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THE PROSPECT MOUNTAIN CABLE INCLINE RAILWAY;
LAKE GEORGE, N. Y.

The latest addition to inclined railways built in this country for the attraction and accommodation of tourist traffic is the Prospect Mountain Incline Railway at Lake George, which was built last winter for the Horicon Improvement Co. The railway starts from a point near the terminus of the Delaware & Hudson R. R. at Caldwell, N. Y., and ascends Prospect Mountain, about 1½ miles west of that place, rising in 6,625.7 ft. to an elevation of 1,950 ft. above Lake George and 2,250 ft. above sea level. From the summit of the mountain there is a wide range of view, comprising the southern peaks of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the Green Mountains in Vermont, the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains in New York, and the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts. Lake George is the largest and most easterly of the lakes of the Adirondack region. It is about 210 miles from New York and 71 miles from Albany. The lake is 346 ft. above sea level and 247 ft. above Lake Champlain. The region is a famous summer resort, and is rich in historical associations; the ruins of Fort George, Fort William Henry and Fort Ticonderoga serving as reminder, of the early days when numerous battles were fought here between the French and English armies and the Indians. The names of Generals Abercrombie, Howe and Burgoyne, of the English armies, and General Montcalm, of the French army, are associated with the military history of the region.

The old Lake House, at the summit of Prospect Mountain, was bought last year by Mr. Wm. M. Peck, of Glens Falls, N. Y., who has made considerable improvements and extensions, and the railway and hotel are owned by the Horicon Improvement Co., of which Mr. Peck is President and Mr. A. B. Colvin, of Albany, N. Y., State Treasurer, is a director. Construction of the railway was commenced on Jan. 2, 1895, and was carried on through many difficulties incident to the cold and snow. The first car was run on June 2 and the road was opened to traffic on June 15. The total cost was about $120,000.
The length of the line, measured on a level, is 6,625.7 ft., and the total rise is 1,594.7 ft., the length measured on the grade of the incline being 6,780 ft. The average grade is 24%, the maximum grade being 37.8% and the minimum 13½%. The alinement, commencing at the lower station and not including the turnout curves at the middle, is about as follows:
The line has a single track of 3-ft. gage, with a four-rail turnout on passing place at the middle. The rails weigh 35 lbs. per yd., and are spiked to ties 6 x 6 ins. and 8 ft. long, spaced about 24 ins. c. to c. The joints are supported, spliced by plain fishplates, and the ends of the rail base are notched for spikes to prevent creeping. On each side of the track is a yellow pine guard rail, 6 x 8 ins., built up of two timbers 6 x 4 ins., laid to break-joints and bolted with mushroom headed bolts at each tic. These guard timbers are embraced by the Otis double-grip safety brake, which is applied automatically in case of the car getting beyond control, or can be applied by hand in case of emergency. The ties rest upon longitudinal timbers, 6 x 10 ins., which are bolted to mudsills spaced 6 ft. 8 ins. apart, or 4 ft. apart under the joints of the stringers. The line is in cut and fill, with the exception of four trestles. On the lower half of the line the excavation is mainly in earth and hardpan, while on the upper part the excavation is in granite. The four trestles aggregate 1,400 ft. in length, and have a maximum height of about 25 ft. They are built of native hemlock, except that the stringers are of Southern yellow pine, and the construction closely resembles that used on the Catskill Mountain cable incline, shown in our issue of Aug. 18, 1892. The bents are 16 ft. apart, and are built up of two plumb-posts 10 x 10 ins. and two batter-posts 8 x 10 ins., formed into sills 10 x 10 ins., and caps 10 x 10 ins. x 8 ft. The transverse diagonal bracing is of planks, 2½ x 8 ins., spiked to the caps and sills, and longitudinal diagonal bracing is placed between some of the bents. There are also longitudinal timbers, 4 x 8 ins., bolted to the inside of the bottom of the plumb-posts. Under each rail are two stringers 6 x 14 ins. on edge, laid to break-joint, and separated by 2-in. thimbles, and these stringers rest on corbels 6 x 12 ins., 3 ft. long, notched onto the caps, to give the proper inclination for the stringer bearings. The ties are 6 x 6 ins., 18 ins. apart in the clear. They are 13 ft. long, carrying a 42-in. footway on one side, protected by a wooden railing 4 ft. high.

The work was laid out entirely by measurements parallel to the grade line, so that the difference of elevation at any two stations is the sine of the angle of the slope at that point, the horizontal distance being the cosine. The contours on the topographical plan accompanying the profile represent, therefore, not a vertical projection, as in ordinary practice, but a development of the topography by rolling out on the grade line. This method is said to, have greatly facilitated the calculations of grade and power required. The grades are so adjusted that the two trains with average loads, and including the weight of the cable, balance each other at all points of line. The curvature of the grade is not continuously convex downward, but is flattened for a short distance near the turnout by means of a curve convex upward, making a slight reverse curve in the profile. The calculations for balancing grades were made for cars weighing 14,000 lbs., carrying 27 passengers at 150 lbs. each (or 18,050 lbs. at each end of the cable), and a cable weighing 2½ lbs. per ft.

The cable is 1¼ ins. diameter, weighing 2.528 lbs. per ft., and is 7,150 ft. long, making four wraps on the winding drums. The ends of the cable are attached to the downhill side of the car frames, the cable passing under a saddle at the front of the car, which holds it down to within a few inches of the idler pulleys. These pulleys are of cast iron, 12 ins. diameter (to center of cable) on the tangents and 15 ins. on the curves, the latter being inclined towards the center of the curve and having a very high flange on the outer side. The pulleys are set 30 ft. apart, those for the ascending and descending cable being set two tie spaces apart, in order to provide room for the boxes and bearings. The pulley bearings run in babbitted boxes, and these boxes are supported by wrought iron straps bent to shape and fastened to the ties by lag screws. At the turnout the cable, which is normally above the rails, passes through a slot in the rails, dropping into the slot by its own weight and being guided by special pulleys for this purpose The turnout is operated automatically.

The cars are open, with canvas side curtains for use in bad weather, and have nine transverse seats; the seats being so set as to be horizontal on the grade. Each car is about 32 ft. long and 7 ft. 6 ins. wide, weighs a little over 13,000 lbs., and has seating accommodations for 54 passengers while 80 or 90 persons can be accommodated by standing. The front platform is of extra length, and is intended to carry freight and baggage. The car frame is of channel iron, and each car is carried on four 24-In. wheels, the wheelbase being 20 ft. The wheels on one side (on the outer rail) are double-flanged, or grooved, while those on the other side are flat, 8 ins. wide, in order to pass over the turnout, the flat wheel passing over the slot through which the cable drops, as above described. There is telephone communication between the cars and the power house, a copper signal wire being supported on iron standards attached to the ends of the ties, as shown, each car having a wire loop contact piece attached to the end of a vertical rod and held down upon the line wire by a spring. This wire contact replaces a grooved contact wheel, which was found to be liable to jump off the wire. Each car is also fitted with the necessary equipment of batteries, telephone and signal bell, and there is a code of bell signals for starting and stopping. The running speed is 850 ft. per minute, or about 10 miles per hour and the trip occupies about eight minutes on the average.

The safety grip consists of a heavy steel plate embracing the guard timber and resting against a butting frame of plates and angles, forming part of the car frame. A hinged dog is attached to the grip plate, and lies on the inner side of the guard timber. Both plate and dog have chiseled edges and are fitted with toothed plates. The hinged dog is held away from contact with the guard timber by a weighted lever having a vertical leg, whose end rests in the notch of a latch carried by a shaft, which is fitted with a pawl opposite the speed governor of the car axle. The main grip plate is held away from contact with the guard timber by a brass spring. The governor itself is similar in operation to the ball governor of a steam engine, but the balls are replaced with heavy plates, or jaws, having lugs or teeth formed on the outer edges. When the car attains excessive speed in descending, the plates fly out far enough to bring the teeth in contact with the pawl, thus releasing the latch and causing the weighted lever to drop, forcing the toothed dog and grip into the guard timber to a depth of about three-eigths in. on each side. The resisting power of this safety grip, acting on a yellow pine guard rail, has been found by experiment to be 28,000 lbs. The governor is set to act at a speed of 14 miles per hour. To release the grip, the motion of the car is reversed, so as to relieve the strain on the grip, and the conductor then pulls up the lever and sets it in the latch, after which the car can go ahead again. As the car must be drawn back before the grip can be released, it is evident that the conductor cannot release it unless the cable is intact. If from any cause the car should get beyond control, the conductor can apply the safety grip, throwing the latch by means of the handle shown in front of the dashboard, without waiting for the car to attain sufficient speed to cause the governor to apply the brake.

The hoisting plant is contained in a power house at the upper end of the incline. It consists of two Otis vertical inverted compound engines of the marine type, with cylinders 8 x 10 and 12 x 10 ins., and running at about 200 revolutions per minute. The exhaust of one engine is used in the low-pressure cylinder of the other, and valves are arranged in the steam pipes so that both engines can take live steam direct from the boilers in case of extra heavy loads, but this has not been necessary so far, as the engines are found to be capable of doing all the work required when working as compounds. They develop about 90 HP. when working compound, and can develop up to 200 HP. when working simple. Each engine drives a pinion 23 ins. diameter, the pinions being on opposite sides of the main spur wheel, which has a diameter of 8 ft. on the pitch line, a face 9 ins. wide, and teeth set at a pitch of about 2½ ins. The shaft of this wheel drives two cast iron drums 8 ft. diameter, one being an idler and the other a driving wheel, and the cable makes four turns round these drums. The engines are provided with a hand brake, and also with an emergency brake acting on the main driving drum, but there has been no necessity for the use of either of these brakes as yet, the working being completely controlled by the use of the steam valves. Steam is supplied by a Heine water-tube boiler of 200 HP., built by the Heine Safety Water Tube Boiler Co., of St. Louis, Mo., and this boiler also supplies steam for the electric plant for lighting the stations and hotels connected with the plant. The current is generated by a Westinghouse alternating dynamo, with a capacity for 1,100 lights of 16 c. p. There are converters at top and bottom of the incline. The water is taken from a mountain brook and pumped up into tanks of 12,000 gallons capacity at the power house by a special boiler and pump placed in the Valley to the west of the summit, at a point about 4,000 ft. distant from, and 600 ft. below, the summit. The supply of water is also used for the hotels and other buildings.

The road was designed and built for the Horicon Improvement Co., by the Otis Engineering & Construction Co., of New York city, and the operating plant was designed by Mr. Thomas E. Brown, Jr., M. Am. Soc. C. E., Chief Engineer and Manager of the latter company, to whom we are indebted for drawings and particulars used in preparing this article. Mr. C. F. Parker was the Resident Engineer. The grading trestles and trackwork were sublet to Mairs & Lewis, of New York city. The engines, safety devices, etc., were furnished by Otis Brothers & Co., of New York city, and the winding drums, pulleys, cars and frog and switch equipment by the Ramapo Iron Works, of Hillburn, N. Y. The cable, which is of the Lang-Lay pattern, was made by the John A. Roebling's Sons Co., of Trenton, N. J. The electric lighting plant was furnished by Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Co., of New York city.


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