Can the Railway Train Be Made Noiseless?
“Yes,” say the inventors, “by improving the wheels.” “No,” say the engineers, “unless you perfect the road-beds”
Marius C. Krarup
THE idea of producing a noiseless rail wheel, and even making it distinctly flexible to reduce the wear and tear of the rolling stock has seemed a good one to some inventive minds, and they have proceeded to patent their conceptions. These are all characterized by a noise-deadening and more or less elastic substance which is inserted between the flanged rim and the hub portion of the wheel; by some
provision to prevent the rim from slipping round on the inserted material, and by guide plates on the sides to hold the hub and rim in alinement. The details can be followed without difficulty in the accompanying illustrations but are subordinate in interest to the question whether the whole plan is practicable. It is next to impossible to make the “built-up” wheel as cheap or as strong as the onepiece construction. It is almost hopeless to try to introduce a wheel which is after all only a little less noisy than those in use, unless it pays for itself from the start through savings in other directions. If the wheel is frankly intended to be flexible, as the Maginn
wheel among those illustrated, it is well to remember that flexibility makes a constant demand on the power of the locomotive. In the Kinsman wheel the main object of inserting a nonmetallic substance is to insulate the wheel and the car from the rail electrically, this being a requirement in some forms of electric railway service, and this represents a new angle of the subject having little to do with the other efforts. The Lindblad wheel, on the other hand, is a cushioned and antinoise wheel with special wiring to prevent it from becoming non-conductive.
The most radical and efficient method for securing comparatively noiseless operation as well as saving of road-bed and rolling stock, according to modern traffic engineers, comprises thorough grading, draining and ballasting of the road-bed, smooth hard rails of ample dimensions, manganese steel rails at crossings, frogs and improved design of switches, accurately conINSULATIOK centric wheels and car springs with well damped and governed rebound. wheel; These would reduce noise wheel and improve the service.