A coupling is a mechanism for connecting rolling stock in a train. The design of the coupler is standard, is as important as the track gauge, since flexibility and convenience are maximised if all rolling stock can be coupled together; the equipment that connects the couplings to the rolling stock is known as the draft gear or draw gear. The different types of coupling do not always have formal or official names, which makes descriptions of the couplings in use on any railway system problematic; the basic type of coupling on railways following the British tradition is the buffer and chain coupling. A large chain of three links connects hooks on the adjoining wagons; these couplings were made more regular. Buffers on the frame of the wagon absorbed impact loads; the simple chain could not be tensioned and this slack coupling allowed a lot of back-and-forth movement and banging between vehicles. Acceptable for mineral wagons, this gave an uncomfortable ride for passenger coaches, so the chain was improved by replacing the centre link with a turnbuckle that draws the vehicles together, giving the screw coupling.
A simplified version of this, quicker to attach and detach, still used three links but with the centre link given a T-shaped slot. This could be turned lengthwise to lengthen it, allowing coupling turned vertically to the shorter slot position, holding the wagons more together. Higher speeds associated with fully-fitted freight made the screw-tensioned form a necessity; the earliest'dumb buffers' were fixed extensions of the wooden wagon frames, but spring buffers were introduced. The first of these were stiff cushions of leather-covered horsehair steel springs and hydraulic damping; this coupling is still widespread. The link-and-pin coupling was the original style of coupling used on North American railways. After most railroads converted to semi-automatic Janney couplers, the link-and-pin survived on forestry railways. While simple in principle, the system suffered from a lack of standardisation regarding size and height of the links, the size and height of the pockets; the link-and-pin coupler consisted of a tube-like body.
During coupling, a rail worker had to stand between the cars as they came together and guide the link into the coupler pocket. Once the cars were joined, the employee inserted a pin into a hole a few inches from the end of the tube to hold the link in place; this procedure was exceptionally dangerous and many brakemen lost fingers or entire hands when they did not get them out of the way of the coupler pockets in time. Many more were killed as a result of being crushed between cars or dragged under cars that were coupled too quickly. Brakemen were issued with heavy clubs that could be used to hold the link in position, but many brakemen would not use the club, risked injury; the link-and-pin coupler proved unsatisfactory because: It made a loose connection between the cars, with too much slack action. There was no standard design, train crews spent hours trying to match pins and links while coupling cars. Crew members had to go between moving cars during coupling, were injured and sometimes killed.
The links and pins were pilfered due to their value as scrap metal, resulting in substantial replacement costs. John H. White suggests that the railroads considered this to be more important than the safety issue at the time. Railroads progressively began to operate trains that were heavier than the link-and-pin system could cope with. An episode of the 1958 television series Casey Jones was devoted to the problems of link-and-pin couplings. To avoid the safety issues, Karl Albert director at the Krefeld Tramway, developed the Albert coupler during 1921, a key and slot coupler with two pins. Cars to be coupled were pushed together, both couplings moving to the same side. One pin was inserted the cars were pulled to straighten the coupling and the other pin inserted; this operation required less exact shunting. Due to the single-piece design, only minimal slack was possible; the system became quite popular with narrow gauge lines. During the 1960s most cities replaced them with automatic couplers.
But in modern cars, Albert couplers get installed as emergency couplers for towing a faulty car. The link and pin was replaced in North American passenger car usage during the latter part of the 19th century by the assemblage known as the Miller Platform, which included a new coupler called the Miller Hook; the Miller Platform was used for several decades before being replaced by the Janney coupler. Norwegian couplings consist of a central buffer with a mechanical hook that drops into a slot in the central buffer. There may be a U-shaped securing latch on the opposite buffer, fastened over the top of the hook to secure it; the Norwegian is found only on narrow gauge railways of 1,067 mm, 1,000 mm or less, such as the Isle of Man Railway, Western Australian Government Railways, the Ffestiniog Railway and the Welsh Highland Railway where low speeds and reduced train loads allow a simpler system. The Norwegian coupler allows sharper curves than the buffer-and-chain, an advantage on those railways.
On railway lines where rolling stock always points the same way, the mechanical hook may be provided only on one end of each wagon. The hand brake handles may be on one side of the wagons only. Norwegian couplings are not strong, may be supplemented by auxiliary chains. Not all Norwegian couplings are compatible with one another as they vary in height and may or may not be limited
Durban is the third most populous city in South Africa—after Johannesburg and Cape Town—and the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Located on the east coast of South Africa, Durban is famous for being the busiest port in the country, it is seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. Durban forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which includes neighboring towns and has a population of about 3.44 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. It is the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. In 2015, Durban was recognised as one of the New7Wonders Cities. Archaeological evidence from the Drakensberg mountains suggests that the Durban area has been inhabited by communities of hunter-gatherers since 100,000 BC; these people lived throughout the area of present-day KwaZulu-Natal until the expansion of Bantu farmers and pastoralists from the north saw their gradual displacement, incorporation or extermination.
Little is known of the history of the first residents, as there is no written history of the area until it was sighted by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who sailed parallel to the KwaZulu-Natal coast at Christmastide in 1497 while searching for a route from Europe to India. He named Christmas in Portuguese. In 1822 Lieutenant James King, captain of the ship Salisbury, together with Lt. Francis George Farewell, both ex-Royal Navy officers from the Napoleonic Wars, were engaged in trade between the Cape and Delagoa Bay. On a return trip to the Cape in 1823, they were caught in a bad storm and decided to risk the Bar and anchor in the Bay of Natal; the crossing went off well and they found safe anchor from the storm. Lt. King decided to map the Bay and named the "Salisbury and Farewell Islands". In 1824 Lt. Farewell, together with a trading company called J. R. Thompson & Co. decided to open trade relations with Shaka the Zulu King and establish a trading station at the Bay. Henry Francis Fynn, another trader at Delagoa Bay, was involved in this venture.
Fynn left Delagoa Bay and sailed for the Bay of Natal on the brig Julia, while Farewell followed six weeks on the Antelope. Between them they had 26 possible settlers. On a visit to King Shaka, Henry Francis Fynn was able to befriend the King by helping him recover from a stab wound suffered as a result of an assassination attempt by one of his half-brothers; as a token of Shaka's gratitude, he granted Fynn a “25-mile strip of coast a hundred miles in depth.” On 7 August 1824 they concluded negotiations with King Shaka for a cession of land, including the Bay of Natal and land extending ten miles south of the Bay, twenty-five miles north of the Bay and one hundred miles inland. Farewell took possession of this grant and raised the Union Jack with a Royal Salute, which consisted of 4 cannon shots and twenty musket shots. Of the original 18 would-be settlers, only 6 remained, they can be regarded as the founding members of Port Natal as a British colony; these 6 were joined by Lt. James Saunders King and Nathaniel Isaacs in 1825.
The modern city of Durban thus dates from 1824 when the settlement was established on the northern shores of the bay near today's Farewell Square. During a meeting of 35 European residents in Fynn's territory on 23 June 1835, it was decided to build a capital town and name it "D'Urban" after Sir Benjamin D'Urban governor of the Cape Colony; the Voortrekkers established the Republic of Natalia with its capital at Pietermaritzburg. Tension between the Voortrekkers and the Zulus prompted the governor of the Cape Colony to dispatch a force under Captain Charlton Smith to establish British rule in Natal, for fear of losing British control in Port Natal; the force arrived on 4 May 1842 and built a fortification, to be The Old Fort. On the night of 23/24 May 1842 the British attacked the Voortrekker camp at Congella; the attack failed, the British had to withdraw to their camp, put under siege. A local trader Dick King and his servant Ndongeni were able to escape the blockade and rode to Grahamstown, a distance of 600 km in fourteen days to raise reinforcements.
The reinforcements arrived in Durban 20 days later. Fierce conflict with the Zulu population led to the evacuation of Durban, the Afrikaners accepted British annexation in 1844 under military pressure; when the Borough of Durban was proclaimed in 1854, the council had to procure a seal for official documents. The seal was produced in 1855 and was replaced in 1882; the new seal contained a coat of arms without helmet or mantling that combined the coats of arms of Sir Benjamin D’Urban and Sir Benjamin Pine. An application was made to register the coat of arms with the College of Arms in 1906, but this application was rejected on grounds that the design implied that D’Urban and Pine were husband and wife; the coat of arms appeared on the council's stationery from about 1912. The following year, a helmet and mantling was added to the council's stationery and to the new city seal, made in 1936; the motto reads "Debile principium melior fortuna sequitur"—"Better fortune follows a humble beginning". The blazon of the arms registered by the South African Bureau of Heraldry and granted to Durban on 9 February 1979.
The coat of arms fell into disuse with the re-organisation of the South African local government structure in 2000. The seal ceased to be used in 1995. With the end of apartheid, Durban was subject to restruct
Cape Town Railway & Dock 0-4-2
The Cape Town Railway & Dock 0-4-2 of 1860 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope. In 1860, the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company took delivery of eight 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in broad gauge tender locomotives with a 0-4-2 wheel arrangement, the first tender locomotives to work in South Africa, they were acquired for service on the Cape Town-Wellington railway, still under construction. In 1872, these locomotives came onto the roster of the Cape Government Railways, which took over the operation of all railways in the Cape of Good Hope, they remained in service on the Wellington line while it was being converted to dual broad-and-Cape gauges from 1872, were only retired in 1881 when sufficient Cape gauge locomotives were in service. The first railway line in the Cape of Good Hope, the Cape Town-Wellington Railway, was built by the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company. After having made representations to the Cape Colonial Government in 1853 and 1855, the Company was granted approval, by Act no. 10 of 29 June 1857, to construct a 57-mile long railway between Cape Town and Wellington, via Stellenbosch.
The company appointed Messrs. J. Pickering as contractors for the construction of the line; the Act specified, amongst others, that: The locomotives for the railway should have only four wheels, since this would require less room inside buildings and would only need an 11-foot turntable. A locomotive, complete with apparatus and appendages, should only weigh 6 long tons; each locomotive have to be shopped, cleaned and, if necessary, repaired after every three days of work. Double the number of locomotives as required by the volume of traffic should therefore be kept in use. At least twelve locomotives should be ordered, at a nominal figure of £800 each. Since progress in locomotive design had advanced beyond the Cape Government's specifications of 1857, the maximum weight and wheel arrangement specifications were, ignored by the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company; the contractor's small 0-4-0T construction engine was more than double the specified weight, exceeding the limit by 8 long tons. As in England, it was decided to use 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in broad gauge.
The first sod was turned on 31 March 1859 by Sir George Grey, Governor of the Cape Colony from 1854 to 1861, but the planned railhead at Wellington was only reached on 4 November 1863, after the contractors, Messrs. E. & J. Pickering, had been dismissed in October 1861 and construction was taken over by the Company itself. In 1859, an order was placed with R and W Hawthorn in Newcastle upon Tyne in England for eight 0-4-2 tender locomotives; these engines, which arrived in two shipments on 20 March and 28 April 1860, were given names and were numbered from 1 to 8. Since the full complement of engines arrived when the construction of the line to Wellington had begun, they were erected and placed on display for the public, while awaiting the completion of sufficient track to be useful, they entered service on 20 October 1860. The locomotives were the first tender, they were painted in a green livery similar in shade to that of the Great Western Railway in England. It was to become the standard passenger livery of the Cape Government Railways, right up to the establishment of the South African Railways in 1910.
The locomotives were delivered without cabs, but cab sides and a roof were soon installed in addition to the weatherboard to offer better protection to the crew. The public was allowed to ride for the first time on 26 December 1860, on the line, only to reach Salt River on 8 February 1861, a distance of only 1 1⁄2 miles which took the contractor nearly two years to complete; this snail's pace led to a dispute between Cape Town Railway and Dock and the contractor, which ended in sabotage in October 1861. Upon being dismissed, the disgruntled contractor employees ran one of the new locomotives, no. 4 Wellington, into a culvert, with the result that it had to be sent to the newly established workshops at Salt River to have some serious damage repaired. Since the locomotives were free-steaming, they ran well and speeds of 30 miles per hour were common. On one occasion a train, with the unpopular Cape Governor Sir Philip Wodehouse on board, reached 60 miles per hour on the section between D'Urban Road and Salt River.
The line from Cape Town to Wellington took nearly five years to complete. The line to Eersterivier was opened on 13 February 1862. Stellenbosch was reached on 1 May 1862 and the railhead at Wellington on 4 November 1863. Work was completed about a year later. From Wellington, the only option for travellers who wished to go further inland was by road across the Bain's Kloof Pass, completed in 1853. According to the plaque attached to the plinth base of the first locomotive in South Africa at Cape Town station, construction engine no. 9 Blackie had the honour, in 1865, to haul the official inaugural train of the company's Cape Town-Wellington Railway to Wellington. The inscription on the plaque is untrue, since an engraving which depicts the arrival of the inaugural train at Wellington Station shows the train behind one of these eight 0-4-2 tender locomotives and not behind Blackie, still a 0-4-0 side-tank locomotive at the time. One of these eight tender engines had hauled the first train from Cape Town to Eersterivier on 13 February 1862 and the official train during the opening ceremony at Wellington on 4 November 1863.
In 1872, the Cape Government purchased the Cape Town-Wellington and Salt River-Wynberg railways, t
Table Bay Harbour 0-4-0WT
The Table Bay Harbour 0-4-0WT of 1879 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope. Altogether seven Brunel gauge locomotives are known to have been employed on the Table Bay Harbour project between 1862 and 1904; the fourth of these construction locomotives was a 7 ft 1⁄4 in Brunel gauge 0-4-0 well-tank engine which entered excavation and breakwater construction service in 1879. Work to improve the facilities at Table Bay Harbour in Cape Town was started in 1860, using convict labour, consisted of the excavation of two basins and the construction of breakwater piers; the construction locomotives at Table Bay Harbour were small 7 ft 1⁄4 in Brunel gauge engines which were used to haul trains of heavy iron tip-trucks to convey rock from the Alfred Basin excavation site to the breakwater, being built simultaneously. The broad Brunel gauge track was selected to make it easier to drop rock from the trucks between the rails which were run out to sea on a timber framework, a method of construction, perfected by Sir John Coode.
The trucks were equipped with interlocking running boards along the length of the train. As work progressed, the requirement arose for more locomotives. Altogether seven Brunel gauge locomotives are known to have been employed on the Table Bay Harbour project, but information about all of them are sketchy at best. Three locomotives were placed in service before 1879, one in 1862 and another at some stage between 1863 and 1870; the third locomotive was a 0-4-0 side-tank engine, obtained from Fletcher and Company in 1874. In 1879, the fourth locomotive to enter service on the construction site at Table Bay Harbour was the 0-4-0 well-tank engine, the subject of this page, it was obtained from Fletcher, not from Black and Company as mentioned in D. F. Holland’s work, it was similar to the third locomotive of 1874. It offered the crew some better protection against the elements with a larger roofed cab and a rather ornate wooden frame front screen with five windows. After completion of the first basin, named after Prince Alfred, work on the project continued into the 20th century since further harbour expansion soon became necessary, brought about by developments in the interior such as the discovery of diamonds and gold and the outbreak of the Second Boer War.
A dry dock was added in 1881 and work on a new breakwater and the Victoria Basin began in 1900. The Brunel gauge harbour construction railway remained in operation until 1904
Cape Town Railway & Dock 0-4-0T
The Cape Town Railway & Dock 0-4-0T of 1859 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Cape of Good Hope, the first locomotive in South Africa. In September 1859, Messrs. E. & J. Pickering, contractors to the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company for the construction of the Cape Town-Wellington railway line, imported a small 0-4-0 side-tank steam locomotive from England, for use during the construction of the railway; this locomotive to become engine no. 9 of the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company and of the Cape Government Railways, was the first locomotive in South Africa. It was plinthed in the main concourse of Cape Town station. In early 1874, by on the roster of the Cape Government Railways, this locomotive was rebuilt to a 0-4-2T configuration, before it was shipped to Port Alfred where it served as harbour construction locomotive on the banks of the Kowie River. While serving at Port Alfred, it was nicknamed Blackie. After having made representations to the Cape Colonial Government in 1853 and 1855, the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company was granted approval, by Act no. 10 of 29 June 1857, to construct a 57 miles long railway between Cape Town and Wellington.
The company appointed Messrs. J. Pickering as contractors for the construction of the railway. Pickerings ordered a locomotive from Scotland for use as construction engine; the locomotive was built in 1859 by Hawthorns and Company and bore works number 162. It was built to run on 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in broad gauge; the locomotive arrived in Cape Town on 8 September 1859 and has the distinction of being the first locomotive in South Africa. Upon arrival in Cape Town, the locomotive had to be dismantled before it could be landed off the brig Charles by means of lighters; the locomotive was accompanied by its engineer-driver, a Scot named William Dabbs. It was re-assembled on the jetty and moved to Alfred's Square, now part of the Parade in Cape Town. There, a galvanised iron shed was built over it and the re-assembly was completed by Dabbs; the locomotive's two cylinders were inside the frame and it was equipped with Stephenson valve gear. Its two feedwater pumps were actuated by the piston crossheads; as built, the engine had an open cab.
According to one source, the contractor imported another two locomotives of the same design from the same manufacturer. While it is possible, it is deemed unlikely, since such additional locomotives are not reflected in the subsequent locomotive numbering lists of either the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company or the Cape Government Railways; the first sod for the Cape Town-Wellington railway had been turned on 31 March 1859 by the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, Sir George Grey, using a silver shovel specially made for the opening ceremony. However, the first section of track between Fort De Knokke and Salt River was only opened on 8 February 1861. In anticipation of the completion of the line, the Cape Town Railway and Dock took delivery of eight 0-4-2 tender locomotives from R and W Hawthorn in Newcastle upon Tyne in England; these locomotives arrived in two shipments on 20 March and 28 April 1860. They were given names and were numbered from 1 to 8. Since the full complement of engines arrived before the lines were laid, they were erected and placed on display for the public, while awaiting the completion of sufficient line to be useful.
The slow construction rate of 1 1⁄2 miles of track in 23 months, led to strained relations between the railway company and the contractors. The dispute ended in sabotage when disgruntled contractor employees ran one of Cape Town Railway and Dock's new tender locomotives, no. 4 Wellington, into a culvert, with the result that it had to be sent to the newly established workshops at Salt River to have some serious damage repaired. In October 1861, Cape Town Railway and Dock dismissed the contractors and took over all construction work, as well as the Pickering locomotive; the engine was therefore given the number 9, in spite of having been the first locomotive in South Africa. The line from Cape Town to Wellington took nearly five years to complete; the line to Eersterivier was opened on 13 February 1862. Stellenbosch was reached on 1 May 1862 and the railhead at Wellington on 4 November 1863. Work was completed about a year and according to the plaque mounted on its plinth at Cape Town station, engine no. 9 had the honour to haul the official inaugural train of the Cape Town-Wellington railway to Wellington in 1865.
The inscription on the plaque, however, is untrue. An engraving, depicting the arrival of the inaugural train at Wellington Station, shows the train behind one of the eight 0-4-2 tender locomotives. One of these tender engines had hauled the first train from Cape Town to Eersterivier on 13 February 1862 and the official train during the opening ceremony at Wellington; as construction locomotive, engine no. 9 may well have been at the head of the first construction train to reach the railhead at Wellington, but whether this was so, is not known. In 1872, the Cape Government of Prime Minister John Molteno decided to take over the operation of all railways in the Colony; the Cape Town-Wellington and Salt River-Wynberg lines were therefore amalgamated into the Cape Government Railways. Engine no. 9 remained in service in Cape Town until late in 1873. In October 1873, the Chief Inspector of Public Works requested a locomotive for use at the Kowie harbour project in Port Alfred and, on 24 December, authority was granted for alterations to be made to the locomotive and for it to be shipped to Port Alfred.
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South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
A railway brake is a type of brake used on the cars of railway trains to enable deceleration, control acceleration or to keep them immobile when parked. While the basic principle is familiar from road vehicle usage, operational features are more complex because of the need to control multiple linked carriages and to be effective on vehicles left without a prime mover. Clasp brakes are one type of brakes used on trains. In the earliest days of railways, braking technology was primitive; the first trains had brakes operative on the locomotive tender and on vehicles in the train, where "porters" or, in the United States brakemen, travelling for the purpose on those vehicles operated the brakes. Some railways fitted a special deep-noted brake whistle to locomotives to indicate to the porters the necessity to apply the brakes. All the brakes at this stage of development were applied by operation of a screw and linkage to brake blocks applied to wheel treads, these brakes could be used when vehicles were parked.
In the earliest times, the porters travelled in crude shelters outside the vehicles, but "assistant guards" who travelled inside passenger vehicles, who had access to a brake wheel at their posts, supplanted them. The braking effort achievable was limited and it was unreliable, as the application of brakes by guards depended upon their hearing and responding to a whistle for brakes. An early development was the application of a steam brake to locomotives, where boiler pressure could be applied to brake blocks on the locomotive wheels; as train speeds increased, it became essential to provide some more powerful braking system capable of instant application and release by the train operator, described as a continuous brake because it would be effective continuously along the length of the train. In the UK, the Abbots Ripton rail accident in January 1876 was aggravated by the long stopping distances of express trains without continuous brakes, which -it became clear- in adverse conditions could exceed those assumed when positioning signals.
This had become apparent from the trials on railway brakes carried out at Newark in the previous year, to assist a Royal Commission considering railway accidents. In the words of a contemporary railway official, these showed that under normal conditions it required a distance of 800 to 1200 yards to bring a train to rest when travelling at 45½ to 48½ mph, this being much below the ordinary travelling speed of the fastest express trains. Railway officials were not prepared for this result and the necessity for a great deal more brake power was at once admitted Trials conducted after Abbots Ripton reported the following However, there was no clear technical solution to the problem, because of the necessity of achieving a reasonably uniform rate of braking effort throughout a train, because of the necessity to add and remove vehicles from the train at frequent points on the journey.. The chief types of solution were: A spring system: James Newall, carriage builder to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, in 1853 obtained a patent for a system whereby a rotating rod passing the length of the train was used to wind up the brake levers on each carriage against the force of conical springs carried in cylinders.
The rod, mounted on the carriage roofs in rubber journals, was fitted with universal joints and short sliding sections to allow for compression of the buffers. The brakes were controlled from one end of the train; the guard wound up the rod, to release the brakes. When the ratchet was released the springs applied the brakes. If the train divided, the brakes were not held off by the ratchet in the guard's compartment and the springs in each carriage forced the brakes onto the wheel. Excess play in the couplings limited the effectiveness of the device to about five carriages; this apparatus was sold to a few companies and the system received recommendation from the Board of Trade. The L&Y conducted a simultaneous trial with a similar system designed by another employee, Charles Fay, but little difference was found in their effectiveness. In Fay's version, patented in 1856, the rods passed beneath the carriages and the spring application, which offered the important "automatic" feature of Newall but could act too fiercely, was replaced by a worm and rack for each brake.
The chain brake, such as the Heberlein brake, in which a chain was connected continuously along the train. When pulled tight it activated a friction clutch that used the rotation of the wheels to tighten a brake system at that point. Hydraulic brakes; as with car brakes. These found some favor in the UK, but water was used as the hydraulic fluid and in the UK "Freezing possibilities told against the hydraulic brakes, though the Great Eastern Railway, which used them for a while, overcame this by the use of salt water" The simple vacuum system. An ejector on the locomotive created a vacuum in a continuous pipe along the train, allowing the external air pressure to operate brake cylinders on every vehicle; this system was cheap and effective, but it had the major weakness that it became inoperative if the train became divided or if the tra