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Title: Steam Shovels and Steam Shovel Work
Author: Hermann, E. A.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             STEAM SHOVELS


                          STEAM SHOVEL WORK.

                  By E. A. HERMANN, M. Am. Soc. C. E.

                               NEW YORK.

          Copyright. 1894, by Engineering News Publishing Co.



  PART 1.--Steam Shovels                   1-19

    "  2.--Steam Shovel Work              19-41

    "  3.--Disposition of Material        41-55

    "  4.--Cost of Steam Shovel Work      55-57


Ballast, plowing, 48

Blasting, 39, 52

Brine, sprinkling earth, 52

Cars, dump, 19, 41, 47
  Flat, 42
  Loading, 19
  Unloading, 42, 47

Cost of work, 55

Cuts, 28, 36, 39
  Time for, 17
  Widening, 19

Explosives, 39, 52

Fills, trestles for, 47

Grades, construction track, 34
  Cutting down, 28

Grading, 25

Gravel train, 42, 45, 50
  Engines for, 50
  Unloading, 48

Leveling, 53

Loading cars, 19
  Gangs for, 21, 22, 23

Operating, men for, 18

Plow, Barnhart, 43
  Gravel, 42

Plowing, cable for, 50
  Gravel train, 48
  Hauling engine for, 51
  Winter, brine for, 52

Railways, construction, 33
  Reducing grades, 28
  Widening cuts, 19

Railway work, 18, 28, 33

Rapid unloader, 51

Spreaders, 53

Steam shovels, Barnhart, 6
  Boilers, 9
  Bucyrus, 4
  Clement, 10
  Daily capacity, 41
  Description, 5
  Giant, 12
  Invention of, 1
  Little Giant, 12
  Industrial Works, 10
  Machinery of, 5
  Marion S. S. & Dredge Co., 6
  Number of men, 18
  Operation, 16
  Osgood, 2
  Otis-Chapman, 14
  Repairs, 19
  Souther's, 14
  Thompson, 4
  Toledo F. & M. Co., 8
  Types, 3
  Victor, 8
  Vulcan Iron Works, 12

Tools, 16, 18

Track, arrangement of, 19
  Narrow gage, 47

Trains, dirt, handling, 19, 42, 45, 48, 50

Trestles for fills, 47

Widening cuts, 19


[Footnote 1: Copyright by Engineering News Publishing Co., 1894.]

By E. A. HERMANN, M. Am. Soc. C. E.

Part I.--Steam Shovels.

The following article originated in a short paper which was read before
a local society of civil engineers, and there were so many requests
made for this paper and the illustrations presented with it that the
author was led to believe that there was a demand for such information.
Believing that a better understanding of the capabilities of these
machines will serve a useful purpose in economizing money, time and
labor in the execution of work to which they are adapted, the author
presents in this article the information learned by a long practical
experience in this special class of work. Descriptions of the various
steam shovels can readily be found in the trade catalogues of the
different manufacturers, but very little has been published on the
manner of using them in the execution of different classes of work, and
the disposition of the excavated material after it has been loaded on
cars or wagons. This part of the subject will receive most attention,
and although much of it may seem very elementary to those who have had
an extended experience in operating steam shovels, it may be entirely
new to the much larger number who have had few or no opportunities for
doing work of this kind. It has been the aim of the author to condense
the reading matter as much as possible, making it a point to use many
illustrations in place of lengthy explanations, thus presenting the
subject more clearly than by extended descriptions.

Osgood Dredge Co., Albany, N. Y.]

The steam shovel, or steam excavator, is a modified form of dredge
adapted for excavating material on dry land. It was designed and
patented by a Mr. Otis, about 1840, and like most new inventions the
first machine built was a very clumsy affair, but even in this
crude state it possessed many advantages for removing large masses
of material. Its merits were recognized in its earliest stages, and
with increased experience in its operation improvements were soon made
which rendered it almost indispensable on all works requiring large
quantities of excavation.

It was not until 1865, however, that the machine came into general use.
About this time the largely increased railway construction created an
active demand for the steam shovel, which demand was quickly supplied
by several manufacturers, whose machines vary in distinctive designs of
various parts, but the principles of operation are essentially the same
in them all.

Types of Steam Shovels.--There are three types of steam shovels: First;
machines mounted on trucks of standard gage, transported from place to
place in freight trains (or propelled by their own power), and intended
for railway work only. Second; machines mounted on wheels of other than
standard gage, transported in sections by boat or wagon, or loaded
complete on flat cars, and intended for both railway and other work.
Third; machines mounted on wheels fitted for transportation over common
roads, propelled by their own power, and intended for railway and other

The first machines built were of the second type. As now constructed
they are mounted on a wide wooden frame or car body, supported by
four small wheels of 7 ft. to 8 ft. gage, thus placing the machinery
close to the ground, with a wide base of support. In transporting this
machine from one place to another, not on the line of a railway, it is
necessary to take it apart, forward the sections and put them together
again at the site of the new work. The machine is built with a view
to rapid dismantling and re-erection, and for work requiring a large
machine for economical excavation, located in hilly country not yet
made accessible by rail, or requiring transportation by boat, it is
the machine most generally used. Its ready adaptability to all kinds
of work in any location has made it the favorite machine with many
general contractors whose work includes large contracts for railway
and other excavation. For transportation by rail this machine is run
onto an ordinary flat car, only the crane being detached and loaded on
a separate car. With this manner of shipment the machine can be made
ready for railway work very quickly, but for exclusive railway work
a machine of a later design has come into use and is now generally
preferred for this class of work.

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--THOMPSON STEAM SHOVEL; Bucyrus Steam Shovel &
Dredge Co., South Milwaukee, Wis.]

This is the machine of the first type, resting on a wooden or iron car
body, supported on trucks of standard gage, with an iron or steel crane
from 18 to 26 ft. high over the track when in working order, and which
can be lowered to 14 ft. to permit shipment through tunnels and under
low overhead bridges.

Machines of the third type are generally of smaller capacity than the
others; they have come into general use only within the past few years,
but are now multiplying rapidly in numbers as their utility for nearly
all kinds of work is better appreciated. They are especially adapted to
smaller jobs and work not readily accessible by rail, but where common
roads are available.

These three types are shown in Figs. 1 to 9, representing the machines
of seven of the principal manufacturers.

Steam shovels will excavate any kind of material except solid rock,
and they will load rock if it has been broken up by explosives into
pieces of not more than 3-4 cu. yd. in size. The materials excavated
by them are mostly sand, loose gravel, all kinds of clay, cemented
gravel, hardpan, clays mixed with bowlders and other small stones, ore,
phosphate rock, loose rock and thin seams of slate, shale or sandstone.

These machines are used for excavating material, loading it on cars or
wagons for ballasting tracks; for filling trestles, streets, roads,
dams, lots and new city additions; for widening embankments for double
track, side tracks, yards, shops and station grounds; for cutting down
street, road and railway grades; grading lots and new city additions,
railway yards, shop and station grounds; widening cuts, removing land
slides, stripping coal fields, ore beds and stone quarries; digging
canals and drainage ditches, loading clays for brick yards, etc.

Construction of Steam Shovels.--The general plan of construction of
the machines, shown in Figs. 1 to 9, is essentially the same in all,
and consists of a strong frame, mounted on wheels, forming the base
to which all working parts are attached. The boiler and machinery are
placed near the rear end of the frame, and the mast, or post, and crane
at the front end. The crane is made in two pieces connected only at
the top or point, and at the foot of the mast. Between these pieces,
serving as guides, is the dipper handle, carrying at its farther end
the dipper or scoop. To the top of the post (or to the foot in some
machines) the swinging circle is secured.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--BARNHART STEAM SHOVEL; Marion Steam Shovel Co.,
Marion, O.]

The most used, and hence the most important part of the machinery of
the steam shovel is the gearing imparting motion to the hoisting drum,
actuating the chains by which the dipper is raised and lowered. It is
in almost constant use, and is often subjected to severe shocks in hard
digging. Of all parts of the machinery it is the most likely to break
or rapidly wear out. Naturally it has received the most attention of
any part of the steam shovel in all efforts to improve the design,
strength and durability of the machine. There are a number of different
gears in use, and essentially they are either friction clutches or
positive gearing. The use of the former subjects the machinery and
crane to less severe shocks, and can be thrown in and out of gear more
rapidly, but it wears out quicker, often causes delay by heating, and
requires frequent repairs. Positive gearing exposes the machinery
and crane to more severe shocks in hard digging, and must be started
slower, especially in hard material, but while these machines are a
little slower than those operated with friction clutches, they are less
subject to the expense of repairs and delay due to the disarrangement
of the hoisting gear, so that their total output of material about
equals, and sometimes exceeds, the quicker moving friction gear machine.

The mechanism for thrusting the dipper into the bank is attached to the
crane, and the forms most generally used are as follows:

1. A chain, one end of which is attached to the rear end of the dipper
handle, and the other end wound around a drum receiving its motion by
an endless chain passing over a sprocket wheel connected to the axle
of the sprocket wheel at the top of the mast, over which the hoisting
chain passes, thereby revolving both wheels. This drum is thrown into
gear by a friction clutch, and its motion regulated by the cranesman's
lever and footbrake.

2. A rack on the dipper handle operated by a pinion attached to a shaft
revolved and regulated as above described.

3. A small double cylinder engine operating either a pinion and rack as
above described, or revolving a drum with a chain attached to it, and
the rear end of the dipper handle as described in the first case.

4. A long steam cylinder attached to the dipper handle, whose piston
rod is connected to the dipper, extending or withdrawing it as desired.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.--VICTOR STEAM SHOVEL; Toledo Foundry & Machine
Co., Toledo, O.]

The thrusting mechanism used in the last two cases imparts a rapid,
steady and powerful motion, but the extra engines or steam cylinder and
their connecting steam pipes involve a complication which often more
than balances their advantages.

Swinging the crane in a horizontal direction is generally accomplished
in one of the following three ways:

1. A chain passing around the swinging circle attached to the post,
and wound around drums connected to the engine by positive gearing or
friction clutches.

2. A wire rope passing round the swinging circle and connected to the
piston rods operated by two long steam cylinders.

3. A chain passing round the swinging circle and wound around a drum
connected to a small reversible engine.

The mechanisms used in the last two cases have the same advantages,
but also suffer from the same objections urged against employing small
engines or a steam cylinder for thrusting the dipper into the bank.

The engines are either of the upright type with a single steam
cylinder, or of the horizontal type, with double horizontal steam
cylinders. The size of the cylinders varies for machines of different
capacities, ranging from 8 by 10 ins. to 10 by 12 ins. for the upright
engines, and 6 by 8 ins. to 13 by 16 ins. for the horizontal engines.

The upright type of boiler with submerged flues is usually preferred,
as it occupies only a small space. Horizontal boilers of the locomotive
type are used in a few machines, and are more economical in the use of
fuel, but occupy too large a floor space. Forced draft is used in both
types of boilers, and they are generally worked to the limit of their
capacity. The usual working pressure is 90 lbs. per sq. in. The safety
valve is generally set to blow off at 120 lbs. per sq. in. The boiler
is supplied with water either from an upright circular sheet iron tank
located in a corner of the machine, behind the boiler, or from a sheet
iron box tank hung under the floor. These tanks usually hold about
1,000 gallons of water, enough to run the machine half a day. The water
is obtained by a pump or siphon from the tender of a locomotive on
railway work, or is hauled to the machine by wagon on other work.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--CLEMENT STEAM SHOVEL; Industrial Works, Bay
City, Mich.]

In some machines the frame or car body is made of wood, generally
oak, often incased with heavy plate iron. In others it is constructed
of iron or steel I-beams and channels. In all machines it is strongly
built and braced with a view to sustain the weight of the working parts
and to resist the shocks to which it is subjected. The floor is usually
of 3-in. oak plank.

The mast or post is made of cast or wrought iron, strongly braced and
guyed to the frame. It is the pivot about which the crane swings, and
easy working in its bearings is of great importance for the rapid and
economical operation of the machine. In order to prevent breakage or
delay it should never be permitted to wabble by neglecting to promptly
tighten its braces and guys in case they should work loose. The
post should always stand vertical, or practically so, to insure the
horizontal motion of the crane and avoid unnecessary straining of the
swinging gear. For this reason the machine should be set practically
level before beginning operations; and using a small mason's level is
better than trusting to the eye, when blocking under the track and
adjusting the jack screws for this purpose.

The crane is secured to the post, and is made of wood, iron or steel,
strongly and compactly built to resist the shocks to which it is often
subjected. It is from 14 to 20 ft. high above the track or ground,
varying with machines of different sizes and manufacture, and swings
horizontally through an angle of 180 to 240 degrees, with a radius of
15 to 20 ft. In some machines it must be detached from the post for
shipment, in others (mostly those made for railway use exclusively)
it can be lowered to a height of 14 ft. above the track, thereby
permitting shipment without detaching from the post.

The dipper, scoop, or bucket is made of iron or steel, shaped somewhat
like a coal scuttle. Its cutting edge is protected by four teeth
made of steel or steel pointed. These teeth are easily removed for
sharpening or replacement. Dippers vary in size from 1/2 cu. yd. to
2-1/2 cu. yds. capacity. They also vary somewhat in shape, according
to the material to be excavated, though no special provision is made
for this unless there are very large quantities of the same kind of
material to be removed; or for machines working in a certain class
of material only, like ore loaders. For general work in all kinds of
materials the dipper is seldom changed.

For soft, tenacious material, likely to adhere to the inner sides of
the dipper, and not drop out promptly when the bottom door is opened
for unloading, the dipper is shaped as shown in Fig. 10, with a larger
bottom than mouth. In hard, or dry soft material the section shows
parallel sides, as in Fig. 11. For general use the bottom of the dipper
should be slightly larger than the mouth, as most materials contain
more or less moisture which is likely to produce a partial clogging of
the dipper by material sticking to the inner sides, especially between
the teeth, necessitating frequent cleaning out whenever the machine is
stopped while preparing to move forward, and sometimes oftener. For
ordinary clay, cemented gravel, and hard dry materials, a dipper with
a wide and shallow mouth, as shown in plan in Fig. 12, is preferred
to the one shown in Fig. 13, which latter is better adapted for loose
gravel, sand and other soft dry materials where a deep cut can easily
be made. For hardpan, shale, loose rock and similar materials, ample
strength of teeth and dipper is of greater importance than its shape.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--GIANT STEAM SHOVEL; Vulcan Iron Works Co.,
Toledo, O.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--LITTLE GIANT STEAM SHOVEL; Vulcan Iron Works
Co., Toledo, O.]

To prevent tenacious material from sticking to the inner sides of the
dipper, and to allow it to drop out freely when the bottom door is
opened, it is often good economy to place a barrel of water near the
head of the machine from which a bucketful can be taken and thrown into
the dipper just before each cut. The water acts as a lubricant and
causes the material to drop out more readily. For cleaning the dipper,
the tool shown in Fig. 14 is used.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.

Fig. 11.

Fig. 12.

Fig. 13.

Figs. 10 to 13.--Buckets for Steam Shovel.]

The chains have links of three-quarters-inch to one-inch diameter, and
are made of iron, sometimes of steel. Their constant use necessarily
subjects them to great wear, and as they are also often exposed to
severe shocks (especially the hoisting chain) they must be made of the
very best material and in the most careful manner. At present iron
chains are preferred to those made of steel: they are more durable, and
less likely to break under severe shocks. Steel chains have suffered in
reputation through rapid wear and frequent breakages occurring within
the last few years, but with increased experience in their manufacture
and use they will undoubtedly be improved, and eventually take the lead
over iron chains.

The propelling mechanism consists of an endless chain connecting one
or more axles of the truck or supporting wheels with the shaft of the
hoisting drum by means of friction clutches or positive gearing. The
usual speed is five to six miles per hour.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--OTIS-CHAPMAN STEAM SHOVEL; John Souther & Co.,
Boston, Mass.]

Steam shovels of seven of the most prominent manufacturers are shown
in Figs. 1 to 9, and the general particulars of each are given in
condensed form in Table I. In each case the boiler is upright.


  Fig.                  Size,  Running   Gage,        En-  Cylin- H'st'g
      Shovel. Material.  ft.    gear.   ft.ins. B'l'r gine  der,  gear.
  1. Osgood    Wood    10 × 34 2 trucks  4 8-1/2  V    H   2 10   ×12 F
       "        "      10 × 30    "        "      "    "   " 8-1/4×10 F
       "        "      10 × 25    "        "      "    "   "  7   ×10 F
  2. Thompson {I-be'm} 10 × 32    "        "      "    "   " 10   ×14 F
       "      {and   } 10 × 30    "        "      "    "   "  8   ×12 F
       "      {chan- } 10 × 28    "        "      "    "   "  8   ×10 F
       "      {nels  } 10 × 24    "        "      "    "   "  6   × 8 F
  3. Barnhart     "    10 × 28    "        "      "    V   "  8   ×10 F
       "          "    10 × 26    "        "      "    H   1  8   ×10 F
       "          "    10 × 24    "        "      "    V   "  8   ×10 F
       "          "    10 × 22    "        "      "    "   "  6   × 8 F
  5. Victor       "    10 × 30    "        "      "    H   2  8   ×10 F
  6. Clement      "    10 × 30    "        "      "    "   "  8   ×10 P
  7. Giant        "    10 × 35A   "        "      "    "   " 13   ×16 F
       "          "    10 × 35    "        "      "    "   "  8   ×12 F
       "          "    10 × 30    "        "      "    "   "  7   ×11 F
  8. Little Giant "     7 × 23{4 r'd wh   8  0    "    "   "  7   ×11 F
       "      "   "     6 × 23{  "   "    8  0    "    "   "  6   × 8 F
  9. Otis-Ch'pm'n Wood 10 × 22{4 fl'ge wh 7 10    "    V   1 10   ×12 P
          "       "    10 × 18{   "     " 7 10    "    "   "  8   ×10 P

  Transcriber's Note:
  Boiler and Engine--V=Vert., H=Hor.
  Hoisting Gear--F=Friction Clutch, P=Positive

  Fig.         Thrusting Mechanism.                 Swinging Mechanism.
     { Reversible engines, 2 steam cylinders    }
  1. {            each 6 × 8 ins.               }  Chains attached to
     {           Do., do 5 × 6 ins.             }    circle geared
                                                }   to hoisting drum
  2. { Rack on dipper handle actuated by        }
  3. { friction clutch geared to hoisting drum. }

  5. {         Reversible engine,               }
     {      2 steam cyls. 6 × 8 ins.            } Wire ropes attached to
                                                } circle and pist'n rods
  6. {         Long st'm cyl.,                  }   in long st'm cyl.
     {   piston rod at'ch'd to dipper           }

     {        Reversible engine,                }  Reversible engine,
  7. {           2 steam cyls.                  }  2 steam cylinders
     {            5 × 6 ins.                    } 5 × 6 ins.; except A,
  8. {                                          }  cylinders 7 × 9 ins.

     { Chains on dipper handle actuated         }   Chains attached to
  9. { by friction clutch geared                }   circle geared to
     { to hoisting drum.                        }    hoisting drum

                     | +--H'ght ab've--+              |
                        gr'nd or track.                 Capacity
                       Working  Shipping       Swinging  of
        Post             order, order,  Radius, angle,  dipper,  W'ht,
  Fig. material. Material. ft.   ft.     ft.     deg.   cu. yds. tons.
  1. {Wt. iron}  Wt. iron  26    14      24      240     2         40
     {   A     }    "      24    14      24      240     1-1/2     30
     { frame   }    "      20    14      20      240     1         20

  2. {Cast iron     "      23    14      20      200     2-1/2     45
     {   "          "      18    14      18      200     1-3/4     40
     {   "          "      18    14      16      200     1-1/4     30
     {   "          "      16    14      12      200       3/4     20

  3. {Wt. iron     Wood    26    14      20      200     1-1/2     37
     {   "          "      24    14      20      200     1         26
     {   "          "      20    14      18      200       3/4     16
     {   "          "      18    14      18      200       1/2     12

  5. {Hollow     Wt. iron  19    14      20      200     2         40
     {wt. ir.
  6. {Cast iron     "      20    14      20      200     2         40

  7. {Cast steel  Steel    20    14      19      200     2-1/2     70
     {Cast iron     "      20    14      19      200     1-3/4     45
     {    "         "      18    14      17      200     1-1/4     30
  8. {    "         "      16 Detach'd   15      185     1-1/4     20
     {    "         "      15     "      15      185       3/4     18

  9. {    "        Wood    20     "      20      200     2-1/2     26
     {    "         "      16     "      18      200     1-1/4     15

Makers: 1 (Osgood): Osgood Dredge Co., Albany, N. Y. 2 (Thompson):
Bucyrus Steam Shovel & Dredge Co., Bucyrus, O. 3, 4 (Barnhart): Marion
Steam Shovel Co., Marion, O. 5 (Victor): Toledo Foundry & Machine Co.,
Toledo, O. 6 (Clement): Industrial Works, Bay City, Mich. 7 (Giant) and
8 (Little Giant): Vulcan Iron Works Co., Toledo, O. 9 (Otis-Chapman):
John Souther & Co., Boston, Mass.

Operation of Steam Shovels.--All movements of the steam shovel are
controlled by two men, the engineman and the cranesman. The former is
stationed near the engine, the latter on a small platform attached to
the crane. The engineman directs the movements for raising and lowering
the dipper, swinging it into position for unloading, and moving the
machine forward or backward. The cranesman regulates the depth of the
cut made by the dipper, releases it from the bank when full or near the
top of the crane, and pulls the spring latch of the bottom door of the
dipper when in position for unloading, thereby dumping its contents.

[Illustration: Fig. 14.--Spade for Cleaning Buckets.]

These motions are shown in Figs. 15 and 16. Beginning with the dipper
in the position shown at A, Fig. 15, the engineman throws the hoisting
drum into gear, and starting the engine pulls the dipper upward, the
cranesman at the same time thrusting it forward, regulating the depth
of the cut so that it will not stop the engine or tip up the rear
end of the machine. When the dipper has reached the position B, near
the top of the crane, the engineman throws the hoisting drum out of
gear, and holds it in position with a foot brake; at the same time
the cranesman by easing his foot brake, allows the dipper to fall
back to the position C. The engineman then swings the dipper over the
car or wagon, as shown in Fig. 16, when the cranesman pulls the latch
rope, thereby opening the bottom door of the dipper and dropping the
contents. The engineman then swings the crane back again to the next
cut, at the same time releasing his foot brake on the hoisting drum
until the dipper has fallen to a point near the ground, as at D, Fig.
15, where he holds it for an instant with the foot brake, then drops it
by releasing the brake, while the cranesman (during this slight drop)
regulates the length of the radius of the dipper handle by releasing
his foot brake so as to bring the dipper into the position A again, and
adjoining the last cut. While the dipper is being lowered, the bottom
door closes and latches itself by its own weight, when all is ready
again for another cut.

These motions are very simple when taken separately, but when performed
together by two different men, experience and quickness in both are
required to carry on the work rapidly and harmoniously, without
breakages or delays. In loose gravel one cut can be made in a half to
three-quarters of a minute; in hard materials one and a half to two
minutes, seldom more.

[Illustration: Fig. 15.--Showing Series of Operations for Excavating.]

[Illustration: Fig. 16.--Loading Earth from Steam Shovel Onto Cars.]

After all material within reach of the dipper has been removed, an
unoccupied section of track (generally about 4 ft. long) at the rear
of the steam shovel is attached to the dipper by a chain and dragged
around the machine to the front (by swinging the dipper horizontally)
and there placed in position in line with the sections of track under
the machine. The screws at the ends of the jack arm (a horizontal bar
at the front end of the machine used for steadying it when cuts are
taken at right angles to the steam shovel) are then released, and the
machine moved forward three or four feet by throwing the propelling
gear into motion. After placing the jack screws into their new
position, and tightening them, and blocking the supporting wheels of
the steam shovel, the machine is ready for another series of cuts.

The regular employees for operating a steam shovel are the engineman,
cranesman, fireman and four laborers. The latter are under the
supervision of the cranesman, and their duties are to shovel forward
any lumps or loose material which may roll down and lodge too close to
the front of the steam shovel to be reached by the dipper, to level the
surface of the ground in front of the machine, preparing it for the
next section of track, to lay these sections of track, to attend to the
jack screws and blocking and to act as general utility men.

[Illustration: Fig. 17.--Pole for Breaking Down Edge of Excavation.]

With this crew dry sand and loose gravel can readily be loaded. In
harder or more tenacious materials from two to six extra men are
required, depending upon the kind of material to be excavated, and also
upon good management of the contractor or foreman in charge. Wet sand
and fairly loose gravel requires only two extra men, whose duty is to
break down the overhanging ledges of these materials which cannot be
reached by the dipper, and are liable to fall when the machine has
advanced, burying it or blocking the pit behind it. The implement used
by these men is a pole, Fig. 17, headed by an iron point, resembling a
surveyor's pole. With these poles fairly loose gravel and sand can be
readily broken down, sloped at its natural angle, and fed into the pit
in front of the steam shovel. In harder materials three to four extra
men are usually sufficient, but in very hard or tenacious materials
as many as six must be employed. These men break down overhanging
material in the face of the bank which cannot be reached by the dipper,
bore or drill holes for powder or dynamite when blasting becomes
necessary, cut and remove trees, etc.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.]

On all but very small pieces of railway work there are also employed a
blacksmith and helper, and two to five car repairers. The blacksmith's
work consists mostly of repairs about the cars, mainly bent or broken
aprons, sideboards, chains, etc. The steam shovel occupies much the
smaller part of his time. His accommodation requires a small rough
frame shop about 10 by 16 ft. (an old box car body is frequently used),
with forge and tools. Another rough frame shed of about the same size
is needed for the storage of tools, oils and supplies. The section-men
of the respective sections are occasionally called on for the building
and maintaining (or taking up) of the various side tracks required
during the progress of the work.

Part II.--Steam Shovel Work.

Widening a Cut; Loading on the Main Track.--The simplest and one of
the most frequent cases for the application of a steam shovel is the
widening of a single track railway cut. The manner of doing this is
shown in Fig. 18. A switch, A B, is put in the main track just beyond
the end of the cut and far enough away to permit the steam shovel (when
standing on the side track) to clear cars on the main track. Cars are
then placed opposite it on the main track and the machine is ready for

[Illustration: Fig. 19.]

It very frequently happens that the end of the cut joins directly on
an embankment, as shown in profile, Fig. 19. In cases of this kind it
would be necessary to widen the embankment for the reception of the
side track, near the end of the cut, if the machine were to begin work
at that point, C, Fig. 18. This is very seldom done; the usual method
is to remove the section, A, Figs. 19 and 20, to B by hand labor with
wheelbarrows or with teams and scrapers. The excavated material is
used to widen part of the embankment near the end of the cut for the
reception of the side track. Section A is made barely long enough to
provide a standing place for the steam shovel and clear cars on the
main track; it is seldom over 50 ft. long, and averages about 30 ft.
After placing the machine in this space it is ready for work. Strings
of 10 to 20 cars are then drawn along the main track, and stopped
opposite the machine for loading.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.]

[Illustration: Fig. 21.]

When the machine has reached the end of the switch, it advances on
short sections of track, generally 4 ft. long, which are placed in
front of it, and again taken from its rear when it has moved forward
one section of track more than its own length. When no more cuts are to
be made for still further widening, the switch is taken up again and
the machine advances on its own track sections, Fig. 21. When other
cuts are to follow, however, a loading track is needed for the next
cut; the side track is then extended for this purpose at convenient
intervals, generally about 300 ft. at a time though often after each
space of a rail length (usually 30 ft.) is clear. The latter is by
far the best practice, as it permits the immediate withdrawal of the
machine in case of a threatened cave-in, sidehill slip, or other
unforeseen danger.

After all the cars have been loaded they are taken away for unloading.
Sometimes the steam shovel is left idle until the train returns, which
is a very wasteful method of working, even where the haul to the dump
is short, half a mile to two miles. Two engines and crews should be
furnished for hauls up to ten miles; three engines and crews, or more,
for longer hauls, or where the traffic on the main line is very heavy,
and delays to the work trains are frequent. The material is generally
utilized in filling trestles, widening embankments for side tracks,
double tracks, yards, etc., thereby making two improvements at the same

[Illustration: Fig. 22.]

In widening a cut it is good policy to keep the grade of the pit from 1
to 2 ft. below the surface of the subgrade of the main track, as shown
in Fig. 22, thereby providing for drainage of the ballast and also
providing a receptacle for the spreading of loose material dropping off
the cars and washing in from the surface of the cut; there is nearly
always considerable of this loose material to roll or wash into the pit
after the cut has been completed; and unless room is provided for it,
the accumulation will soon reach the height of the track, washing mud
on it, and choking the drainage, thus injuriously affecting the main

Widening a Cut; Loading on a Side Track Graded by Hand or Steam.--The
delays in loading on the main track of a railway in operation, due to
the clearing of the track for all trains, vary from one to four hours
per day of ten hours, and sometimes amount to as much as seven hours,
depending upon the density of the traffic on the line. The first cut in
a case such as the latter is therefore necessarily an expensive one,
and where the traffic is so heavy it is often cheaper to make a narrow
cut for the side track, on which the steam shovel is to load, either
by wagons and wheel scrapers, Fig. 23, or by hand with wheelbarrows
loading back on cars, Fig. 24.

[Illustration: Fig. 23.]

[Illustration: Fig. 23, a.]

[Illustration: Fig. 24.]

[Illustration: Fig. 24, a.]

The latter plan has the great disadvantage that only one car at a
time can be loaded and only a few men (six to ten) can be employed.
Therefore this plan is never adopted where quick work is required, but
is used only where ample time is available, and mostly as an early
spring preliminary job, preparing the way for the operation of the
steam shovel later in the season. From three to six flat or coal cars
are used, enough to require a whole day for the gang of men employed
to load; the material from the face of the excavation is loaded on
wheelbarrows, and wheeled over the empty cars to the one farthest
from the cut. This car is loaded first, then the one next to it, etc.
At night the loaded cars are taken out of the switch by the first
available freight train and hauled to the nearest yard or side track
where widening of the embankment is wanted, or where the material can
be otherwise used to advantage, and there unloaded by a small gang of
men on the following day; the cars to be returned again the next night.
Other empty cars are placed in the pit track for loading next day, by
a train bound toward the pit the same night the loaded cars were taken
out. The work can be carried on from either one or both ends of the
cut. Coal cars should never be used if flats can possibly be obtained,
as the latter can be unloaded by a gang of men one-third as large as
would be necessary for unloading coal cars.

[Illustration: Fig. 25.]

[Illustration: Fig. 25, a.]

Sometimes small dump cars are used, drawn by horses or mules, and
the material unloaded at the end of the cut, thereby widening the
embankment for a long side track, Fig. 25. The narrow gage track, A,
is laid over the ditch adjoining the main track; the material for any
slight excavation that may be necessary for this track is shoveled on
the slope of the cut, as at C, on the cross section. The material is
then loaded on small dump cars standing on track A, and unloaded at D.
The cars are returned on track B. The cross-overs, E and F, are taken
up occasionally and relaid near the advancing ends of the cut and dump.

In short cuts the narrow excavation necessary for placing a side track
in the cut for the steam shovel to load on is generally taken out by
carts and dumped at the ends of the cut, widening the embankment for a
long side track.

The plan of excavation with wagons or wheel scrapers for this side
track, shown in Fig. 23, is adopted where the traffic is too heavy to
permit loading on the main track; when the side track is wanted at the
earliest possible time; and in cuts not over 40 ft. deep. The material
is dumped at the ends of the cut until the haul becomes too long, then
it is taken to the top of the cut over sidehill driveways excavated for
the purpose, and unloaded at a sufficient distance from the edge of
the new cut to prevent its washing back by rains.

These expedients are necessary only on railways where traffic is very
heavy. On most railways (on all where the total delay does not exceed
five hours per day) it is cheaper to load on the main track until the
first cut has been made. This necessarily involves the delay due to
running to and returning from the nearest side track to get out of the
way of every main line train, until the pit track is long enough to
contain the construction train. This, however, seldom requires more
than two weeks, generally only one; the excavation of all of the first
cut does not often occupy more than a month, and is only a very short
time compared with the whole length of time that the steam shovel is
usually in operation on all but very small jobs.

[Illustration: Fig. 26.]

After a side track has been laid in the first cut made by one of the
methods described above, the steam shovel begins work at A, Fig. 26,
loading cars standing on the side track, and some of them extending out
on the main track. At first not more than ten cars should be coupled to
the engine, so that the train can quickly run into the side track on
the approach of a main line train, and not delay its passage. After the
steam shovel has advanced a train-length, the full number of empty cars
can be coupled to the engine, as they will all be on the side track
while being loaded.

[Illustration: Fig. 27.]

Where the embankment has been previously widened by the excavated
material from the cut, Fig. 27, a sufficient length to permit laying
a side track long enough to hold the construction train, the full
number of cars can be used at once, a great advantage in keeping the
steam shovel at work without interruption by passing trains, which is
unavoidable when some of the cars extend out on the main track.

After the machine has reached the other end of the cut it is either
withdrawn for other work, or placed on the other side of the main track
for widening the cut on that side. The steam shovel begins at A, Fig.
28, loading cars standing on the main track; the main line traffic
being carried over a temporary main track built in the excavation
previously made by the steam shovel on the other side of the main
track. Only a few cars at a time can be used for loading at first,
unless the temporary main track has been extended toward B a sufficient
length to clear the usual string of about 20 cars when the first car is
being loaded.

Grading Wide Areas.--In loading gravel for ballasting, or in widening
a cut for the purpose of grading yard, shop or station grounds, the
usual manner of doing the work is shown in Figs. 29 to 34. After the
first cut has been made by one of the methods already described the
steam shovel is started in at A, Fig. 29, for the second cut. After its
completion the first side track becomes available for the storage of
empty and loaded cars as in Fig. 30, greatly increasing the convenience
of handling the cars and preventing delays by interferences between
the strings of empty and loaded cars, then the latter cannot be taken
away promptly on account of passing or shortly expected trains on the
main line. After the completion of the third cut, another side track
is available for cars, Fig. 31, the loaded cars are then placed on the
first inside track and the empty ones on the second. The former are
taken away by the road crew, and on their return placed on track No. 2.
The pit crew set their loaded cars on track No. 1 for the road crew,
and get their empties from track No. 2. The pit track in the rear of
the steam shovel is used as a repair track for cars.

[Illustration: Fig. 28.]

[Illustration: Fig. 29.]

[Illustration: Fig. 30.]

[Illustration: Fig. 31.]

After the completion of the fourth cut, Fig. 32, track No. 3 is used
for a car repair and extra storage track for loads or empties, for
which there may not be room in tracks 1 or 2. Enough tracks have then
been built for the most efficient and economical handling of the loaded
material, and if the empty cars are promptly returned the steam
shovel can be kept almost constantly at work. Each pit track, on which
the steam shovel advances, becomes a side track on the completion of
that cut, to be used as a loading track for the next cut up to the
fourth cut, after which the loading tracks are taken up on completion
of the cut for which they are used, Fig. 33, and relaid in the pit
of the next cut, to be used, taken up, and relaid as before for the
following cuts. In pits less than one-quarter mile in length, it is
sometimes necessary to retain more of these tracks to provide ample
storage space for all loaded and empty cars.

[Illustration: Fig. 32.]

[Illustration: Fig. 33.]

[Illustration: Fig. 35.]

[Illustration: Fig. 36.]

On all large pieces of work where the main line traffic is heavy it is
important that the first side track from A to B, Fig. 32, shall be of
sufficient length (usually about 700 ft.) to hold the engine and a full
string of cars to avoid going on the main track when switching loads to
C, and obtaining empties from D. If there is an embankment from A to B
it can be widened with material taken from the cut, either by wagon or

[Illustration: Fig. 34.]

Grading by this method for yard, shop and station grounds occurs mostly
near large cities where better terminal facilities must be provided
for. The width of the area excavated in this manner seldom exceeds 200
ft. (eight cuts) except in old gravel pits used for furnishing material
for ballasting track, which are sometimes 300 ft. (twelve cuts) or more
in width.

Gravel pits and other wide areas excavated are seldom less than
one-quarter mile or more than one mile in length. One-half to
three-fourths of a mile is the most usual length; in exceptional cases
two miles have been reached. Long and narrow pits can be worked more
advantageously than short and wide ones.

Cutting Down Grades.--For cutting down grades on railways where the
traffic is not too heavy to prohibit loading on the main track, the
usual plan of operations is shown in Figs. 35 to 42. The machine begins
work at A, Figs. 35 and 36, the beginning point of the new grade,
loading cars on the main track, cutting to the line of the new grade,
and moving forward on the track on the surface of the pit as long as
the height of the crane permits raising the dipper high enough over the
cars to open the bottom door of the dipper and discharge its contents,
B, Fig. 35. This point is usually about 2 ft. below the main track.
The machine must then be gradually run upward on a cribwork of wooden
blocking, generally pieces of pine 6 by 12 ins. by 4 ft. long, with
some longer track stringers for supporting the sections of track on top
of the blocking, and some thinner pieces for attaining exact heights
of blocking when needed. As the machine moves forward the dipper still
continues cutting to the line of the new grade, while the machine is
gradually run upward on the blocking on a grade parallel to the grade
of the main track, and slightly below it, maintaining a constant height
between the top of the track on the blocking and the highest point to
which the dipper can be raised on the crane to insure discharging its
load on the cars. When the dipper has cut as low as the length of the
dipper handle will permit, C, Fig. 35, the greatest depth to which the
machine will cut below the level of the main track has been reached,
and as the steam shovel advances the surface of the pit will be on a
grade parallel to the grade of the main track, running upward to the
summit, S, then downward, and continue so until it cuts the new grade
line at H, when the dipper is made to cut on this grade, while the
blocking under the machine is gradually lowered as it was previously
raised, until the steam shovel reaches the end of the new grade at I,
when it is again on the surface of the pit.

[Illustration: Fig. 37.]

[Illustration: Fig. 38.]

[Illustration: Fig. 39.]

Although the machine is gradually run upward and downward, it is always
blocked level after each forward move before beginning work, to insure
quick and easy swinging of the crane, as previously explained. Most
machines will cut 5 ft. below the main track and load on a flat car
with 18 ins. side boards. Some machines will cut as low as 8 ft., and
they are preferred to others on railways where much work of this kind
is done, as their use often avoids making an extra cut.

[Illustration: Fig. 40.]

[Illustration: Fig. 41.]

[Illustration: Fig. 42.]

After the first cut has been completed, the pit track, A 1, Fig. 36,
becomes the temporary main and loading track; the main track is taken
up from C to H, and the steam shovel run back to C to begin the second
cut, Fig. 42, excavating it in the same way as the first, and loading
on the temporary main track. This track again is taken up after the
second cut, the machine begins at D and ends at G for the third cut
and loads on the pit track in the second cut; the fourth cut is made
in a similar way, the machine beginning at E and ending at F, Fig. 36.
The fifth and last cut is merely a widening cut, made by loading on
the track in the pit of the fourth cut. The material of each cut after
the first is loaded on the track laid in the preceding cut. After the
completion of the last cut, the permanent subgrade having been reached,
the main track is laid on the permanent line, and the small quantity of
material obtained from cutting the ditches loaded on cars by hand and
taken away for unloading. The most frequent depth of cut made at the
summit of grades is about 10 ft. (two cuts), Figs. 38 and 39.

[Illustration: Fig. 42-1/2.]

[Illustration: Fig. 43.]

[Illustration: Fig. 44.]

[Illustration: Fig. 45.]

When the main track is on a curve, as frequently happens, an extra cut
can often be avoided by slightly changing the alinement of the new main
track, and at the same time reducing the degree of curvature, as shown
by Figs. 42-1/2 and 43. This is particularly applicable where an odd
number of cuts must be taken to reach the bottom of the new grades. The
dipper will cut to a slope of about 1 to 1. When greater slopes are
required, it must be done by hand or undercutting resorted to. Sloping
by hand is slow and expensive work, impracticably so in all tenacious
materials; it has therefore become the exception, and undercutting
the rule. Cuts made in the latter manner sometimes present a rather
ragged appearance when just completed, but the irregularities soon
merge into a smooth surface as the action of the elements produces the
natural slope of the material; the smaller cost amply compensates for
the temporary lack of finished appearances. The amount of hand labor
necessary where undercutting is not practiced is shown by the sections
A in Figs. 38 and 41. This can be entirely avoided by undercutting the
slopes, as shown in Figs. 39 and 42; the sections B will slough off
within a year or two and most of the material lodge in the spaces C; a
small part of this material may roll to the bottom of the cut, and can
be removed by loading on cars by hand, or space may be provided for
it by making the cut a few feet wider at the bottom. In most cuts for
reducing grades this extra width must be cut out anyhow to provide room
for both steam shovel and loading track.

[Illustration: Fig. 46.]

[Illustration: Fig. 47.]

[Illustration: Fig. 48.]

In reducing grades on railways with a traffic too heavy to permit
loading on the main track, a temporary main track must first be built
by one of the methods shown in Figs. 23, 24 and 25. The temporary main
track, A, Figs. 44, 45 and 46, is then laid, as shown in Fig. 28, to
carry the traffic of the road unobstructed. The main track then becomes
the loading track for the first cut, and the following cuts are made
as shown in Figs. 44, 45 and 46. The temporary main track, A, is moved
to a second position, B, when the material under it must be cut away.
Great care should be taken to arrange the cuts so that the temporary
main track will have to be moved as few times as possible, and to
attain the lowest level when it is moved. In loose gravel or sandy
materials wider bermes and longer slopes must be allowed for the shelf
on which the temporary main track rests than are shown in the above
figures, but the method of doing the work is essentially the same.

If the depth of the original cut in tenacious materials exceed the
height which the dipper can reach, and break down the material above
it, the cuts are arranged as shown in Figs. 47, 48 and 49. Temporary
loading tracks, L, are built on the side of the slope, and the first
cut on each side made by loading on them; the following cuts are then
made, as shown on the figures. If the main line traffic is very heavy,
it is turned over the temporary main track, A, Fig. 47, until the cut
is completed.

[Illustration: Fig. 49.]

The original cuts are not often more than 10 ft. deep, and the section
shown in Fig. 45 covers the majority of cases.

On double-track railways the traffic in both directions is generally
turned over one track for the length of the new cut, thereby avoiding
considerable expense in providing two temporary main tracks.

Each different piece of work presents different conditions; and
while the same general principles apply to all, every case requires
disposition according to its own special circumstances. Great care and
study should be exercised in arranging the cuts, to reduce them to the
fewest possible number, and avoid shifting, taking up and relaying
tracks oftener than absolutely necessary.

[Illustration: Fig. 50.]

[Illustration: Fig. 51.]

Construction Work.--On railways the steam shovel is used mostly in
connection with maintenance of way work: loading gravel for ballasting
the track, widening cuts, filling trestles, etc., but it is also
largely used for various construction work, particularly re-alinements
of the main track for reducing grades and curvature. In excavation of
this class, thorough cutting should be avoided if possible, for reasons
which will be subsequently explained. The work is begun by laying a
temporary track, A, Figs. 50, 51 and 52, over the surface of the ground
if its natural grade is not too steep to permit operating construction
trains over it. Grades up to 6 per cent. (316.8 ft. per mile) can be
used. A mogul engine will draw six empty flats over such a grade, a
sufficient number of cars to start the work for the short cuts near the
summit. The cuts are then made as indicated in Fig. 52.

[Illustration: Fig. 52.]

[Illustration: Fig. 53.]

[Illustration: Fig. 54.]

If the grade of the ground is too steep to operate a track laid on it,
one of the three methods may be adopted to obtain a grade for this

1. The steam shovel is made to cut a trench between the points A and B,
Fig. 53, where the slope of the ground is too steep to permit operating
a track laid on its surface, and varying in depth from 5 to 10 ft. as
may be necessary to attain the desired grade. The excavated material
is dumped at D, Fig. 54, to be removed with the next cut. The length
of the crane will not permit dumping at E a sufficient distance (20
ft. or more) to obtain a berme and prevent the material washing back
into the new cut in the course of time; it must, therefore, be dumped
at D and removed as described, unless the slope of the ground is away
from the cut, as indicated by the line D F, Fig. 54; in such a case the
excavated material can be dumped at F.

2. By excavating the trench with teams and scrapers.

3. By through-cutting a trench with the steam shovel, loading the
material on small dump cars or wagons, and wasting it at the nearest
available place.

[Illustration: Fig. 55.]

[Illustration: Fig. 56.]

[Illustration: Fig. 57.]

After the first loading track has been laid in this trench, the cuts
are made as indicated in Fig. 54.

When the slope of the ground is too steep to permit a track to be laid
on it which can be operated, or to cut a trench for it, as frequently
occurs when the excavation passes through a high spur or knoll, Figs.
55, 56 and 57, the steam shovel mounted on standard gage railway tracks
cannot be used, and a machine independent of a railway track for
transportation must be employed. It is started at A, Figs. 56 and 57,
loading small dump cars drawn by horses, and dumping at the nearest
available place outside of the lines of the new cut, as at D, Figs. 56
and 57. Sometimes wagons are used if the cuts near the top are short
and not very deep, so that a temporary standard gage track can soon
be run through the cut, and the material loaded on cars. The dumping
track at D is changed to E F, etc., Fig. 57, as the machine cuts lower,
maintaining a descending grade from the steam shovel.

[Illustration: Fig. 58.]

[Illustration: Fig. 59.]

[Illustration: Fig. 60.]

In cases of this kind it is often necessary to run the steam shovel up
a very steep grade to reach the point where it is to begin work. This
can readily be done by attaching one end of a one and a half inch rope
to a strong tree and winding the other end around the driving axle.
Then starting the running gear the machine can be drawn up grades where
it could not otherwise propel itself. As a precautionary measure, it is
advisable to use at least two ropes.

A combination of all these methods sometimes becomes necessary, as
shown in Figs. 58 and 59. The material in the knoll, K, Fig. 58, is
loaded on small dump cars and unloaded at the nearest available place.
When this knoll has been cut down sufficiently, and trenches cut
between A B and C D, the track A B C D is built, and the excavation
proceeded with, as heretofore described. The high points B, K and C
are cut down first until the grade of the loading track between B
and C is parallel to the grade of the proposed new main track. Cuts
nearly 100 ft. in depth and a mile in length have been excavated in
this manner. Two and often three steam shovels are employed at the
same time, working near the ends of the cut until the through track
has been laid, and then following each other, as shown in Fig. 60. As
soon as possible, a through track should always be laid, as it greatly
increases the capacity for the prompt and efficient handling of the

[Illustration: Fig. 61.]

[Illustration: Fig. 62.]

Enough side tracks for storing both empty and loaded cars should be
built close to the work, where they can be reached without going out on
the main track. Sometimes the pit tracks behind the steam shovels are
utilized for this purpose, but these tracks are taken up too often, and
should not be depended upon for side tracks, though they may be used as
such occasionally.

In through-cutting the material is loaded on small dump cars running
on tracks of about 3 ft. gage, drawn by horses, and wasted on some
side hill or other nearest available place; this haul seldom exceeds a
quarter of a mile in length. In Fig. 61, the empty dump cars standing
at A are drawn over the cross-over C by a horse, to be loaded at B;
then run to D, and when from four to six cars have been loaded they are
taken to the dumping place and unloaded; then returned to A.

In loose materials considerable time is lost in waiting from the time
the loaded car is run to D and the next empty brought from A to B. In
tenacious materials not nearly so much time is lost, as the dipper
cannot be filled so rapidly. This loss of time is largely avoided by
arranging double loading tracks, Fig. 62, one on each side of the steam
shovel, and connected to a central track for empties by the cross-over
C and C´ and switches S and S´. Two horses are used, one on each side
of the central track, to bring forward the empty cars from A to B, and
A to B´, and return them to D and D´; these operations are alternately
performed, each empty car on one loading track being brought forward
while the other is being loaded. The cross-overs C and C´ should be
kept close to the rear of the steam shovel, and as it advances they
must be taken up and relaid; this becomes necessary about once in three
days in soft materials and about once a week in hard stuff.

Portable sections of tracks, switches and cross-overs are generally
used between the points A and B, and can be relaid very quickly.

Standard gage railway cars cannot be used in thorough cutting, as the
track cannot be laid in front of a point at right angles to the post of
the steam shovel, and when the track ends there the crane cannot swing
back far enough to load the car. Thorough cutting should be avoided if
possible, the cost due to the loss of time in switching cars, relaying
tracks, extra horses and men, etc., makes it more expensive than
excavating from a side cut.

In excavating canals, harbor and dockwork, stripping coalfields, stone
quarries, grading for new city additions, and other work not connected
with a railway, as well as railway construction and re-alinement work
which is inaccessible to a railway track in its early stages, the
general manner of using the steam shovel is the same as for railway
work; varying only in details, depending upon the means of disposing
of the loaded material, by wagons, carts or dump cars, and the use or
waste of this material.

Although the steam shovel is employed mostly on railway work, it is
not exclusively a railway machine. It is already largely used on other
work, and its use in this direction is rapidly extending, especially
on the increasing number of extensive public works in the vicinity of
large cities.

The most economical height of cut varies greatly with the nature of
the material. In dry clay, loam and other dry materials which can be
broken down readily with a bar or iron pointed pole (Fig. 17), cuts of
25 to 30 ft. in height are usually taken. In harder and more tenacious
materials it should not exceed the height to which the dipper can be
raised, 14 to 20 ft., varying with the size of the machine. In sand
and loose gravel which easily falls down to the machine heights up to
60 ft. are common, and sidehill cuts in loose gravel up to 300 ft.
in height have been taken. In such cases, and also in the removal of
landslides, great care must be taken to avoid an avalanche of the
material burying the machine when the toe of the slope is cut away. The
pit track should always be kept close up to the sections of track under
the steam shovel, so that it can be quickly withdrawn when necessary.
As a general rule, the higher the cut the better, as the machine can
then load the greatest amount of material between each advance, and
lose the least possible amount of time. Each forward move of the
machine requires from three to ten minutes, depending upon the height
of blocking, if any, it is working on; this is a dead loss, as no cars
or wagons can be loaded during that interval.

Powder and dynamite are frequently used to good advantage to shatter
the harder materials before excavating. When thus broken up about
twice the amount of these materials can be loaded in a day. Great care
must be exercised in the quantity of the explosive used, and in the
location of the drill holes to prevent injury to the steam shovel. The
explosives should be stored in a safe place, preferably in a vault at
some distance from the place where they are to be used.

The use of dynamite is confined mostly to bowlders, ledges of rock
and stumps of trees, while powder is generally used for hardpan,
shale, slate, cemented gravel and hard clays. For the latter materials
dynamite is usually too powerful, as instead of merely lifting and
loosening them, as desired, it shatters shale and slate into fragments,
and compresses the other materials about it, forming a "cistern" from 3
to 5 ft. in diameter, as shown in Fig. 63. Sometimes small quantities
of it are used specially for this purpose to make room for a large
charge of powder at the bottom of the drill hole, where its explosion
will have the most effect in loosening the superincumbent material. A
charge of one-quarter to one-half of an ordinary dynamite cartridge
will usually blow out a "cistern" large enough to contain from one-half
to one keg of powder, Fig. 64.

The depths of the drill holes in these materials vary from 4 to 20
ft.; they are made with a drill, or, in the softer materials, with an
auger similar to a plank auger, generally about 2 ins. diameter, with
extension pieces for deep holes, as shown in Fig. 65. Crowbars and
wooden and iron wedges are also often used in breaking down overhanging
material when it cannot quite be reached by the dipper.

The excavation of materials for which powder or dynamite are used to
loosen them requires a powerful machine, with a strongly built, medium
size dipper. A small or lightly built machine giving good satisfaction
in soft materials would prove an utter failure here.

[Illustration: Fig. 63.]

[Illustration: Fig. 64.]

[Illustration: Fig. 65.]

Assuming good management and a competent crew, the daily output of a
steam shovel depends mostly upon the nature of the material excavated;
it is also somewhat dependent upon the height and width of the face
of the cutting, and largely upon the facilities for disposing of the
loaded material, and keeping the machine almost constantly at work
by an ample supply of empty cars and wagons. Although these varying
conditions differ on each piece of work, the probable output of a
machine for a given excavation can be closely estimated by good
judgment based on previous experience with similar work. The average
daily output in different kinds of materials, and under average,
favorable and unfavorable conditions, as described above, is shown in
Table II.:


                                    Loose                        Damp
  Capacity      Delay.      Sand.   gravel. Dry loam. Dry clay.  clay.
  of dipper.    hours.[2]  Cu. yds. Cu. yds. Cu. yds. Cu. yds.  Cu.yds.
  2-1/2 cu. yds. 1   Good   2,400   2,400    2,000    1,800     1,200
     "           5   Poor   1,200   1,200    1,000      900       600
     "           2-1/2 Avg. 1,800   1,800    1,500    1,350       900
  1-3/4 cu. yds. 1   Good   1,600   1,600    1,200    1,000       800
     "           5   Poor     800     800      600      500       400
     "           2-1/2 Avg. 1,200   1,200      900      750       600
  1 cu. yd.      1   Good   1,000   1,000      800      700       500
     "           5   Poor     500     500      400      350       250
     "           2-1/2 Avg.   750     750      600      525       375

[Footnote 2: The delay in hours is the time lost in moving forward and
waiting for empty cars.]

TABLE II.--Continued.

                                      +----- Loosened by explosives.---+
                                      |        Mixed                   |
                           Stiff      Hard     clay and  Loose  Cemented
  Capacity       Delay.    blue clay. pan.     boulders. rock.   gravel.
  of dipper.     hours.[3] Cu.yds.    Cu.yds.  Cu.yds.   Cu.yds. Cu.yds.
  2-1/2 cu. yds. 1   Good     800       600      600       600      600
     "           5   Poor     400       300      300       300      300
     "           2-1/2 Avg.   600       450      450       450      450
  1-3/4 cu. yds. 1   Good     600       400      400       400      400
     "           5   Poor     300       200      200       200      200
     "           2-1/2 Avg.   450       300      300       300      300
  1   cu. yd.    1   Good     400       300      300       300      300
     "           5   Poor     200       150      150       150      150
     "           2-1/2 Avg.   300       225      225       225      225

[Footnote 3: The delay in hours is the time lost in moving forward and
waiting for empty cars.]

Part III.--Disposition of Material.

Loading the Material for Transportation.--The material excavated by a
steam shovel is loaded on cars, wagons or carts. On railway work it is
usually loaded on dump or flat cars. On other construction work small
dump cars are most generally used, and sometimes wagons or carts.

[Illustration: Fig. 66.]

[Illustration: Fig. 67.]

[Illustration: Fig. 68.]

[Illustration: Fig. 69.]

[Illustration: Fig. 73.]

Standard gage railway dump cars, Figs. 66 and 67, have nearly gone out
of use. They were replaced by the center ridge flat car, Figs. 68 and
69, and it in turn has been replaced by the ordinary flat car. Dump
cars are of two styles, dumping either by tipping, Fig. 66, or by means
of a hinged sideboard opening on an inclined floor, Fig. 67. Both are
heavy, clumsy, costly and can be used for scarcely any other purpose,
often standing idle from six to eight months of the year. They dump
dry materials very rapidly, but are often slow in discharging damp,
tenacious materials, especially in the hinged sideboard car, whose
floor slope is often not sufficient to permit the material to slip
out quickly, and the material must then be pushed out, thus causing
much delay. The greatest objection to these cars is that they can be
used for scarcely any other purpose, on most railways for no other
purpose; and there is not sufficient work for them to justify keeping
the necessary number on hand for the ordinary work in this line. They
were replaced by the center ridge car, Figs. 68 and 69, as above noted,
which is merely an ordinary flat car with a timber 4 by 6 ins. bolted
on its floor along the center line, serving as a guide for a plow, Fig.
70, drawn over it by the locomotive, thereby unloading the material.
The ridge timber is slightly pointed at both ends to assist in guiding
the plow onto the car as it passes from one car to another. The top
edges of the ridge are sometimes protected by angle irons, as in Fig.
71, and the points by cast iron caps, Fig. 72. By taking off the
center ridge this car can readily be restored to general service after
completing the steam shovel work. The center dump car, shown in Fig.
73, is used only for gravel ballasting where the material is wanted
delivered between the rails.

[Illustration: Fig. 70.]

[Illustration: Fig. 71.]

[Illustration: Fig. 72.]

The brakes are placed on one side of the car, as shown in Figs. 74 and
75. When boulders, loose rock, etc., are to be unloaded, the brake
staff is set in a socket, Fig. 76, and taken out before the plow is
started. This avoids bending or breaking the staff in case any stone
should be wedged between it and the moving plow. Sometimes the socket
is used with the brake at its ordinary place at the end of the car; in
such a case it must always be taken out before the plow reaches it.

The plow, Fig. 70, is built of heavy plate and angle iron, strongly
braced, and headed by a cast steel point, to which the cable is
attached. The sides are curved outward at the bottom, working under the
material and pushing it aside as the plow is drawn along, and held down
on the car by the weight of the material and the partly downward pull
of the cable at its point. Short pieces of old rails and other scrap
iron are also often placed on the plow to help hold it down on the car
when very tenacious materials are to be unloaded. The groove extending
along the center line on the bottom fits over the ridge timber on the
car, and forms the guide by which its movement is directed. Small
stones, protruding bolts, slivered ridge timbers and other obstructions
in the groove of the plow sometimes wedge the point fast, and before
the engine can be stopped, the plow is turned up on its point, and
falling to either side, tumbles off the car. The weight and elasticity
of the cable is often sufficient to draw the plow half a car-length
after the engine has been stopped, and it is often difficult to stop
the plow quick enough to prevent upsetting when obstructions occur,
although the speed is usually only two to three miles per hour. The
unloading nearly always occurs on trestles or embankments, and when
the plow is thrown off the car, its replacement often requires much
time and labor, sometimes even making the services of the wrecking car
necessary. This difficulty is very likely to occur when unloading on
curves, where one side of the point of the groove presses against the
ridge timber. This plow unloads the material equally on both sides of
the car, as it is wanted in filling trestles, raising embankments,
tracks, etc.; but it cannot be used to advantage where the material is
wanted on one side only, as in widening embankments for double track,
side tracks, yards, station grounds, etc.

[Illustration: Fig. 74.]

[Illustration: Fig. 75.]

[Illustration: Fig. 76.]

The many objections to the center ridge car are almost entirely avoided
by the use of the Barnhart plow, Fig. 77, employing the ordinary flat
car without any preparations except changing the brake staffs to one
side or placing them in sockets at their ordinary places and inserting
short stakes in the stake pockets, permitting the immediate use of the
car for general service if necessity should so require. This plow is
also built of heavy plate and angle irons, strongly braced, and headed
by a cast steel point to which the cable is attached; it is preceded
and followed by guiding sleds attached to it by adjustable hinges and
guided over the car by the stakes in the stake pockets, which are
indicated by the dotted lines. The usual speed at which it is drawn
over the car is about four miles per hour, but in loose gravel it can
safely be drawn at a speed of six miles per hour. On straight track
it is scarcely ever thrown off the car unless carelessly handled,
and it works equally well on curves when the usual means are adopted
to maintain a tangential pull of the cable, as will be subsequently
described. Two styles of the Barnhart plow are in use: One unloading
on both sides of the car, and called the center plow, Fig. 77; and the
other unloading on one side only and called the side plow, Fig. 78.

[Illustration: Fig. 77.]

[Illustration: Fig. 78.]

[Illustration: Fig. 79.]

On all but very small pieces of work the cars should be provided with
hinged drop sideboards, Fig. 79, using either of the arrangements shown
in Figs. 80 and 81, which will enable them to carry 12 to 14 cu. yds.
instead of 6 or 7. The side boards are made in two pieces on each side
of the car, Fig. 79. Those shown in Fig. 80 are used for both center
and side plows; they can be quickly dropped by a man walking along the
train, after arriving at the unloading place and striking the hook A an
upward blow with a light hammer. The boards are hooked up again after
the cars have been returned to the steam shovel pit. The side boards
shown in Fig. 81 are used where the side plow only is used. Here the
board on one side only (the unloading side) is hinged (or chained),
and dropped by pulling out the pin B, thus leaving that side of the
car entirely unobstructed for unloading the material; the board on the
other side of the car is bolted to the stake pocket and is not moved.

[Illustration: Fig. 80.]

[Illustration: Fig. 81.]

The cars should also be provided with sheet iron aprons, Figs. 82 and
83, extending from the end of one car onto the floor of the next, to
prevent the material from falling on the track between the cars as the
plow is drawn over them, and delaying the departure of the train until
it can be shoveled out. These aprons are made either in two pieces,
Fig. 82, or in one piece only, Fig. 83. The former are more easily
handled, and permit access to the coupling of the cars without lifting
the apron. Very little material drops on the track when the aprons and
the center plow are used. The single apron is used mostly in connection
with the side plow.

The number of cars and engines required for each steam shovel to keep
it in nearly constant operation depends upon the nature of the material
excavated, the length of haul, and the density of other traffic
upon the main line. This number must be determined by accompanying
circumstances in each case; ordinarily, however, it averages about as
given in Table III.:


              In the steam (--------------On the road up to-------------)
              (shovel pit.) 10 miles.   25 miles.   50 miles.   75 miles.
              Loco. Cars. Loco. Cars. Loco. Cars. Loco. Cars. Loco. Cars.
  Loose gravel    1   30    1     30    2     60    3     90    4    120
  Dry clay        1   22    1     22    2     40    -     -     -     -
  Damp stiff
  clay            1   18    1     18    2     36    -     -     -     -
  Hardpan, cemented
  gravel, etc.,
  by explosives   1   16    1     16    2     32    -     -     -     -

The length of haul usually ranges from 2 to 15 miles; it seldom
exceeds 25 miles for any material except gravel ballast,
where hauls of 75 miles are frequent, and sometimes reach 200

[Illustration: Fig. 82.]

[Illustration: Fig. 83.]

[Illustration: Fig. 84.]

[Illustration: Fig. 85.]

On hauls exceeding 25 miles the full number of cars and engines
required can seldom be obtained, and the output of the
steam shovel is correspondingly decreased. The delay in returning
empty cars due to detentions from other trains is the
great trouble most keenly felt in steam shovel work on railways
in operation. The so-called "mud train" is generally considered
an outcast, and is usually the last train to receive the dispatcher's
attention for an order to the road. These delays are
daily occurrences, and it is quite an exceptional case when the
machine is amply supplied with empty cars. The record of
most steam shovels on such work is therefore a rather poor one,
when the machine really made a good showing for the crippled
condition of its car service. Some of these delays can be
avoided or shortened by stationing a telegraph operator at the
outgoing end of the pit, and on all but very small pieces of work
his wages will be many times balanced by the time gained in
keeping the whole plant moving, by obtaining train orders
quicker, and remaining constantly informed of the whereabouts
of the construction and other trains, and regulating the work in
the pit accordingly.

For general construction work where the excavated material
is not loaded on standard gage railway cars, small dump cars,
Figs. 84 and 85, are generally used. They are more economical
than wagons or carts, which are employed only in special
cases, mostly in cities, where the material must be hauled some
distance over several intersecting streets, and where a track will
not be allowed; or for very small jobs with a long haul which
would not justify building a track.

The gage of these tracks is usually 2-1/2 or 3 ft., sometimes
2 ft. or even 1-1/2 ft. only; the latter gages are not often used,
and the 3-ft. gage is usually preferred.

The rails most generally used weigh 20 lbs. per yd. Although
these tracks are only temporary their construction should
be fairly substantial; but they are often built in an exceedingly
careless and insecure manner, causing a great waste of power
in pulling the cars over them, and resulting in frequent delays,
due to derailments. The grade is usually arranged so that the
loaded cars will run downhill by gravity, and only the empty
cars need be drawn back to the pit. On small work, horses or
mules are used to pull the cars, but on large jobs small locomotives
are employed. Small dump cars vary in capacity from
1 to 3 cu. yds., the latter size being most generally used. The
side dump car, Fig. 84, dumps on either side. The rotary dump
car, Fig. 85, unloads on either side or end; the box can be
turned around horizontally, revolving about a vertical pin in a
turntable on the frame; they are used mostly in dumping off the
end of a fill.

In making fills it is nearly always the best plan to build a
temporary trestle of round pieces of beech, cottonwood or other
cheap trees, old bridge or building timber, or other second-class
lumber, and then filling in with the side dump cars. By adopting
this plan the unloading will progress much more rapidly
than by dumping from the end of a fill, where only one car at a
time can be unloaded. These trestles are inexpensive, and the
saving in labor and time in making the fill will amply repay
their cost.

[Illustration: Fig. 86.]

[Illustration: Fig. 87.]

[Illustration: Fig. 88.]

[Illustration: Fig. 89.]

Unloading the Material.--On railways the unloading is seldom
done by slow and expensive hand labor with the shovel;
sometimes dump cars are employed, but in most cases flat cars
and the plow are used. The trains consist of 10 to 30 cars. The
car carrying the plow is attached to the rear of the train at the
nearest side track to the unloading place, if it is not over 10
miles from the steam shovel pit this car is generally carried
back and forth to avoid an extra stop to couple it on the train
at the side track. One end of a steel wire cable is then hooked
to the plow and the other end (which is attached to an ordinary
car coupling link) coupled to a car or the engine. Usually this
cable is about 400 ft. long and extends over 12 cars. The
brakes on these cars are then set up tight and the engine started
with the forward cars, Fig. 86. In very tenacious or partially
frozen material the rear cars are sometimes pulled along by the
plow; the wheels are then blocked with pieces of wood or with
stones; sometimes it is even necessary to chain a few of these
cars to the track to prevent the rear lot of cars from moving.
After the plow has been started, it is drawn along slowly until
it arrives on the last car, Fig. 87. The engine is then stopped
and backed up a few feet to permit the cable to be thrown on
one side of the track, Fig. 88. The train is then backed up
again and coupled to the unloaded cars, when four to six men
throw the cable on the next loaded cars, Fig. 89, coupling its
forward end to a car or to the engine if the cable is long
enough. The operation is then repeated until all but the car
next to the engine is unloaded; this car carries the plow and is
the first car to be unloaded by the next train. The ends of the
cable are then detached from engine and plow, thrown to one
side of the track, and left there for the next train to pick up
and use in the same manner.

[Illustration: Fig. 90.]

[Illustration: Fig. 91.]

When filling a trestle the cable cannot be thrown on one
side, as described, but must be unhooked from the plow (the rear
lot of cars being left standing on the trestle), dragged across
the trestle, and there thrown to one side. The forward lot of
cars is then backed up until its rear car is opposite the rear end
of the cable, when it is loaded, the train backed up, coupled and
unloaded, as before described. After unloading the train the
cable must again be dragged beyond the trestle, and there
thrown to one side of the track and left for the next train. The
time required for unloading varies from 10 to 30 minutes, depending
upon the nature of the material and the number of
cars, and averages about 20 minutes, doing as much work
in that time as 20 men can do in a day.

When unloading on curves the operations are delayed by
the necessity of using snatch blocks on the cars to insure a nearly
tangential pull of the cable and avoid pulling the plow off the
car. These blocks are applied as shown in Fig. 90, and at A,
Fig. 91. They are hooked to long chains extending over the
car and fastened to the bolster or arch bar of the truck. The
number of snatch blocks required depends upon the degree of
the curve and the length of the cable; generally four to six
blocks, one to every third car, are enough. As the plow approaches
one of these blocks it must be stopped, block and
chain removed and transferred forward for use at that end of
the train. The other operations of unloading are the same as
when on straight track. The time required in unloading on
curves varies from 20 minutes to an hour, and averages about
40 minutes, doing as much work in that time as 20 men can do
in a day.

The steel wire cables used vary from 1 in. to 1-1/2 ins. diameter.
The former are used for unloading loose gravel and
sandy material; they are light and easily handled, but cannot
bear much jerking. The most usual size is 1-1/4 ins. diameter.
Heavier cables require too many men (six to eight) to load them
on the car preparatory to starting the plow.

One of the heaviest locomotives on the road (preferably one
of the consolidation type) should be used for drawing the plow
over the cars. These engines are generally able to keep the
plow moving with a strong steady pull, avoiding the necessity
of taking a run to start the plow, and all injurious jerking of
the cable, which frequently breaks it. For tenacious materials
and where the haul is not more than 25 miles, it is often good
policy to keep one heavy engine at this work, the other engines
merely hauling the trains; this can generally be arranged so that
no more engines are used than if each engine were to unload
its own train. Sometimes two light engines are used for this
purpose, but they can seldom move in perfect unison and more
or less jerking is the result. Unfortunately the engines for the
"mud trains" are not always in the best working order; they
are mostly those which are about to go into the shops for turning
down the tires or for general repairs, and are not in fit
condition for general traffic, but still considered good enough
for this service. Expensive delays due to badly working engines
are frequently the result.

The locomotive in the steam shovel pit should always be
equipped with a steam or air driver brake to assist in quickly
stopping the cars at exactly the right place when setting them
for loading by the steam shovel. For the same reason the
brakeman should be allowed to use short sticks in the brake-wheels
to obtain a greater leverage in turning them.

Both engine and train crews should be changed as little as
possible and they should retain their respective trains in the pit
on the road or at the dump. Most of the men dislike the "mud
train" service, but some (especially the older ones) are glad to
get a steady job with a full night's rest, and these are the men
to be chosen. They take an interest in the success of the work,
and soon acquire an expertness in handling cars, plows, etc.,
that makes them worth twice as much as the inexperienced or
unwilling ones. The wages of these men should be equalized
to average the same as the men on the road in other service,
otherwise dissatisfaction and indifference are sure to result.

[Illustration: Fig. 92.]

The machine shown in Fig. 92 has lately come into use for
pulling the plow over the cars to unload them. This is merely
a double cylinder (10 by 12 ins.) reversible hoisting engine,
resting on a heavy cast iron bedplate attached to the floor of a
box car. Steam is supplied to the engine from the locomotive
of the train, which is coupled to this car when the unloading is
to begin. With this machine there is no injurious jerking of
the cable, and consequently very little breakages or delays, and
heavy loads of 15 cu. yds. of tenacious material are readily
plowed off the cars in a more satisfactory manner than can be
done by any one or two locomotives. Blocking the wheels or
chaining cars to the track need not be resorted to; the cars cannot
move, for the machine pulls the plow toward itself and the
strain is resisted by the cars between them. If it is desired to
scatter small quantities of material along the track, as it is often
wanted in surfacing or raising track, both plow and train are
moved in the same direction at the same or varying speeds, as
may be necessary to unload the required amount of material.
If a large quantity of material is wanted within a short distance,
as usually happens on washouts, train and plow are moved in
opposite directions. By moving them in this manner at the
same speed, a whole train can be unloaded at any desired spot.
Where two locomotives must be used to pull the plow over the
cars, the use of this machine will dispense with one of them,
and do the work in half the time. On large jobs it should not
be missing. The cable is wound around the drum, A, Fig. 92,
and must be long enough to extend over the whole length of
the train. A steel wire cable 1-1/8 ins. diameter is generally
used; but for loose gravel a 1 in. cable is amply strong enough.

The steam shovel can be operated continuously throughout
the year in all kinds of weather, though operations are often suspended
in extremely cold weather. When working in cold
weather the face of the bank sometimes freezes during the night
to the depth of 3 to 6 ins., but this crust is easily broken in the
morning by a few small charges of powder, and then the material
can be excavated as easily as at any other season.

[Illustration: Harris & Carter

Fig. 93.

Fig. 94.]

In freezing weather the floors of the cars should be sprinkled
with brine just before loading; the brine is kept in barrels at the
head of the machine, and one man using an ordinary garden
sprinkling can is detailed for the work. This prevents the material
from freezing to the floor of the car for three to four
hours, and allows it to slip off readily when the plow is put in
operation. No train should be left standing over night without
unloading. The brine will not prevent freezing for this length
of time, and to unload one car of the frozen stuff requires a day's
labor of four to six men.

Distributing the Material After Unloading.--In widening
embankments for side tracks, double track, yard and station
grounds, etc., the material is unloaded, as described above, forming
a ridge on both sides of the track if unloaded with the
center plow, or on one side of the track only if unloaded with the
side plow. This material is sometimes leveled off by hand, a
very slow and expensive job, but generally it is done with a leveler
or spreader, Figs. 93 to 96.

[Illustration: Edson

Fig. 95.

Fig. 96.]

In the Harris & Carter spreader, Figs. 93 and 94, the car
body is cut away between the trucks to receive the two wings
which level or spread the material. One or both wings can be
used, and they can be raised and lowered to adjust them to any
height of new embankment wanted. They will spread the material
for a distance of 3 ft. from the rail. When shipping the
spreader over the road the wings are drawn up by a hand windlass,
revolving about hinges fixed to the braces under the floor
of the car, as shown in Fig. 94. In this position the clearance
is the same as that of an ordinary passenger car.

The Edson spreader, Figs. 95 and 96, has only one wing,
attached to an ordinary flat car, and arranged to raise and
lower to adjust it to any height of new embankment wanted.
The wheel, A, bears against the head of the rail, forming a brace
where one is most needed, and greatly assists in preventing a
derailment when hard or tenacious materials are suddenly encountered.
The wing, braces, windlass, etc., are so constructed
that they can be readily removed from the car, thereby restoring
it to general service on completion of the work in hand. This
spreader is used mostly in connection with the side plow; it will
level the material for a distance of 15 ft. from the rail, wide
enough to permit laying a side track from which the embankment
can be further widened. Only one side at a time can be
widened with this spreader. If it is desired to widen the embankment
on both sides of the track, one side is completed first;
the cars and spreader are then turned around on the nearest
turntable or Y-track, and the other side widened by drawing
the spreader in the opposite direction. If the cars are not provided
with aprons they need not be turned around. This
spreader is generally arranged to cut about 6 ins. below the
bottom of the ties of the main track, thereby forming the subgrade
for the side track, and maintaining proper drainage of
the main track. The apron, B, is bolted on the spreader, and
serves to remove any loose material which may fall on the
track between the rail and the ends of the ties. When shipping
the spreader over the road, Fig. 96, it is drawn up by a hand
windlass revolving about hinges on the side sill of the car and
folded down on it; in this position it will clear anything that
other cars can pass.

The cars of both styles of spreaders are loaded with old rails,
frogs, scrap iron, etc., to hold them down and prevent derailments
when hard or tenacious materials are suddenly encountered.
Loads of five to ten tons are generally sufficient, though
loads up to 15 tons are sometimes required.

Spreaders are usually drawn at a speed of six to eight miles
per hour; in loose gravel the speed often reaches 10 miles per
hour. They will level off a ridge a mile in length in six to
ten minutes, doing as much work in that time as 100 men can do
in a day.

The spreader is usually stationed in the nearest side track to
the unloading place. Frequently it can be hauled between this
track and the dump without raising it, or raising it only partially
to clear depot platforms, switch stands and other obstructions
and thereby avoid the necessity of folding it down on the
car while passing between these points.

Ordinarily the spreading is done by the last train before the
close of the day. In cold weather or on short dumps it must
be done oftener; either to prevent freezing, or to make room for
the unloading material which would otherwise pile up too high
for easy spreading, or be liable to roll back on the track and
obstruct it for the next train. In using the spreader it is coupled
to the rear of the car carrying the plow, and after the train has
been unloaded it is pulled over the length of the ridge of material
unloaded from its own and preceding trains, as shown
in Figs. 97 and 98.

Part IV.--Cost of Steam Shovel Work.

The cost of steam shovel work varies greatly with the different
conditions affecting each piece of work. It depends mainly
upon the nature of the material, its location, the capacity and
efficiency of the steam shovel, and the supply of empty cars or
wagons. The efficiency of a steam shovel is not necessarily
proportional to its capacity, but to the amount of work done
compared to its cost; and while the amount of work done is
generally larger in the machines of larger capacities, this advantage
may be more than balanced by the greater cost of operation,
including the cost of labor, fuel, supplies and repairs, etc.
Machines of the largest capacity, with dipper of 2-1/2 cu. yds.
capacity, are employed mostly in excavating soft materials, especially
in loading gravel for ballasting. Machines of medium
capacity are usually the most efficient for general construction

The average daily operating expenses of a steam shovel of
medium capacity are about as follows:

  One engineman                           $4.00
  One cranesman                            3.50
  One fireman                              2.00
  Four pitmen at $1.50                     6.00
      Wages of crew                      $15.50  ------

  One ton coal                            $3.00
  Oil and waste                             .75
  Water                                     .50
      Fuel and supplies                   $4.25  ------

  Interest on capital, $6,000, at 6%      $1.00
  Depreciation at 10%                      2.00
  Repairs                                  1.00
                                          $4.00  ------
      Total daily expense with regular crew      $23.75

This will suffice for loading loose gravel; in the harder materials
ordinarily occurring on construction work the following daily expenses
must be met:

    Expenses of regular crew                              $23.75
    Foreman                                      $5.00
    Two pole (or bank) men at $1.50               3.00
    Two extra men at $1.50                        3.00
    One night watchman                            1.50
    Powder and dynamite                           1.00
                                                $13.50    ------

        Daily expenses on average construction work       $37.25

To the above must be added the expense of transporting the machine to
the work, and returning.

The cost of hauling is also a variable item; it depends mostly upon the
length of the haul, and on railways very largely upon the delays met
with in going to and from the dumping place. On construction work it
is seldom less than 3 cts. per cu. yd., and sometimes reaches 10 cts.
On railways it is not often below 4 cts. for hauls up to 10 miles in
length, and may reach 50 cts. or more for hauls of 75 miles or farther.

[Illustration: Fig. 97.]

[Illustration: Fig. 98.]

Dumping is a very small item where small dump cars are used on
construction work, and does not exceed 1/2 ct. per cu. yd. When wagons
are used it will average about 1-1/2 cts. On railways the cost of
unloading with the plow varies somewhat, depending upon the kind of
material; it averages about 1/2 ct. per cu. yd. Unloading by hand
averages 6 cts.

On railway work, where the spreader is used, the average cost of
leveling the material for widening embankments is only 0.1 ct. per cu.
yd.; spreading it by hand will range from 5 to 20 cts. per cu. yd. for
widths of 5 to 15 ft. from the unloading track.

The total cost per cu. yd. of excavating and loading, hauling and
dumping different kinds of materials with the most usual length of haul
averages about as follows:

                             Loading.  Hauling. Dumping.    Total.
                              Cents.    Cents.    Cent.     Cents.
  Sand and loose gravel         3       4 to 10   1/2    7-1/2 to 13-1/2
  Loam                          3-1/2      "       "     8     to 14
  Dry clay                      4          "       "     8-1/2 to 14-1/2
  Damp clay                     6          "       "    10-1/2 to 16-1/2
  Stiff blue clay               8          "       "    12-1/2 to 18-1/2
  Cemented gravel, hardpan,
    etc., materials loosened
    by explosives            10 to 16      "       "    14-1/2 to 26-1/2

The steam shovel will do the work of 60 to 120 men, saving from 5 to
25 cts. per cu. yd. of material excavated and loaded. The gain is
proportionally much greater in the harder, and particularly in the more
tenacious materials. The machine is not adapted to small jobs, and is
seldom worked in cuts of less than 8 ft. in depth; nor is it cheaper
than hand and team labor on such small jobs, but on nearly all large
work it is much cheaper and faster; and last, though not least, its
use largely reduces the number of laborers required, and hence the
probability of strikes and other labor troubles.



(From an article in Engineering News, June 9, 1888, we take the
following particulars of reports on the actual cost of steam shovel
work, and these reports show how variable is the cost of excavating,
depending, as it does, upon delay, unavoidable on every line of
railway, upon the weather, character of the material, length of
haul, and many other conditions. When conditions are favorable as to
material, prompt and short hauling, with no delays, the results show a
very large increase in the output, and often a decrease in cost.--Ed.
Eng. News.)

From a report of the General Roadmaster of the New York Central &
Hudson River R. R. of work done by two shovels on the Eastern and
Western divisions, we find the largest day's work for one shovel at
Yost's pit was 174 cars, the average for the month of August being 121
cars per day and for July 116 cars per day. It could have made a larger
average than this with twenty more cars, as the trains making long runs
could not keep cars in the pit. The largest day's work at Bergen pit
with one machine was 156 carloads, the June average being 117 cars and
the July 116 cars per day, and for two weeks in August 134 cars per
day. At this pit they came in contact with cement, hard pan, and very
coarse material. At Yost's pit they have loaded 10,511 cars in four
months up to Aug. 1. Figuring these at 9 yds. per car, which is low,
makes 94,599 yds. The cost of delivering on roadbed was $5,261.25, or
about 5-1/2 cts. per yd. The average cost for handling by men loading
and unloading is 14 cts. per yd.

The report on a machine working in New Mexico on the Atchison, Topeka &
Santa Fe R. R. says: "In cemented gravel, we find no difficulty, under
favorable circumstances, in loading 75 to 100 cars per day, at a cost
not to exceed 10 cts. per cu. yd."

The engineer of the Cleveland, Mt. Vernon & Delaware R. R. gives some
statements as to the cost and amount of some excavating work done under
his direction. This shovel worked about 5-1/2 months in stiff clay, as

    March loaded 1154 cars, worked 24 days.
    July    "     955  "      "    24  "
    Aug.    "    1157  "      "    22  "
    Sept. loaded 1556 cars, worked 23 days.
    Oct.    "    1552  "      "    23  "
    Nov.    "     539  "      "    12  "

Total, 6,915 cars, 41,490 cu. yds. Greatest number of cars loaded in a
single day, 97. Shovel supposed to work ten hours a day, but did not
average more than 6-1/2 hours on account of waiting for cars. Carloads
average 6 cu. yds. per car. Average cost of loading, 3 cts. per cu.
yd., including expense of all men, shovel, oil, waste, etc. Loaded,
hauled material, and unloaded at a distance of ten miles from pit, at
10 cts. per yd., including all costs, shovel, use of cars, engines and
crews. A 20-mile haul on this road cost 15 cts. per yd., and a 30-mile
haul about 20 cts. per yd., while on some roads a 30-mile haul costs
over 75 cts. per yd., depending on the frequency of trains.

The following report from the superintendent of the Sioux City &
Pacific Ry. gives the operations of a shovel for nine months working
in a yellow clay bank from 30 to 40 ft. in length, and with a one-mile
haul: "The total number of cars loaded was 31,420 in 209 days, giving
an average of 150-3/4 cars per day. The greatest number of cars loaded
in one day was 275, with an average of 6 cu. yds. per car. The average
cost of loading per cu. yd. is 6-1/2 cts., including expense of all men
about shovel, and shifting of shovel track. Average cost of unloading
with one-mile haul, 7.8 cts., including wages of all men with trains
and engines, use of cars and locomotives, with all supplies and repairs
of same, making a total cost of 14.3 cts. per cu. yd. or 85.8 cts. per
car delivered on track."

A report showing the largest amount of work, with the most complete
detail as to the expense of operation was furnished by the resident
engineer of the Missouri Valley & Blair Railway & Bridge Co.,
contractors for the Chicago & Northwestern Ry. bridge across the
Missouri River at Missouri Valley, Ia., the material excavated being
used in the approaches to the bridge. The work, a tabulated statement
of which is given in Table IV., was done under the most favorable
circumstances, with but few delays, and with but one locomotive, as the
cars ran down the hill themselves while being loaded, the locomotive
being employed to haul the empty cars back; the haul was short and a
round trip was made in 30 minutes. The report shows that during the
work of six months the average number of cars loaded per day was 205,
including delays and movings, and that the average cost per cu. yd. was
7 cts., which, as shown, included labor of loading, moving shovel about
once a month, moving track to suit, dynamite for caving bank, repairs
of shovel, fuel, oil, waste, wages of watchman, rent of cars and
locomotives, labor of engineers, firemen and wipers, labor, conductors
and brakemen, and, in fact, absolutely everything connected in any way
with filling the embankment.

                               TABLE IV.

    Work Done by Steam Excavator in Six Months at Missouri Valley, Ia.

    Repairs to locomotive, shovel and cars; material     $457.14
    Repairs to locomotive, shovel and cars; labor         211.80
    Supplies for shovel                                 1,760.00
    Rent of locomotive and cars                         1,404.75
    Supplies for locomotive                             1,781.52
    Wages of locomotive attendants                      1,508.37
    Wages of all other employees                       10,680.01
    Total cost                                        $17,803.59
    Cars loaded                                        32,141
    Cost per car                                       55.38 cts.
    Cost per cubic yard                                    7  "
    Hours worked by gang                                   2,325
    Hours worked by shovel                                 1,926

The report of the Roadmasters' Association for 1885 gives the cost of
steam shovel work as follows:

     Railway.              Work.                        Cost per yd.
  Baltimore & Ohio   Including everything,
                     haul 5 to 25 miles                      8.1 cts.
  Michigan Central   Loading                                 4.5  "
  Michigan Central   Hauling, 30 miles, labor only           4.0  "
  N. Y., P., & O.    Loading                                 7.0  "
  Central Iowa       Loading                            4.75      "
     "     "         Unloading                          1.9       "
     "     "         Engine service                     3.1       "
     "     "     Total                                  9.75      "

The detailed statement given in Table V. was prepared by Mr. E. A.
Hill, Acting Chief Engineer of the Indianapolis, Decatur & Springfield
R. R., and is a record of work done under the supervision of Mr. A. J.
Diddle, Roadmaster. It shows marked economy and gives an excellent idea
of how the expenses are apportioned. The Otis type of excavator was
used, which cuts 24 ft. wide and to a depth of 4 ft. below the track.
The banks were about 15 ft. high, the average haul 4,000 ft. Twelve
flat cars constituted a train. By a special cable arrangement the time
of plowing off, ordinarily requiring about 15 minutes, was reduced to 5
or 6 minutes.

                               TABLE V.

         Steam Shovel Work; Indianapolis, Decatur & Springfield R. R.

                              Sangamon Montezuma Sangamon         Nichol's
                                River   Gravel    River    Guion   Hollow
                              Trestle.   Pit.    Trestle. Trestle. Trestle.
                                1885.   1886.     1886.    1887.    1887.

  Total number of days          54      186        48      108        51
  Number of working days        46      115        38       85        40
  Days idle besides Sundays      0       45         3        7         4
  Material handled             light   gravel.    light    light    light
                               clay.               clay.    clay.    clay.
  Average height of bank       10 ft.   12 ft.    10 ft.   10 ft.   12 ft.
  Total No. cars loaded        2,899    8,631     2,771    5,254    2,528
  Greatest No. load. per day      94      124        90       80       75
  Least No. cars load. per day    22       16        50       30       15
  Average No. loaded per day      63       75        73     61.8     63.2
  Average length of haul      1 mile. 9 miles.   1 mile. 2 miles. 3/4 mile.
  Grade, shovel to dump, p. c. -1.00  varying.   -1.00     -1.00    -1.00
  Tons coal used, shov. & eng.   141      853      99        170       65
  No. car loads per ton coal.   20.5       10      28       30.9     38.9

Cost of Work Per Car Load.

                              Sangamon Montezuma Sangamon         Nichol's
                                River   Gravel    River    Guion   Hollow
                              Trestle.   Pit.    Trestle. Trestle. Trestle.
                                1885.   1886.     1886.    1887.    1887.
                                 Cts.    Cts.      Cts.      Cts.    Cts.
  Foreman at $125 per month      8.86     9.67      8.00    9.01     9.88
  Cranesman, $2 to $2.50 day     5.35     5.62      4.80    3.54     5.57
  Fireman (shovel) $1.50 day     2.88     3.37      2.87    2.90     3.27
  Laborers (4) $1.25 per day     7.86     9.92      8.77    9.80     9.80
  Watchman at $1 per day         2.07     1.96      1.88    2.50     2.25
  Total shovel crew             27.02    30.54     26.32   27.75    30.77
  Engr. and fireman (engine)    12.00    14.50      7.44   11.00    13.10
  Trainmen (conductor, $2.50;
    brakemen, $1.50)             5.97    14.60      5.74    5.25     5.77
  Total train crew              17.97    29.10     13.18   16.25    18.87
  Helpers distrb. earth, $1.10   ....     1.74      ....    ....     2.72
  Sec. men (track work), $1.10   0.81     1.88      1.38    1.45     ....
  Bridge carpenters (repairs
    to plant), $2.50             0.15     1.58      0.16    1.04     2.08
  Sec. men (reprs plant), $1.10  ....     0.62      ....    ....     ....
  Shop bills (repairs to plant)  1.69    10.90      1.27   10.60     1.67
  Total repairs to plant         1.84    13.10      1.43   11.64     1.67
  Coal from $1.25 to $1.41 ton   6.31    13.30      4.47    4.31     3.28
  Oil, waste, etc.               0.52     1.55      0.75    0.86     0.36
  Total supplies                 6.83    14.85      5.22    5.17     3.64
                                -----    -----     -----   -----    -----
  Grand total per car load      54.47    91.19     47.53   62.26    59.75
                                -----    -----     -----   -----    -----
  Cost, cu. yd., 8 yds. per car  6.43    11.40      5.94    7.79     7.47
  Add    "   "  for interest on
    cost of plant                1.00     1.00      1.00    1.00     1.00
                                -----     -----    -----   -----    -----
  Cost per cu. yd., includ. int. 7.43     12.40     6.94    8.79     8.47

                       For Every Possible Duty.

                        FARREL'S--Ore and Rock
                       Screens, Elevators, Etc.

                      THE STANDARD FOR 25 YEARS.

                            EARLE C. BACON,

                     Havemeyer Building, New York.
                          PACIFIC IRON WORKS.
                     FARREL FOUNDRY & MACHINE CO.

                             Steam Shovel

              Dippers, Dipper Teeth, Dipper Bails, Dipper
                        Mouths, Kept in Stock.


              We have built a new shop, and are preparing
                              designs for
                             STEAM SHOVELS
                   of very substantial construction.

              We call attention to the fact that we have
           made for years a specialty of =Pile Drivers=
                       and =Steam Dredges=.

                          VULCAN IRON WORKS,

                        NEW YORK DREDGING CO.,
                      ENGINEERS AND CONTRACTORS.

[Illustration: Hydraulic Dredge discharging through 5,700 ft. Pipe.
Will dig and put ashore any Material, Rock excepted.]

[Illustration: Patent Canal Excavator.]

                 Machines at Work, Washington, D. C.,
                 Jacksonville, Fla., and Oakland, Cal.


                   CEO. W. CATT, M. Am. Soc. C. E.,
                        President and Engineer.
               O. L. WILLIAMS, Secretary and Treasurer.

           Machinery for Economical Excavation of Canals for
                Dredging; for Reclamation of Low Lands.
                       CORRESPONDENCE SOLICITED.

                    WORLD BUILDING, New York, N. Y.

                         G. L. STEUBNER & CO.,
                           MANUFACTURERS OF
                           HOISTING BUCKETS


                          Side Dumping Cars,
                           End Dumping Cars,
                         Bottom Dumping Cars,
                            Charging Cars,
                             Special Cars,
                          Iron Wheelbarrows,
                         Iron Hoisting Blocks,

                         Tar Heating Furnaces,
                           Sheet-Iron Work,
                          Iron Forgings, Etc.

                        Send for Catalogue and
                              Price List.

            168-176 EAST THIRD ST., LONG ISLAND CITY, N. Y.

                      THE BEST STEAM SHOVEL CAR.


                         WRITE FOR PRICES AND
                             CATALOGUE TO

                        Ryan-McDonald Mfg. Co.,

                           44 SOUTH STREET,
                            BALTIMORE, MD.,

                           MANUFACTURERS OF

             Light Locomotives, Contractors' Cars, Derrick
               Irons and Crabs, Hoisting Engines and All
                     Classes of Narrow Gauge Cars.

                          RAILROAD SUPPLIES.
                          Dump and Mine Cars.



                        HAROLD C. DAYTON & CO.,
                       44 DEY STREET, NEW YORK.


                           M. BEATTY & SONS,
                             WELLAND, ONT.

             Dredges, Ditchers, Derricks and Steam Shovels

                             GOLD MINING.

                     AND OTHER CONTRACTORS' PLANT.



        We Keep on hand a number of sizes both narrow and wide
       gauge locomotives, of best construction, for contractors'
      service. Catalogue mailed and prices quoted on application.


                          H. K. PORTER & CO.,


              WOOD STREET, Near 7th Ave., PITTSBURGH, PA.



                   OSGOOD DREDGE CO., Albany, N. Y.


                            OTIS & CHAPMAN,

                          STANDARD GRAVEL and



                      JOHN SOUTHER & CO., BOSTON.

              Earth Displaced at ONE-QUARTER LESS EXPENSE
                       Than by Any Other Machine


        _To Whom It May Concern_:

        I hereby certify that I have used the Otis patent improved
        Steam Excavator the past twenty years, in all kinds of earth
        excavation, and believe it to be the best dry land excavator in
        use, and the only one that will work successfully in hardpan
        material. I have excavated and put into cars five million yards
        under one contract for making land in Boston; with two of these
        machines I loaded from seventy to eighty thousand yards per
        month. N. C. MUNSON.

                            C. P. TREAT,

                         J. A. LANE, Manager.
                      ROB'T SMITH, Ass't Manager.
                         S. H. DOTY, Engineer.
                        H. C. DECKER, Cashier.

_Houlton, Maine, December 31, 1894._

_This is to certify that in the month of October, 1894, the bearer,
Mr. John B. Shaw, with 1-3/4 yds. Souther Steam Shovel, loaded on cars
38,168 cubic yds. of ballast. Pit measurement by R. R. Co.'s Engineers._


                                                 _C. P. TREAT,
                                                   per S. H. Doty._

Transcriber's Notes

Illustrations in this booklet are not always labelled in order of
appearance, so full page diagrams may appear out of order. Fig. 4. seems
to have been ommitted and is not found (or referenced) in any of the
online sources. Minor corrections made to punctuation. inconsistent
hyphenation and spelling.

In particular:

p7. "rceiving" changed to "receiving".

p11. "wabble" has been left - it appears to be a variant spelling of wobble.

p18. "overhanging ledges or these materials" changed to "overhanging ledges
     of these materials".

p22. "only few men" changed to "only a few men"


"Loose gravel   1    30    1     30    2     60    3     90  4  12"

changed to

"Loose gravel   1    30    1     30    2     60    3     90  4  120"

p50. "steam or air driver" change to "steam or air driven"

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