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Engineers and Mechanics Encyclopedia 1839: Railways: Robert Midgeley

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A plan for crossing over rivers and valleys, was patented in March, 1826, by Robert Midgeley, of Hosforth, near Leeds. The specification does not explain tine arrangement designed very clearly, and there are no drawings to assist the understanding; but as far as we do comprehend it, it bears a close analogy to a plan publicly proposed many years prior, and much talked of at the time, for crossing the river Thames, near to the site of the present Southwark bridge.

The patentee's proposition, we understand to be this:-

An elevated platform or car, surrounded with railing, supported upon legs, and strongly braced in diagonal directions is to be constructed. This lofty car is to be provided with wheels underneath, which are to run in a double railway laid in the bed of the river, or on the surface of a valley, for the transportation of passengers and goods: thus constituting a sort of travelling bridge, which is to be drawn across by a rope or chain affixed to the opposite shores, in such a manner as to offer no obstruction to craft. It is to be worked by a windlass, either on shore, or on board.

By another modification, it is proposed that the railway shall have a toothed rack, into which a pinion on the framing of the machine is to take, and be worked by a suitable power on board the machine. The top of the machine is to correspond with the level of the landing places; and in order that this machine may not be obstructed in its passage, by the gathering of weeds, mud, and other things upon the railway, a kind of plough is placed in front, which, is designed to cut them through, or turn them aside as it proceeds.

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