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Старый 18.02.2011, 16:02   #1 (ссылка)
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RAILWAYS AND WAR before 1918. EARLY PETROL TRACTORS


RAILWAYS AND WAR before 1918. EARLY PETROL TRACTORS


The 'Scotch Express' (U.K.)

Improvisation was a feature especially of the British and, as the primitive trench tramways grew longer and more complex, man and mule haulage became insufficient. Hence front-line units evolved a weird and wonderful assortment of petrol-driven 'devices' made up from bits and pieces scrounged from all over the place. This shows a typical production, the 'Scotch Express' which was famous over a wide area, although mainly for its headboard! That was probably the most efficient thing about it, the remainder being composed of a trolley frame with an old De Dion engine and gearbox driving on one axle. Haulage power was virtually nil.

McEwan Pratt 10-h.p. tractor (U.K.)

Typically British, too, was the thought that since these ramshackle lines existed

it was better to try and find locomotives to run on them rather than relay the lot properly. The first result was the so-called McEwan Pratt tractor, in effect a standard design of E. E. Baguley Ltd. but built by a subsidiary firm. Two of these peculiar little machines were ordered for trials in 1916 but proved underpowered and tricky to handle so were rejected for trench-work. None the less the Inspectorate of Iron Structures—imposing name!—found them useful for trundling items round the sharp curves of base workshops and 50 were ordered. Plate 65 shows one on typical duty lugging a tank engine around. Loaded weight was just under 2 tons and they had a 2-cylinder water-cooled petrol engine.

McEwan Pratt 10-h.p. tractor with cab

This plate shows the McEwan Pratt machine as originally ordered; it is interesting to note the extremely small space taken up by the little petrol engine. The 'weather canopy' was optional but can have provided little protection to the driver unless the rail was falling vertically or the sun was at the zenith.

Early Ford car on rails (U.K.)

Naturally enough, attempts were made to convert road motors to run on rails in a more satisfactory manner than the 'Scotch Express' ever did. One fairly workman-like conversion was this early-pattern Ford Model T. The complete chassis including transmission and rear axle was mounted permanendy on a simple underframe, the original drive being transferred to rail wheels by means of chains and sprockets. To judge from the pile of sandbags dumped on the rear 'tray', adhesion was not as good as it might have been! This conversion can be considered a forerunner of the slightly more sophisticated Crewe tractors (Plates 68/69) although it was not convertible from rail to road or vice versa.

Crewe tractor (U.K.)

Another British improvisation, the Crewe tractor had its unlikely genesis in the London & North Western Railway Works after which it was named. Legend has it that the C.M.E.'s daughter 'while entertaining an officer on leave in Paris' dreamed up the idea of a light convertible tractor easily improvised from available parts. Or, to put it more poetically as the official history did, she 'devised a scheme whereby the vehicle, remaining self-contained, was both convertible and reconvertible; that is to say, like the hare it could speed along the high road to any given point or locality where, quickly transformed, it would, like the tortoise, commence its slower and uneven progress on a diminutive line of rails, laid haphazard across some devastated area, unballasted, lop-sided, up and down, this way and that way'.

Crewe realised the vision by simply taking the chassis of a standard Ford Model T motor-car and so modifying it that the road wheels could be quickly replaced with rail wheels in a plate underframe with chain drive from the Ford rear axle; the plates show the device in 'road' and 'rail' mode. Drive arrangements were necessarily crude; after much cogitation Crewe decided that optimum speed for the Ford trans-

mission was 25 m.p.h. and they reduced this by about half through gearing for rail use. There was no reverse gear but they proudly installed a built-in turning plate to 'allow the vehicle to be turned round at any point'. Confident in L.N.W. workmanship even over such an unlikely production, the Crewe engineers even guaranteed a haulage capacity of 5 tons on a 1 in 20 gradient. Alas, even Jove nods! hi spite of all the poetic descriptions the august Crewe works could not really envisage its products using any tracks less than of L.N.W. standard; thus the test track was laid immaculately and in 'front line' conditions the claimed performance often became almost non-existent.

Nor was the convertible feature much used; the machines were officially 'Motor Transport' property but once acquired by a tramway unit they were 'lost' to the road for good.

70 Rail motor lorry (Austria)

The British on the Western Front were not the only combatants to put road vehicles on rails. In Russia and on the Italian Front the Military Railways Department of the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Army also found the idea useful for rapid transport over lightly laid lines in difficult country; not much information is available about the subject of this painting but it is obviously a standard army lorry of the period simply converted for standard gauge by replacing the road wheels with flanged ones; the chain drive was probably original. Of note, however, is the railway-type coupling which suggests that it could be used either 'in multiple' or to haul light trailers.
71 Ford rail motor lorry (East Africa)

Possibly inspired by the Crewe tractors, the British Indian Army once more turned to the products of Henry Ford for the East African campaign of 1917-18. There, as the wily Count von Lettow Worbeck withdrew into Central Africa, the British communications got longer and longer: For some time almost the only viable link was a former rickety plantation railway of 60-cm. gauge which had been extended westwards from the so-called 'harbour* of Lindi. It could not withstand even light steam locomotives and the problem was only solved by commandeering some M.T. department Ford Model T i-ton lorries and mounting them on rail wheels. The conversion was simple, a crude bogie replacing the front axle while steel flanged wheels were pressed straight on to the original Ford rear axle. The result, once the Ford suspension had been suitably strengthened to stop axle breakages, was effective and the vehicles even towed light trailers.

PUGS (60-cm. gauge) 1914-18

Trench tramways, however, were only the last link in the distribution system. Much more important were the true tactical light railways. Every army had light 4- or 6-wheeled locomotives for shunting base areas on their tactical light railways. Typical were the two British designs; slightly less typical was one produced for the French.

Hudson 0-6-0WT (U.K.)

The first steam locomotives used on British Western Front light railways were a class of 0-6-0 well tanks supplied by the well-known firm of R. Husdon Ltd. They were actually built by Messrs. Hudswell Clarke Ltd. under subcontract but are always known as 'Hudsons' or 'pugs' (generic nickname for a short-wheelbase shunter). These were conventional industrial machines used from early 1916 on, and 58 in all saw service, at least one even gaining a 'wound stripe' for damage on active service by enemy fire! Leading dimensions were: cylinders 6J in. by 12 in.; boiler pressure 180 lb/sq in.; weight in working order 6*98 tons; wheelbase 4 ft 2 in.; wheel diameter 1 ft n in.

Barclay 0-6-0 WT (U.K.)

Twenty-five of these were ordered during 1916, being an adaptation of the makers standard 'F' class design. Produced by the Scottish firm of Andrew Barclay Ltd., they appear to have been used almost exclusively by the Australians, and no other class of Allied or Axis locomotive was so little photographed! Leading dimensions were: cylinders 6| in. by io| in.; boiler pressure 160 lb/sq in.; weight in working order 6f tons; wheelbase 4 ft 4 in.; wheel diameter 1 ft 10 in.

Baldwin 0-6-0ST (U.S.A. for France)

In somewhat striking contrast to the angular British designs was this typically American 0-6-0ST, a hundred of which were produced for the French Government Artillery Railways in 1916. Like most 60-cm. gauge steam locomotives it was of simple—although rather low-slung—design and was fitted with a water lifter to enable it to take water from any source. Notable are the full cab and the direct, external sandpipes to the front and rear wheels. The large spark arrester was fitted since it had to work among live ammunition and other explosive stores. Leading dimensions were: cylinders 9 in. by 12 in. and coupled wheels of 26 in. diameter.
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