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OFF THE MAIN LINE.

Little Curiosities in Railroad Literature
Gleaned from Sidetracks All Over the World.

IN Germany, a tax is imposed on all railway tickets costing sixty pfennigs or more.

EVERY business-day in the year an army of two hundred and fifty thousand commuters swarms into New York City from the towns and villages of New Jersey.

FROM railroad to pulpit is the latest run of George West, formerly general manager of the Saint Louis and North Arkansas Railroad, who has been ordained to the Baptist ministry in Arkansas.

CLINGING to the cross-bars underneath the cow-catcher of a locomotive, Jim O'Connors rode for one hour on a sixty-mile-an-hour train from Saugus to Los Angeles, California, and was taken out unconscious.

SWITZERLAND has nearly a hundred railways whose sole business is the carrying of tourists to mountain-tops. When the road now being built up the Jungfrau is completed, its upper terminal will be fourteen thousand feet above sea-level.

THE locomotive that went down with the wreck of the Firth of Tay bridge in Scotland in 1879 is still in the service, hauling freight, or goods trains, as our English cousins call them. The three months that the engine spent in the mud of the river had failed to impair its usefulness.

WILD Rose, Wisconsin, has the unenviable distinction of possessing the youngest train-wrecker in the world - Stanislaus Yeska, of the mature age of nine years. After several attempts had been made to wreck passenger trains on the Northwestern road by obstructions placed on the track, the youthful culprit was caught in the act.

THE avernge number of passengers in each railroad train in the United States in 1904 was 50.25. This represents a growth from about thirty-nine a train in 1898, but is still far below the development attained abroad. In 1898 Germany carried an average of seventy-one persons in each train, and India had the large figure of one hundred and eighty-nine.

THIRTY-ONE years of operation without a passenger killed by train accident is the record of the Canadian line or the Michigan Central, formerly known as the Canadian Southern. The line is five hundred miles in length and carries a heavy traffic. The Pacific division of the Canadian Pacific has a similar record, not a passenger having been killed in the twenty years of its operation.

A NOVEL hair-cut was received by Harry Crump, of Industry, Ohio, when he fell from a Baltimore and Ohio freight train near his home. He was saved from death by the wheels pushing him aside. The fall stunned him, and as he lay with his head against a rail the wheels clipped his long locks. A few slight scalp wounds were the only other evidences he had of his "close shave."

A MISSOURI Pacific passenger train bound east from Kansas City was hemmed in between two landslides near Overton, Missouri, recently. The train was running slowly at the time and struck a slide. Before the engine could be backed out from the obstruction a large amount of earth and rock fell directly in the rear of the train, shutting it in so that it could go neither way. - Train Dispatcher's Bulletin.

AN early type of car used on the Sixth Avenue surface line in New York in the sixties was built in omnibus shape, with the driver's seat on top, and drawn by one horse. At the two ends of the route - Central Park and Canal Street - the horse was simply made to walk around, while the car swung about on a pivot above the axles, leaving the running gear on the rails in the same position as before.

THE following interesting information is from an English exchange: On the Southern railways of the United States, negroes are not permitted to travel in the same carriages with white people, Jim Crow cars being provided by law exclusively for colored persons. Senator Foraker is agitating for the abolition of this system, and out of gratitude seven hundred Ohio negroes have named their piccaninnies after him."

THE difficulty experienced by passengers at great railway stations in finding the time of arrival or departure of their trains is to be solved in a novel manner by the Pennsylvania. In all the waiting-rooms powerful phonographs are to be placed which will announce in sonorous tones the arrival or departure of every train and its destination a few miuntes before it is due. The machines are to be worked by electric switches.

AS a result of the passage of an anti-pass law in Iowa, many county and city officials have resigned their offices rather than surrender their hardy annuals. One mayor who threw off the robes of office declared he did so because to surrender his pass would have been a virtual admission that he had received it on account of his official position, when, as a matter of fact, he held it only because of the affection which the directors of the road had for him.

THE banner railroad for courtesy is the Erie, which recently altered its schedule in Ohio to accommodate an ardent lover. The lover in qnestion was Porter E. Harnes, a spry sixty-year-old, of Richwood, Ohio, who has been "sitting up" with a comely widow in the near-by town of Peoria. The last Erie train to Richwood to stop at Peoria was at 5:34 P.M. - far too early for the elderly Romeo. To suit its schedule to his courting, the Erie finally consented to stop the train passing Peoria at 11:24 P.M. on signal.

THE Southern Pacific is building a line in Mexico to Guadalajara which represents a very cosmopolitan cooperation in labor and materials. It is an American railway, built on Mexican territory, with rails from Spain, carried to the United States on German steamers, and unloaded by Jamaica negroes. The sleepers are from lands in the Orient acquired by the Japanese in their war with Russia. The earthwork and laying of rails and sleepers were done by Mexican Indians, Chinese, and Greeks, under the supervision of Irish gangers, American engineers, and Mexican Government inspectors. - Railway and Engineering Review.

A RAILROAD to run by balloon-power is one of the latest developments of scientific ingenuity. Consul Bardel, at Bamberg, Germany, describes experiments in this direction now under way in the mountains in that vicinity. The purpose of the scheme is to overcome steep inclines, which would ordinarily have to he attacked by cables or cogwheels. A balloon, carrying ten passengers in a suspended car, is attached to a slide running along a steel rail. It rises to the top of the incline by the lifting power of the hydrogen with which it is inflated. Then a tank which it has carried up empty is filled with water, which hauls it down. There is a speed regulator, controlled by the conductor. The inventor believes that all cable roads will be relegated to the scrap heap by this device. - Collier's Weekly.

THE first railroad ever built in northern Asia has been completely lost to sight. In the early seventies a twelve-mile road was laid around the rapids of the Angrara River, near Irkutsk, for the transshipment of river freight. With the opening of new lines this pioneer road was abandoned. Fifteen years later the locating engineers of the Siberian Railroad visited the place, curious to see how the road was built. The old freight sheds were found with their locks intact, and a few overlooked packages of goods were moldering in dark corners. The line of the track could be traced by the clearing through the forest, but of the track itself not a trace remained. It could not have been burned or carried away by the natives. Evidently the soft ground had slowly absorbed the unballasted rails and ties until they rested many feet below the surface.

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