. It is claimed that, before the construction of its tunnel system, the conditions in the heart of Chicago were worse than in any other city not even excepting New York. The many trunk railroads which center in Chicago have done their best to shorten the haul to and from the freight terminali and the various business houses, for if one looks at a map of Chicago it will be seen that these terminals are located in the very heart of the city, and that they have reached a point beyond which, because of the high value of land, they cannot possibly go.
The credit for the solution of the problem of freight distribution is due to Albert G. Wheeler, who several years ago applied to the City Council for a franchise on behalf of the Illinois Tunnel and Telephone Company for the construction of a system of tunnels which should be used for the transmission of “sounds, signals, and intelligence by means of electricity or otherwise!’ The franchise was granted and work was commenced in a very unostentatious manner, the necessary capital being found by private parties. The lines as now completed extend from Armour Avenue and Archer Avenue on the south to Chicago Avenue and Kingsbury Street on the north to Green Street on the west. The greater part of the sixty miles of tunnel is six feet in width and seven and a half feet in height, but there are also trunk tunnels which are twelve feet in height and vary in width from ten to fourteen feet. It was st ipulated that the floor of the tunnel should be about forty feet below the street level, and as it is gene rally seven and a half feet high, it follows that the tunnel roof is about thirty-three feet below street level. By constructing the system at this depth all interference with the water and gas pipes and sewers of the city was avoided, and sufficient room was left for the construction of a complete passenger subway system between the street surface and the tunnel whenever the city should be prepared to take up such a work.
It was stipulated in the franchise that the tunnel must be built below the center line of the streets, and this has been done. In prosecuting the work, shafts were sunk, as a rule, in the basements of various buildings, which were rented for the purpose of the tunnel company ; and these basements were used for mixing the concrete and for installing the air-compressing plants which supplied the necessary air at ten pounds pressure for the pneumatic system under which the whole work was prosecuted. From the shafts above mentioned the workmen drifted out to the center of the street, where the work of excavation was carried on in opposite’ directions. In the earlier years of construction the material was hoisted to street level, loaded into contractors’ carts, and hauled to the dumping ground on the lake front; this work being done entirely in the night time, to avoid any interference with the already crowded traffic of the day time. In later years the dump cars have been run to the surface by means of an incline and hauled by electric locomotive to the lake front, where already an addition has been made to the area of the city’s park of about twenty acres. As the average fill is forty feet in depth, it can be understood that, had this enlargement been made by the city itself, it would have cost about $600,000.
The system is operated entirely by electricity, and the equipment consists at present of 175 motors of the Jeffrey and the General Electric types and 3,502 cars. There is a tezlephone installed on every block, and the movements of the trains are directed entirely by this means.
Although the wording of the franchise would ind icate that the tunnels were to be constructed primarily for the installation of telephone and telegraph lines, it will be understood that the greatest revenue-earning power will be derived from the transportation of freight. It is estimated that about one hundred thousand tons of freight are hauled through the streets of Chicago each day; and if the tunnel company should haul only one-third of this, the total for the year would amount to over ten million tons. Hitherto no great effort has been made to push this branch of the business; but now that the system i s about completed, it is expected that full connections will be made with the various business houses, and great increase in traffic will follow. Connection between the various warehouses and the tunnels is made by sinking a shaft and equipping it with electric elevators, which run from the track level below to the particular floors of the warehouse upon which the freight is to be delivered.In the case of a big warehouse, such as Marshall Field & Company, the loaded cars are hoisted to the desired floor, unloaded, loaded with the outgoing freight, returned to the tunnel, and drawn to the particular railroad freight station desired. It will not, of course, be possible to have direct connection between warehouse and tunnel in every case, and hence central depots will be provided at various suitable locations throughout the city, so placed that the average haul by team will not amount to more than one or two blocks. One immediate advantage of the system is that the wholesale houses are now able to carry on business throughout the twenty four hours of the day. Under present conditions, after the teams have gone home for the night, the goods that are ready for shipment have to wait until the following day; and at busy seasons of the year it is not unusual for a delay of several days to occur. By using the tunnel system, the merchant can make immediate shipments of his freight, whether it consists of one truckload or fifty.
Typical Street Intersection
The tunnels will serve many useful purposes outside of that of transportation of merchandise. One of these, and a very important one, is that of the hauling away of material from the excavations for buildings within the city. Hitherto, this has been done by teams upon the surface; but the present method is to run a steel chute from the excavation down to the tunnel on an angle of about forty five degrees. The workmen wheel the material to the mouth of the chute, and dump it; and it is received and drawn away by cars, which are successively moved below the mouth of the chute in the tunnel. When a train has been made up, an electric locomotive hauls it to the dump on the lake front. By this method as much as 2,100 cubic yards of material has been removed from the basement of a single building in one day. The best that has ever been accomplished by teams in the same time is 420 cubic yards. Another important service rendered is that of bringing coal to the boiler plants of the various houses and the hauling away of ashes and other refuse.
In no direction has the tunnel proved more successful than that of . the transportation of mail. A twelve by thirteen foot subway has been constructed below the United States Post Office building, extending from Jackson Boulevard to Adams Street. The mail is thrown down chutes from the mailing platform to the platform of the subway, where the pouches are placed in the cars of the company and sent on to their destination. In the receiving of the mail at the Post Office, the pouches are unloaded from the cars onto a thirty-inch belt, which carries them up an incline to a point just below the driveway, where a cross-belt receives the m and delivers them onto the mailing platform. For this work the tunnel company employs sixty-six electric motors and one hundred and fifteen cars. During the year 1907, the electric mail trains made 337,060 trips and carried 10,059,567 bags, pouches, and packages of mail, with a record of 99.51 per cent perfect as regards the time of delivery at the various tunnel stations. On the day before Christmas of that year, the tunnels handled over 50,000 bags, pouches, and packages, which were transported in 1,391 cars and in 1,229 trips.
It can be readily understood that a complicated transportation system such as this, involving an enormous number of cross-overs and switches, demanded for its safe and uninterrupted operation a very complete system of signaling. The method adopted is what is known as the Stolken train-signaling system, the invention of Mr. J. J. Stolt and Mr. W. J. C.Kenyon, the vice-president of the tunnel company. Limitations of space prevent any detailed description, but in brief the system may be described as one which does not employ track circuits, but which embodies two distinctive adaptations; first, the absolute protection of an intersection of two tracks, and secondly, the maintenance of a signal or alarm for a definite time after a circuit closer has been actuated. The method is automatic. For the protection of an intersection of tracks, on each of which there is traffic in only one direction, red signal lamps are employed, which are lighted by an approaching train. These lights are so placed that warning is given to a train on the other track and to any train which may be approaching from the rear. After the train has set the warning signals, it crosses the intersection, and as it passes on restores all the signals to the “clear” or no signal condition. In addition to the red lamps, a green lamp is provided on each track, which indicates to the motorman of an approaching train that his signals are working properly, and so gives him permission to go ahead.