Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (14/Nov/1882) – Huddersfield Tramways and Chapel Hill

HUDDERSFIELD TRAMWAYS AND CHAPEL HILL.

The tramway engine and ear were submitted to another trial on Monday morning, the chief object the Corporation had in view being to test the engine’s capability to ascend the extraordinarily steep gradient of Chapel Hill with the ear and a full complement of passengers. It will be remembered that on Monday week a similar trial took place, bat that the engine failed in the task. The trial of Monday, however, was a successful one. A few minutes after 11 o’clock the engine and car arrived at Chapel Hill, where it was met by the Major (Alderman J.F. Brigg), and the following members of the Corporation :— Alderman Henry Hirst, Reuben Hirst, James Jordan, Joseph Byram, James Crosland, and Councillors Thomas Chrispin, Benjamin Dickinson, Joseph Hirst, William Hirst, William Murphy, Richard Porritt, Benjamin Schofield (W.), George Walker, Edward Booth Woodhead, John Broughton, Hiram Barley, Joseph Clark, John Haigh, George Henry Hanson, Henry Horsfall, Daniel F.E. Sykes, Anthony Huddlestone, Godfrey Sykes, George Brook, Benjamin Hanson, Enoch Heppenstall, John Wilson, Benjamin Wade, John Cowgill, and Edmund H. Walker. Later on in the trials Alderman Wright Mellor took a seat in the car, and there were also present a number of the borough officials. Altogether there were 40 passengers in the inside and on the outside of the car, which is two over the number which the ear is authorised to carry, and with this load behind it the engine made a start at the bottom of Chapel Hill, and travelled over the gradient — which is one of 1 in 11½, about 300 yards in length, and the steepest tramway gradient in England — at a good speed, the rate at which it travelled never getting Blower than quick walking pace. With such a number of passengers in the ear the trial was considered eminently satisfactory. It was then determined to take a trip to Fartown, and leaving the bottom of Northumberland-street at 85 minutes to 12 the journey was completed in nine minutes. Bet in making the return trips the engine and car would not take the points at one of the loop lines, and this caused a delay of 20 minutes. Matters were, however adjusted and another start was made, the rest of the run being devoid of any hitch of moment. On reaching the photographic studio of Mr. T. Illingworth, Bradford Road, a photograph was taken of the engine and car, and occupants. The points at the end of Northumberland Street were taken very well, it was then decided that a run should be made to Lindley. This was again a capital test as to whether or not Mr. Wilkinson’s engine is capable of ascending gradients with a loaded car attached. The result proved that it was, as the long and steep gradient from the bottom of Westgate to the top of Snodley Hill was traversed in five minutes ; the entire run to Lindley being accomplished in 16½ minutes. But, at Lindley the points became again a difficulty, they having an unfortunate knack of springing back upon the wheels of the engine passing over them, thus posing them against the wheels of the car. This hitch was got over, and the return journey to Huddersfield was of a very satisfactory character, the Crown Hotel, Westgate, being reached in 15 minutes. In making the descents the driver has great command over the engine, being able to come down the hills at a uniform rate, and to stop the ear almost instantaneously. Now that the engine has acquitted itself so well, a few particulars concerning it may be interesting It has a 7¼ in. cylinder and 11-inch stroke ; wheels, 27½ in. diameter ; wheel-base 5ft. 8in. ; total weight of engine in working trim, 8 tons 6 cwt. ; and is the most powerful engine of its kind for working steep gradients. The engine is a departure from the ordinary tramway engine. The universal type used for the purpose is of a small locomotive kind pure and simple, with the steam pistons connected directly to the axles in the usual manner. The engine which is now being tried by the Huddersfield Corporation, and of which Mr. William Wilkinson, Wigan, is the patentee, has the cylinder placed vertically, driving an independent crank shaft, which transmits its motion by means of gear to the driving axle. The boiler is also of a vertical type, with very large heating surface, and has consequent consuming powers in proportion to its size. The boiler is extremely sensitive, being capable of generating large quantities of steam when suddenly called upon owing to the exigencies of the road (steep inclines, &c.). The cost of the engine is a little over £800.

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