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Volume Twelve - Pre-Victorian to the Present Day - further aspects - 1898 - A Clever Piece of Engineering . . .

The following article detailing the renewal of the lock gates at Penarth Dock was published within the periodical 'Engineering' [516] [684] on the 15th July 1898 : -


The Penarth Docks are, as is pretty well known, leased and worked by the Taff Vale Railway Company, of which Mr. A. Beasley is the general manager, and Mr. T. Hurry Riches is the mechanical engineer. They are of more importance than many persons, not acquainted with the west, are apt to think, for over 2¾ million tons of goods were shipped from them during 1896, while the shipments for 1897 were expected to exceed 3 million tons. When it is remembered that during the previous year the amount of shipping cleared from either London or from Liverpool was under 8½ million tons, it will be seen that Penarth has some claim to consideration.

Of course the larger part of this tonnage is made up by coal, for the handling of which there are special mechanical appliances. There are 14 high-level tips, of which three are specially designed for tipping above the level of rails as well as below. Modern ships are so high-sided that provision has been made to raise the cradles by hydraulic lifts to 47 ft. above water line. For all tipping below ordinary level the weight of the coal forces the high-pressure water back into the accumulator, and thus effects a considerable saving.

On these tips, at the time of our visit, and doubtless the fact is true up to the present, a larger amount of coal per hour had been dealt with than on any other tips in the district. The quantity tipped was 720 tons in an hour and a quarter, a proportion of this being above level, the coal having to be lifted until the ship was brought down in the water by her cargo.

These tips are fitted with an anti-breakage box, which is self-acting, the discharge being effected at the right moment by an adjusting chain, which tightens and causes the box to open. The advantage of this arrangement with the friable Welsh coal will be apparent to all marine engineers. The box closes by gravity on rising, a detail which has considerable influence on the time occupied, as the box is always ready to be filled. The whole action of the tip is governed by an endless chain, which passes round the cradle so that the manipulation can be effected by one man on the cradle.


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