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Publication numberUS3593665 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 20, 1971
Filing dateDec 22, 1969
Priority dateDec 30, 1968
Also published asDE1965593A1, DE1965593C2
Publication numberUS 3593665 A, US 3593665A, US-A-3593665, US3593665 A, US3593665A
InventorsMarty Rene Henri Charles
Original AssigneeMarty Rene Henri Charles
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Conveying system
US 3593665 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

D United States Patent 1 3,593,665

[72] Inventor Rene Henri Charles Marty 2,517,860 8/1950 Forgy 180/91 39, rue Cardinet. Paris 170, France 3,242,876 3/1966 Berggren 104/130 Nor [85881325251969 3,263,625 8/1966 Midis 104/88 ic 3,363,584 1/1968 Brush 104/105 [45] Patented July 20,197l v i Priority mac. 1968 Primary Between-Arthur L. La Point Amman! Examiner-D1 W1 Keen [33] France A I Y d Th [3]] 81,734 nomayoung an ompson [54] CONVEYING SYSTEM l0Cla' 11 Dr F awmg ABSTRACT: A conveying system including a complex track U-S' the sections of are connected junctions Means are l04/130 provided to prevent the vehicles reaching simultaneously the III. B6) 13/00, junction from against each other and to {his end 5019 25/23, Eolb 7/l2 feelers are provided on such vehicles so that in the case of a Flew Search 3 simultaneous arrival, the vehicles are constrained to follow 4 each its normal track assumed to lie parallel with that followed by the other vehicle. Means are furthermore provided for con- [56] References cued trolling without any computer the path followed by the vehi- UNITED STATES PATENTS cles over the complex track in a manner somewhat similar to 2,159,651 5/1939 Brockett /97 that of automatically controlled lifts.

CONVEYING SYSTEM My invention covers an improved conveying system, chiefly but not exclusively intended for the conveyance of passengers in urban and suburban areas.

Collective transportation no longer follow the development of large urban areasby reason inlparticular of their slowness while the distances to he travelled over are in constant increase. The use of taxicabs or private cars leads to numerous accidents and it is practically difficult to cut them out since they are due to human failure.

It has already been proposed to cut out such drawbacks by resorting to vehicles progressingina substantially automatic manner preferably, to individual vehicles with one to four seats moving along special tracks at a substantially constant speed and serving a number of stations. In onesimple arrangement the vehicles run along a circuit including a main track connected at suitably spaced locations with shunt tracks leading the vehicle to the selected stations and returning the vehicles beyond said station back onto the main track after passengershave boarded at such stations, the vehicle being thus led to a number of said stations.

Generally speaking, it is possible to imagine more complex arrangements including a multiplicity of main tracks adapted to be interconnected while thecontrolled vehicles are caused to progress in a partly or completely automatic manner over said tracks from their predetermined starting point to the desired arrival point. The automatic operation of such arrangements may be ensured by computers controlling the movements of all the vehicles onthe network thus provided so that said vehicles may pass from one track onto another as desired. Such arrangements require obviously sidings and junctions which provide for instance the vehicles with means for. passing out of a main track onto a shunt track or onto another main track, while other junctions return the vehicle for instance from a shunt track onto the main track or again from a main track onto another main track.

The sidings may be associated with control means carried by the vehicles themselves so as toselect the track to be followed as provided by engaging the vehicle along a suitable guiding rail of a known type.

The operation of the junctions between two tracks is an easy matter but, in contradistinction, the existence of such junctions requires that two vehicles engaging it when passing out of two tracks leading to said junction may not reach said junction simultaneously or substantially so, since this would lead to a collision.

Obviously automatic means controlled by a computer or otherwise may be provided for delaying or arresting it when it is about to enter the junction and notice is given of thearrival of another vehicle on the other track leading to said junction. However such automatic safety means are not completely reliable since they may fail; now, in a properly designed network the probability of two vehicles meeting at a junction is a high oneand no failure can be allowed.

My invention has for its primary object to cut out said major drawbacks and to ensure in a network of the type referred to an almostcomplete reliability together with a smooth disposal of the traffic.

Furthermore, the delay or stopping obtained ahead of a junction leads to an inconvenient slowing down of the traffic and it is necessary to prevent an accumulation of vehicles on the tracks. Such problems have not been solved satisfactorily hitherto and my invention has for its object to solve them.

I. resort primarily to the fact that safety is ensured together with simple operation by a continuous and regular progression of the different vehicles and of their slowing down before stopping. In the case of a breakdown or faulty operation of one'of the vehicles which mightrleadto a substantial modification in its speed, automatic systems arepreferably provided so astosimultaneously stop all thevehicles on at leasta fraction of thenetwork.

Furthermore, since the vehicles-run at substantially equal speeds with however small differences between said speeds, it is possible to provide buffers operating on a long stroke so as to damp such differences in speed between successive vehicles when one vehicle running at a higher speed is about to reach the preceding vehicle and a risk of damage arises.

To this end, there is provided according to my invention, ahead of any junction and at least for one of the tracks leading to the latter, at least one shunt track while each vehicle is provided with means adapted to act on cooperating means carried by the other vehicles mechanically, optically, electronically or otherwise so as to constrain said vehicle to engage said shunt track in the case where it is about to reach the junction practically at the same moment as another vehicle. The vehicle considered may be returned thenafter onto a further point of the track which it was originally to folllow. This arrangement forms what may be termed a single acting branching junction.

it is obviously possible, if the vehicle is to be shunted to either side according to the case, to provide in sequence single acting points arranged to either side of the track.

It is also possible according to my invention to provide a double-acting branching junction constituted by two tracks converging first towards a meeting point and diverging thenafter while two auxiliary tracks connect the inlet portion of each track with the outlet portion of the other track, the vehicle controlling means on the vehicles appearing simultaneously at the junction, constraining; each of said vehicles to remain on its original track.

Furthermore, the vehicles running, over a first track are preferably controlled otherwise than by a computer or by a counter programming their operation so that they may either follow the track originally assignedto them up to the junction point or else be shunted onto the other main track through the agency of a corresponding shunt or connecting track.

Furthermore, in the case of the vehicle being shunted off its main track in order to prevent a collision, means may be pro vided for returning automatically the vehicles onto the junction or to any other point of the track they would have followed if they had not been shunted away. This may' be obtained for instance through the agency of comparatively short auxiliary circuit; if a further collision risks being produced thenafter the procedure may be begun over again until the vehicle can actually follow its prescribed path. Obviously, the number of vehicles should in this case be limited or the number of tracks should be increased so as to cut out any risk of saturation which might lock the vehicles in position and cause them to repeat to an exaggerated extent the shunt movements which have just been described.

Of course, the arrangements according to my invention include automatic preliminary and final control systems constituted by mechanical, electromechanical or electronic means for instance. The steering of the vehicles leading them onto shunt tracks or else leading them from one track to another, either towards the left or towards the right-hand side, may be constituted by apparatus of the preliminary control type similar to those controlling automatic lifts or else the control means may cooperate with stationary means lying alongside the tracks and similar to those operating along railroads.

Calculating apparatus may, furthermore, at any moment transmit orders to a vehicle concerning its progression as well as its shunting to modify its direction on another track in order to lead the vehicle to its destination over the shortest or the speediest track, said calculators including in accordance with my invention, multiple totalizers examples of which will be given hereinafter.

Further objects and features of my invention will appear in the reading of the following description, reference being made to the accompanying drawings illustrating diagrammatically, by way of example and in a nonlimiting; sense, various embodiments of my invention. In said drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates diagrammatically a simple acting branching junction or track exchanger which allows the vehicles to enter independently the junction while safety means prevent two vehicles reaching at the same moment said junction from impinging against one another.

FIG. 2 illustrates diagrammatically a vehicle including means adapted to cooperate with corresponding means on other vehicles which risk meeting the vehicle considered, so that one of the vehicles is shunted onto another track.

FIG. 3 is a diagram of a more complicated double-acting track exchanger according to my invention and forming what I term a double-acting branching junction.

FIG. 4 is a rear view of a modified vehicle of the type illustrated in FIG. 2 and adapted to be used on a track according to FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 illustrates a further modification of the vehicle.

FIG. 6 illustrates a loop-shaped circuit including a main track and a shunt track, said circuit incorporating branching junctions as in the case of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 illustrates diagrammatically a counting system carried by the vehicle and adapted to cooperate with stationary means on the track in order to lead automatically the vehicles towards the station at which they are to stop.

FIG. 8 illustrates a more complex network including a plurality of main circuits with means shunting the vehicles from one elementary circuit onto another.

FIG. 9 illustrates a system of multiple totalizers which causes a vehicle starting from any station on the network to reach any other station of the network.

FIG. 10 illustrates diagrammatically the association of branching stations with a short circuit over which a vehicle may return onto the track it is normally to follow and off which it had been shunted by reason of another vehicle entering simultaneously the branching junction.

FIG. 11 illustrates the indefinite surface over which cab-carrying vehicles running on a single rail towards a branching junction such as that illustrated in FIG. 3, which surface is cut so as to afford a passage for the cab-carrying rods.

Before describing the arrangement illustrated, it should be remarked that their object is always the same and consists in that uniformity and continuity of progression are obtained simply and reliably through the use of three-phase squirrel cage electric motors applied to the novel structures of the tracks and vehicles. This continuity of progression implies a gradual slowing down of the vehicles which are to stop one behind the other. Since the vehicles progress always at substantially equal speeds with very slight differences between said speeds, it is preferable to provide buffering means as mentioned hereinabove, damping said differences in speed in vehicles of a comparatively low weight when one of said vehicles moves at a slightly higher speed than that preceding it. Very long buffering strokes cut out even the risk of damage.

In order to increase reliability and safety, each vehicle may include an arrangement adapted to detect an abnormal operation modifying the speed or the braking action and acting for instance on the feed circuit which may then be short-circuited so that the general circuit breaker opens. Such detecting means may include mechanical detectors such as small weights carried elastically and closing an electric circuit in the case of abnormal shocks or else the detectors may be connected with a chain which is stretched in the case of a breaking of a predetermined part, these different means producing simultaneously or independently the same action as an alarm or the opening or tentative opening of a door.

Instead of causing the general circuit breaker to switch off the current feeding the vehicles running over a closed loop, it is possible to provide a circuit breaker adapted to connect said track with a supply of DC, assuming the normal feed is with three-phase or one-phase current for synchronous motors. This produces a braking equal for all the vehicles which retain thus at each moment equal speeds and consequently the spacing between is substantially unvarying during the slowing down thus produced when such vehicles are very near each other.

I will now examine how the actual tracks are arranged so as to cooperate with means guiding the vehicles on said tracks ahead of branching junctions.

Nowadays numerous types of tracks are proposed for various vehicles and in principle nothing prevents the use for the purposes of the invention of any type of track, whether the vehicles roll on it or slide on air cushions under pressure or reduced pressure.

As well lcnown in the art, the parts guiding the vehicle, instead of being constituted by switches on guiding tacks, may include movable parts carried preferably only by the actual vehicles while the guiding rails themselves are not provided with any movable part.

Said guiding rails cooperating with parts carried by the vehicle play preferably no sustaining part in contradistinction with railroad rails; such guiding rails may lie, alongside the actual track ensuring the sustaining and running of the vehicles, on the side of the track or else underneath or above the vehicles and they may be constituted for instance by hollow rails inside which may slide shoes provided possibly with rollers and carried by the vehicles so as to engage the inside of said guiding rails. The vehicle is thus constantly guided since it is carried by the actual track which may be a flat track over which the wheels of the vehicle may run.

As to the junctions, it is possible to cause the vehicle to be shunted off a single track (FIG. 1) onto the right-hand shunt track 2 or onto the left hand shunt track 3. To this end there is provided at the location of each junction 4, in addition to the duplication of the main track, a further duplication of the guiding rails 5 and 6 each of which corresponds to one of the duplicated tracks at the junction. Each vehicle 7 is preferably provided with two guiding parts 8 and 9 adapted to cooperate respectively with the two guiding rails, said guiding parts being fitted so as to be brought into cooperation with the corresponding rails or to be urged away from said rails in accordance with the orders transmitted to them, the movements of the two guiding parts being associated in a manner such that when one of them is engaged in the corresponding guiding rail, the other is spaced away from its guiding rail.

FIG. 2 is a rear view of a vehicle provided with the movable guiding parts in accordance with already known systems.

In FIG. 1, the lines I0 drawn as hatchings define the location of the tires 11 (FIG. 2) on the vehicle wheels. Said lines are duplicated and form the lines I2 and 12' corresponding to the two shunt tracks at the junction. The rails 5 and 6 (FIG. 1) or 13 and 13 (FIG. 2) are located laterally with reference to the main tracks I0, 12 and 12 and are constituted as readily apparent by hollow rails or gutters 14 and I4 engaged by the actual guiding parts carried by the vehicles. Said guiding parts 15 and 15 which correspond to the guiding parts 8 and 9 of FIG. I are carried by the vehicle 16 (FIG. 2) and are constituted for instance by shoes carrying rollers and adapted to run within the guiding rails 14 and I4. Said guiding parts are both carried at the opposite ends of a transverse bar 17 adapted to pivot at 18 with reference to the vehicle body between two extreme positions under the action of a symmetrical electromagnetic system I9 to which a preliminary order has been conveyed. Feelers the part played by which will be disclosed hereinafter are also provided in the case of the vehicle running over a track including deflecting guiding means according to my invention.

The operation of the arrangement described is as follows:

The vehicle moving over the track 1 (FIG. 1) towards the junction 4 is normally guided by its guiding part I5 (FIG. 2) running within the hollow rail 14', illustrated at 6 in FIG. 1. When the vehicle reaches the area just ahead of the junction 4, the transverse bar 17 may retain the position illustrated in FIG. 2 or else, under the control provided by one of the electromagnetic systems 19, it rocks so as to assume the position illustrated in interrupted lines in FIG. 2. In the first case, the vehicle continues being guided by the left-hand guiding rail 6 and moves towards the left. In the opposite case, the guiding part 15 (FIG. 2) moves out of the guiding rail l3, 14' whereas the other guiding part engages the opposite rail l3-I4 corresponding to the rail 5 of FIG. I. In order to prevent any derailing, the sizes of the different parts are such that the guiding part 15' may still remain within the guiding rail l3'l4' when the other guiding part begins engaging the corresponding guiding rail I3. To this end, last-mentioned rail 13 includes a section which is accurately parallel with the track 113 just ahead of the junction. When the part 115 has finally engaged the hollow rail Iii-M, the vehicle is obviously guided thenafter along said rail l3-M corresponding to 5 of FIG. i; in other words, the vehicle coming from the track I continues running on said right-hand track 1.

I will now describe with reference to FIG. I the track exchanger forming a single acting branching junction. In said FIG. 1, the two main tracks l and 2 illustrated diagrammatically by the lines followed by the tires of the vehicle wheels running over them draw nearer each other so as to be spaced by a very small amount and then separate again. The track ll includes two guiding rails 5 and 6 and is connected through the auxiliary track 3 with the track 21 provided with a guiding rail 21 on the side opposed to the track 3.

These various tracks and rails form means for an optional guiding of the vehicle in the following manner:

The vehicles running over the track 1 may continue running over said track beyond the junction or else they are shunted at 4 upon rocking of the guiding parts so as to engage the track 21. In contradistinction, the vehicles running originally on the track 21 are constrained to continue always on said track 21. There are thus provided for the track I the same possibilities as those afforded to motor cars at a crossing between one-way roads, that is they may either continue straight away or turn, obviously in the direction allowed for vehicles on the transverse road. Control and preliminary control means release the rocking of the guiding system of FIG. 2 which provides similar possibilities for the vehicles running on the tracks disclosed.

The arrangement which has just been described provides safety inasmuch as it prevents any vehicle running towards a junction on one of the main tracks 1 and 21 from impinging at the crossing point against another vehicle. The safety means include the feeler parts illustrated in FIG. 2. As a matter of fact, when two vehicles 7 and 22 reach at the same moment the junction as they pass out of the tracks 1 and 21 by reason of the reduced spacing of the tracksjust ahead of said junction 4, the parts 20 shown at 23 on the vehicle 7 of FIG. 1 which extend on each vehicle throughout the length of the latter engage each other from one vehicle to the other as provided, if required, by a rocking of the transverse bar 17 of one of the two vehicles against the control or preliminary control signal which may have sent an order to them through one of the electromechanical systems 19. Thus the guiding part 15 on the vehicle following the track 1 may according to the case be brought into or remain in engagement with the guiding rail 5. Consequently the two vehicles remain respectively on their tracks 1 and 21 without any risk of collision, whatever the original position of the transverse bars on the vehicles may be.

If it is desired for the vehicle running on the track 21 (FIG. 1) to pass onto the other main track 1, it is obviously possible to provide beyond the branching junction illustrated in solid lines a second single acting junction symmetrical of the former junction as illustrated in dotted lines in FIG. 1. Thus it is possible to provide a double acting system which I may term a double branching junction as illustrated with further detail in FIG. 3.

In said FIG. 3, the double-acting track exchanger formed by the double branching junction includes two main tracks 24 and 24' illustrated by the lines followed by the vehicle tires which draw nearer one another and then separate. The guiding rails are illustrated at 25 and 26, the left-hand guiding rail being located on the left-hand track and that for the righthand track being located on the right-hand side of the latter. Furthermore, two shunt tracks27and 28 interconnect on the one hand the incoming part of the track 24 with the outgoing part of the track 24' and on the other hand the incoming part of the track 24' with the outgoingpartof the track 24. To this end further guiding rails 29 and. .30 cooperate respectively with the guiding rails 25 and 26 so as to from two branchings at 31 and 32 leading in their turn to the branchings 33 and 34. The optional guiding of the vehicles is performed as follows:

The vehicles running on the traclc 24 may either continue progressing on said track or else they are shunted at 32 upon rocking of the transverse bar so as to engage the shunt track 2'2. The vehicles running originally on the track 24 may similarly either continue on said traclt M or else be shunted at the junction 3i onto the shunt track 2% which leads them back onto the track 2st. The same possibilities are thus afforded as for automobiles at a crossing between two one-way roads, that is they may continue straight ahead or else turn into the transverse road, obviously in the direction open to vehicles on the latter. The control and preliminary control signals provided operate the transverse rocking bars illustrated in FIG. 2 or the like means whereby the above possibilities are afforded on the network illustrated in FIG. 3.

Similarly, in the case of the branching junctions illustrated in FIG. l, the double acting arrangement which has just been described includes furthermore means ensuring safety and preventing any vehicle entering the junction from the two main tracks 2d and 2d from impinging against each other. Said safety means include the feeler parts 20 (FIG. 2); when two vehicles reach almost simultaneously the junction over the tracks 24 and 24' which draw near each other at such a point, said parts 20 which project laterally on each vehicle throughout its length engage each other and cause the trans verse bars of the two vehicles to rock, possibly against the action of the control or preliminary control signal which may have been sent to them through one of the electromagnetic systems 19, and consequently the guiding rail 25 adapted to be engaged by the parts 15 of the vehicles following the track 24 engage or remain engaged by said parts 15' while the guiding parts 15 of the vehicle running along the track 24 engage or remain engaged in the guiding rail 26 of said track 24, also against the action of the orders which may have been given to the corresponding electromagnetic system. Consequently, the vehicle running along the track 24' remains on the latter and similarly the vehicle following the track 24 remains also on its track so thatthe two vehicles do not cross each other and risk no collision. This shows the drawback however, that one of or both said vehicles may in some cases be shifted out of the path which they are to follow as a consequence of their meeting at the junction. This drawback may be removed by constraining the vehicle which has thus been shifted aside to be returned onto the desired track through an auxiliary track which may provide an even shorter travel than the auxiliary track provided on the path followed by it precedingly. If, at the moment considered, no vehicle on the other main track is about to reach the junction point of the latter with the auxiliary track, the vehicle may continue running along the prescribed path. The drawback consists thus only in a slight delay ascribable to the passage of the vehicle from one track onto the auxiliary track. If, upon entering the junction with the other track, the vehicle meets again another vehicle running on said other track, the procedure begins over again and of course there is only a very small risk, if the network is not saturated with vehicles, of the vehicle running more than twice or three times over an auxiliary track.

In the arrangement which has just been disclosed with reference to FIG. 2, the rocking of the transverse bar 17 is provided directly by the operation of the feeler parts 20 and 20 carried by the two vehicles reaching at the same moment a junction over the tracks 24 and 24. It may be of interest, if only for increasing safety, to provide said rocking no longer directly as disclosed but through a detent system such as that provided on fire anns, the detent being set at the moment of the arrival of the vehicle at the junction so that its release may produce a sudden rocking of the transverse bar 17 on each vehicle if required. Such a modification has been illustrated in particular in FIG. t, reference being made to the junction illustrated in FIG. 3. Said FIG. 4 illustrates the detent system carried by the vehicle running on the track 2%. In this example, the transverse bar 17 is pivotally secured to a lever 35 carrying at its end parts 36 and 36' engaged by the ends of the springs 37 and 37 engaging throughtheir other ends said bar 17. The parts 36 and 36 are furthermore adapted to cooperate with the rails 38, 38 located respectively almost medially of the main tracks 24 and 24, but with a slight shifting towards the left for the right-hand track and towards the right for the left-hand track; the spring 37 is thus constrained to cooperate with the rail 38 as shown in MG. 4 when the vehi- 5 cle runs on the track 24 and conversely the spring 37 cooperates with the rail 38' in the case of a vehicle travelling over the track 24'.

The feeler parts 20 and 20', instead of forming part of the bar 17, are pivotally secured at 40 and 40' to the body of the vehicle and their lower ends form catches 41, 41' adapted to cooperate with notches 42 and 42 provided at the corresponding ends of the bar 17. Return springs 43 and 43' urge the catches 41 and 41 back into their bar engaging positions.

As in the preceding case, the pivotal movement of the bar 17 may be controlled for instance by two electromagnets such as 19. However since one of the catches should be raised against the pressure of the corresponding spring 43, 43, a further electromagnet 39 is fed in parallel with the electromagnet 19.

The operation of the arrangement is as follows:

Assuming the vehicle running on the track 24 has received a preliminary order according to which it is to turn to the left over the track 27, its guiding part is guided by the lefthand guiding rail 29 on its track so as to lead the vehicle towards the left along the guiding rail 27. The left-hand feeler '4la% engages consequently the corresponding notch 42 whereas the catch on the right-hand feeler 41 engages the upper surface of the guiding part 15. When the vehicle reaches the branching junction, the part 36 on the left-hand end of the lever 35 engages the rail 38 which rises in the direction of progression of the vehicle so that, when the latter is just about to engage said branching junction, the rail 38 act ing on the spring 37' compresses the latter; if no other vehicle reaches the junction at the same moment over the track 24, the levers 35-36 move off the rail 38 at the end of the latter while the guiding member 15 remains engaged in the lefthand guiding rail so that the vehicle may continue progressing without any hindrance along its path on the left-hand track. If, in contradistinction, any vehicle reaches at the same time the branching junction over the track 24, the feeler part 20' on the vehicle considered impinges against the cooperating part on said other vehicle and this results in a rocking of the catch 41' clockwise against the action of the return spring 42'. The catch 41' moves thus out of the notch 42 so that the transverse bar 17 is released and rocks clockwise under the action of the spring 37. Said bar engages consequently the righthand catch 41 while the guiding part i5 engages the guiding rail 14. The vehicle is thus guided over the right-hand guiding rail and is constrained to turn towards the right-hand side along its track 24. It is apparent that the fact of remaining on the same original track or in contradistinction of engaging the other track is not defined at the start by the guiding rail extending on one predetermined side since said side is not the same on both tracks; it is therefore necessary to provide a catch and a spring on each side of the vehicle.

The modification illustrated in FIG. 5 allows a single catch 41 to be used with a single spring 37. The control member corresponding to the bar 17 may be subjected to a vertical movement; for instance, it is lowered when the vehicle is to be shunted off one main track onto another and raised when it is to remain on the same main track, as provided by a projection engaging an auxiliary guiding rail opening downwardly and located on the right-hand side for the right-hand main track 24 (FIG. 5) and on the left-hand side for the other left-hand main track 24. The feeler parts 20 and 20' are interconnected by a connecting rod 45 so that either of them can control the catch 41, and thus ensure the raising of the guiding parts under the pressure of the spring 37. The guiding parts lying no longer at the same level, each of them is associated with a longitudinal bar 46, 46 adapted to engage cooperating feeler parts 20, 20 carried by a vehicle engaging the same junction.

PEG. 6 illustrates a section of the network forming a closed circuit and including in addition to the main track 24 an auxiliary track 24 connected with the main track through the branchingjunctions 47 of the type described hereinabove and which allow the vehicle to be shunted towards the different stations 43. ll thereby provide for the simultaneous running over the network section independently of one another of the vehicles which are sent over thejunctions by preliminary control signals, in a manner similar to the control systems in automatic lifts, towards predetermined stations on the auxiliary track. Thus other vehicles may continue their simultaneous movement over the main track 24' forming a closed loop on which the vehicles pass substantially at the same speed; they start at predetermined time intervals according to traffic requirements, the duration of said time intervals being of course larger than a predetermined minimum so as to prevent as far as possible any impact between the successive vehicles. Each station 48 is located on the auxiliary track 24 between two branchingjunctions such as 47. Ahead of each branching junction, the main track is furthermore provided, as well known per se, with control stations 47' ensuring when required the shunting of a vehicle towards the next station as described hereinafter with reference to FIG. 7, through the junction following said control station.

Each vehicle is furthermore provided with an arrangement similar to that used for automatic lifts; when the vehicle reaches the control station 47' of which the reference number corresponds to the number recorded by a pusher knob on the vehicle leaving the preceding station, the arrangement is actuated upon passage in front of said control station as will be disclosed hereinafter by a signal which constrains the vehicle to be shunted towards the next desired station. When the vehicle has reached the auxiliary track section including last-mentioned station, it is automatically braked so as to stop in front of said station. The automatic braking can be obtained, in the case of a three-phase feed of the main network, by means of a permanent D.O. feed of said section of the auxiliary track. Consequently, once the passengers have alighted and other passengers have boarded the vehicle, said passengers act on a pusher knob corresponding to the station where they are to stop. The vehicle starts then and returns onto the main track through one of the junctions 47 and follows its prescribed path up to the station where the passengers are to alight. On the other hand and in order to prevent the vehicle reaching the junction from impinging against vehicles running over the main track, other control stations 49, lying substantially ahead of the branching station, transmit. signals to the vehicles which are about to start from a station; thus the vehicles are allowed to start only when a sufficient time interval has elapsed between the passage of two successive vehicles moving over the same main track 24' so that the starting vehicles may engage said main track without any risk of colliding with other vehicles progressing over the same track.

Lastly, the branching junctions 47 such as those described hereinabove prevent with a perfect reliability any collision between vehicles running on the main track 24 and the vehicles running on the auxiliary track 24 even if a control station 49 or the propelling means fail operating correctly.

The branching junctions allow the vehicle to follow any desired path over an even intricate network and thereby a suitable preliminary control may lead the vehicles from any point of the network to another. Of course, it is necessary at each branching junction for the vehicle to be suitably shunted so as to follow the network sections leading it to the desired point. This result is obtained by a preliminary control system associated on each vehicle with a number of counters or totalizers of the type used on calculating machines and which cooperate with control stations distributed along the tracks and in particular at the entrance of branching junctions. Said control stations ensure, when required and each time a vehicle passes in front of them, a progression by at least one step of the counter of which the totalizer, when it reaches a predetermined value, actuates the control system carried by the vehicle'so as to direct the latter selectively towards one of the tracks issuing from the branching junction, the vehicle being thus brought stepwise towards the desired destination, a last control signal stopping the vehicle at said destination.

Depending of course on the complexity of the network, said control system may be more or less simple. The simpler systems may besimilar to those controlling automatic lifts and furthermore, even in simple cases, it is possible to provide a system satisfying more accurately the problems of railroad traffic and I shall now describe a control system applicable to a single circuit network, as described with reference to FIG. 6. In FIG. 7illustrating such a control system and showing in a highly diagrammatic'manner the apparatus which causes the transverse bar 17 to rock between two positions so as to bring the guiding parts from one guiding rail into the other, 50,51

.and 52. designate three cooperating counters ensuring a preliminary control of-the vehicle.

The counter 50 carries an indicating number corresponding to the reference number of the station whichis to bereachcd while the second counter 51 .isadjusted so. as to register at the start-with the reference ,number corresponding to the starting station. When the vehicle moves along a closed loop, the successive stationary control stations 49 facing different locations and positioned chiefly ahead of each junction leading to a control station such as 47' actuate said second counter 51 so that it shows when passing in registry with any control station the I may be obtained by the contacting of a brushSS with a livcrail section 56'suitablylocated alongside the desired track. The I number .of successive indicating numbers carried by the second counter shouldbe equal to the number of stations and control stations alongside the loop forming the network while the number of passenger stations maybe less than the number of control stations; The third counter 52 shows automatically and'permanently the difference between the numbers given out by the first counter and the second counter as provided by conventional means of the type incorporated with calculating machines, but, instead of this difference being obtained accurately as in the case of calculating machines, said difference should be advantageously reduced by for instance one-half unit and to this end, if the counter wheels are decimaland include 20 teeth, that is two teeth for each unit, the unit wheel of the third counter is shifted by one tooth rearwardly so thatthe difference given out by it may be reduced by one-half a unit or the second or medial counter may have its unit wheel lead by one tooth corresponding to onehalf unit.

If it is preferred for the counter to show the accurate difference, the digits recorded on the unit wheel of the counter considered should be shifted back by one-half interval.

When the vehicle moves along the loop, the corrected difference is gradually reduced to zero, after which the totalizer stops at a point between an indication of zero and, in the case of lO- digit wheels, 999. When the treble counter passes in registry with the control station preceding immediately the passenger station to be reached, the last passage from to a maximum such as 999 serves for actuating through the agency of a mechanism known per se a transfer system controlled by the tuates a cam 58 forming paitof a spring-urged switch 59 which acts both on the small electromagnet 39 raising the catch d2 (MG. 4) and on the main electromagnet l9 producing a rocking towards the right-hand side, for instance, of the transverse bar 317. Said rocking brings the guiding part into engagement with the guiding rail leading towards the auxiliary track along which the passenger station to be reached is located, while arrangements which are not illustrated produce a braking of the vehicle to make it stop in front of said station. Said braking may be clamped by a modification in the feed voltage, dependent on the number of vehicles which have already been stopped on the auxiliary track; this is obtained by a control system actuated for instance by a differential axle or vehicle counter which is controlled in its turn by a remote station through detecting means similar to those used along trafficroads.

Means, controlled for instance by the opening of doors, return the first counter to zero. The passengers boarding the vehicle at said moment set the first counter by means of a wellknown arrangement onto a number corresponding to the sta tion where they are to stop and the procedure begins over again.

The preliminary control system which has just been described allows a satisfactory and automatic working of a network such as that illustrated in FIG. 6 Le. a single loop network. In the case of a more complex network it is necessary of course to provide more complex preliminary control systems.

FIG. 8 is a diagram of a network covering an urban and suburban area which is comparatively large and includes passenger stations distributed with a sufficient density. A preliminary control system may then bring automatically a passenger from one passenger station to anotheron the same network without any intermediate stopping. As shown in FIG. 8, the network'includes a primary track forming a closed circuit 60 and connected by branching junctions'with a number of auxiliary circuits such as 61 and 62 arranged outwardly as illustrated or else inwardly of the circuit 60. The different auxiliary networks are each provided with a number of passenger stations 61,, 61,, 62,, 62 The actual shape of the circuits depends obviously in each case to be considered on the shape,

highest order wheel; said transfer system shunts then the vehisize and nature of the cities to be served so thata suitable number of circuitsand passengers stations may be provided. The vehicles move simultaneously in a single direction over the different circuits, for instance clockwise over the auxiliary circuits and anticlockwise over the primary or main circuit, each station being provided of course with a siding starting from said station as illustrated in F IG. 6.

Assuming for instance it is desired to progress from the station M to the stationbli the vehicle starting from the first station reaches the circuit 61 and moves over it until it reaches the branching junction 70 so as to engage the circuit 60. A preliminary control signal causes the vehicle to enter said circuit 60 up to the branching section 70 which leads it onto the circuit 63. The preliminary control signal urges then the vehicle over said circuit 63 until it reaches the passenger station 63,; At this moment, a third preliminary control signal leads the vehicle towards said station where it stops. When passengers have alighted and other passengers, if any, have boarded it, the vehicle starts so as to reach the next station it is to serve.

The three preliminary control signals essential for the movement which leads the vehicle from 61,, to 63 may be produced by the means illustrated in FIG. 9. Instead of three cooperating counters as in the preceding .case, I may resort to two groups of three counters such as the right-hand group 71 corresponding to the preliminary signal controlling the movement on the primary circuit 60 while the left-hand group 72 corresponds to the preliminary signal controlling the operation on the auxiliary circuits 61, 62. For all the auxiliary circuits, the indicating number for the branching junctions associated with the primary or main circuit is the same for all said junctions; in the present case it may be' selected as equal to zero.

. Of course, the number of indications corresponding to the number of units contained in the counters of the left-hand group, including zero as a first indication, should be equal to or larger than the number of passenger stations on the auxiliary circuit provided with the highest number of such stations. In the auxiliary circuits including less stations, the control stations actuating the counters are provided so as to make the position of the vehicle on said circuit match the indication carried by its counter.

The primary or main circuit 60 is also provided with control stations which may be located otherwise than in the preceding case; a second brush 55 carried by each of the vehicles is then shifted by a corresponding amount and, upon passage of the vehicle in registry with it, the contact of the brush with said control station produces a pulse which causes the unitwheel to progress by one step in the medial counter of the right-hand group instead of the left-hand group.

It is also possible to resort to a single type of control stations, all located laterally of the track in a similar manner, while each medial counter of the left-hand group 72 is as sociated with a distributor 73 controlled by the last wheel 74 of said counter when it reaches a position between and 9; this causes the stepwise progression to be shifted off the lefthand medial counter onto the right-hand medial counter. The total number of control stations is equal to the capacity of the counters of the left-hand group 71.

In the particular case considered, the passengers entering the vehicle at the station 61 produce, for instance on a dial of the telephone type, the indication relating to the desired destination 63 The part 63 of said indication referring to the station on the auxiliary circuit is recorded on the upper lefthand counter 72 while the index 3 which is the reference number of the auxiliary circuit is recorded on the upper righthand counter 71,. At the same time, the medial counters 72 and 71 show the indication referring to the station 61 The vehicle starts then and the lower counters show the difference between the indications given by the upper and medial counters. The right-hand counters corresponding to the movement over the circuit 60 remain unchanged as long as the vehicle remains on the circuit 61. In contradistinction, the medial counter of the left-hand group 72 shows rising indications until it reaches a zero value immediately after the digit 9 has appeared on all the wheels when the vehicle has reached the branching junction 70 which ensures a connection with the circuit 60. The counter when it passes from 999 to 000 releases a signal which causes the vehicle to be shunted off the circuit 61 onto the circuit 60 over the branching junction 70 and to turn towards the left in the case illustrated. From this moment onwards, the vehicle moves over the circuit 60 and the left-hand counters 72 remain unvarying while the righthand group 71 is operative. The indications on the latter correspond to the auxiliary circuit serving the destination station and to the indication corresponding to the junction 70,. The third counter 71 shows therefore the difference, except for a fraction of a unit, between said two indications. Said difference decreases as the vehicle progresses until it reaches a zero value when the vehicle reaches the branching junction 70:, between the circuits 60 and 63. The vehicle passes then over the circuit 63 and turns to the right in the example illustrated and now the left-hand group of counters 72 starts operating. From this moment onwards, the counter '72 at the lower end of the left-hand group shows the difference between the indications corresponding to the station 63, and an indication near zero carried by the medial counter. Said passage through zero produces through a controlling mechanism the shunting of the vehicle towards the left-hand side, in the case illustrated over the auxiliary track 63 towards the station 63 which leads to a braking of the vehicle ahead of the latter.

It is thus apparent that such an arrangement produces an automatic progression of the vehicle from one station to another station of the network.

In the case of FIG. 8 for instance and by reason of the side towards which the vehicle is to turn for each of the three preliminary control signals and the opposite selection at each of the other branching sections, the electromagnet controlling the left-hand turn G should be fed by the medial counter on the left-hand side 72 which rises during the transfer operation and which is inserted in parallel with a series of two switches $9, 7% which are then raised while the electromagnets (D) 19, 39 controlling the right-hand turn should be fed by the three same switches which are lowered when no transfer is being made, the switch 73 of the medial left-hand counter 72 being inserted in series with the two parallel switches 59 and 79 for the lower counters.

These two circuits should be superposed over the arrangements 53 and 78 providing a stepwise progression of the two medial counters 72 71 It will be readily ascertained that with the network described and illustrated, each vehicle passing off one of the secondary loop circuits onto another secondary loop circuit has to pass through two switching junctions connecting the secondary loops considered with the main loop. Of course, vehicles running respectively over the main loop and over one of the secondary loops may reach at the same moment such a branching junction so that the vehicle following the first-mentioned vehicle on the main track is constrained to remain on the latter while the vehicle following the auxiliary track is constrained to remain on it whereas in fact the vehicle following the main track should according to thc preliminary control signal enter the secondary track while the vehicle following the secondary track should similarly enter the main track. Obviously, it is possible to remove this drawback in the manner disclosed by causing the two vehicles to follow short auxiliary circuits returning them to the branching junction with a difference in time sufficient for them to follow, starting from such a moment, the track allotted to them. However, it is possible to simplify and shorten the path to be followed by each vehicle in such a case. This can be obtained by further circuits connecting on the one hand the main track with the secondary track and conversely. This is illustrated in FIG. 10. In said FIG. 10, 80 designates the main track, 81 the secondary track connected with the main track by a branching junction 82. In the case of vehicles running over both tracks and reaching simultaneously said branching junction so that said vehicles are constrained to continue following, in opposition with the preliminary controlling signal, the track they were running on precedingly, it is therefore necessary to shunt the vehicle on the main track 80 towards the auxiliary track 81 through the agency of a supplementary circuit 83 and of the branchingjunctions 84 and 85 and the vehicle on the auxiliary track through the supplementary circuit 86 and the branching junctions 87 and 88 onto the main track 80, the different movements being executed in the direction of the arrows. Of course, the supplementary circuits referred to should include overhead crossings in order to make one circuit pass over the other at the prescribed locations. Furthermore extensions such as the supplementary closed circuits 83' and 86', as readily apparent from inspection of the drawing, may be used.

In this case, the left-hand vehicle following the main track, instead of passing directly through the branching junction 82 onto the secondary track 81 continues running over the main track up to the branching junction 84 so as to engage the supplementary circuit 83 which returns it to the branching junction 85 where it returns onto the desired auxiliary track. Similarly, the vehicle running on the auxiliary track is constrained to follow it beyond the branching junction 82 and is shunted by the next branching junction 87 onto the supplementary circuit le ading it through the branching junction 88 onto the main track, suitable control means being provided for this purpose on each vehicle. It is apparent that this causes the vehicle to follow an only slightly longer path. In case however the vehicles meet at the branching junctions 85 and 88 other vehicles they may continue over the closed circuits 83', 83 and 86, 86, which latter are constituted by supplementary circuits and their extensions, so as to finally return onto the desired track. Since the density of traffic on the main and secondary tracks is generally not very high, this can occur only seldom when a same vehicle meets in succession two other vehicles.

All the preceding arrangements are applicable to single-rail transportation networks which may include a single runway on which a cab is suspended underneath a raceway through a support extending to one side of the rail or else to the case of a single rail provided with two symmetrical tracks for a fourwheeled vehicle including say cab-sustaining rods extending between the two tracks which are located substantially in a common plane.

Taking as an example the last-mentioned type of single rail tracks, the wheels run along lines similar to those illustrated in FIG. 3. Each main track 24 or 24' forms with the two shunt tracks 27 and 28 crossing each other a curvilinear triangle having its center at 95 or 96.

The suspension rods require passageways or slots passing through the wheel-carrying plane which is that illustrated in FIG. 3, said slots forming in said plane two curvilinear trian gles as illustrated in FIG. 11. Since said triangles carry fractions of the tracks it is necessary to support them from above or from below at their center 95 or 96.

Obviously, many modifications may be brought to the arrangements disclosed without widening the scope of the present invention and in particular the brush-controlled systems may be replaced by photocell systems or the like.

Again, the arrangements described more particularly with reference to FIGS, 2, 4, and 7 and the operation of which is ensured by mechanical contact pieces have been disclosed merely by way of examples. Such contact-pieces may be replaced by or associated with electric contact-pieces or beams of radiations such as infrared radiations impinging on photocells controlling electromagnets or electric motors actingfmally on the different parts in the manner disclosed in the present specification.

What I claim is:

t. A conveying system comprising a track network including a plurality of track sections, branchingjunctions connecting at least one track section with at least one other track section and a plurality of small-sized light vehicles adapted to run over a succession of track sections along a predetermined path, a left-hand and a right-hand guiding rail extending along each track section, two guiding parts carried by each vehicle, a mechanism on each vehicle adapted to engage fully and selectively one of the guiding parts of the vehicle in the guiding rail accompanying one side of the track on which the vehicle is running, a feeler carried longitudinally by each lateral surface of each vehicle and adapted, upon engagement with a feeler carried by another vehicle entering a junction simultaneously with the vehicle carrying the feeler considered, to actuate said mechanism and ensure engagement of one guiding part of the vehicle with the cooperating rail lying on the off side with reference to said other vehicle.

2. A conveying system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the vehicles include buffers operating over a long stroke and adapted to impinge against any other vehicle following the same path to damp any shock between said vehicles.

3. A conveying system as claimed in claim It wherein each vehicle includes a controlling part, the system including furthermore stationary controlling pans distributed at predetermined points of different fractions of the network, an electric circuit feeding energy to the vehicles on each fraction and adapted to be deenergized by the cooperation between any vehicle controlling part and stationary controlling part to thereby brake and stop the vehicles on said network fraction.

4. A conveying system as claimed in claim ll wherein each vehicle, driven by an asynchronous motor, includes a controlling part, the system including furthermore stationary controlling parts distributed at predetermined points of different fractions of the network, a three-phase circuit feeding the motors on the vehicles running over the network and adapted upon cooperation between the controlling part on any vehicle and a stationary controlling part to feed a single-phase current into the motors to brake them and stop all the vehicles on the network fraction considered.

5. A conveying system as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of a number of branching junctions connects two inlet track sections, the ends of which leading to the junction are near each other, with two outlet track sections, the ends of which adjaccnt the junction are near each other, each inlet section being substantially aligned with the corresponding outlet section, at least one auxiliary track connecting one inlet section with the outlet section other than that aligned with said inlet section, the engagement between the cooperating feelers on the vehicles running simultaneously on the two inlet sections acting on the vehicle mechanisms to constrain the guiding parts on both vehicles to engage the off side guiding rails thereby to lead the vehicles each over aligned inlet and outlet track sections.

6. A conveying system as claimed in claim it wherein each of a number of branching junctions connects two inlet track sections, the ends of which leading to the junction are near each other, with the outlet track sections, the ends of which adjacent the junction are near each other, each inlet section being substantially aligned with the corresponding outlet section, at lemt one auxiliary track connecting one inlet section with the outlet section other than that aligned with said inlet section, engagement between the cooperating feelers on the vehicles running simultaneously on the two inlet sections acting on the vehicle mechanisms to constrain the guiding parts on both vehicles to engage the offside guiding rails thereby to lead the vehicles each over aligned inlet and outlet track sections, a counter system carried by each vehicle, means controlled by the latter and controlling the vehicle mechanism to constrain the vehicle to follow stepwise a prescribed path along the track sections of the network in accordance with a predetermined program, stationary means distributed throughout the network and controlling the counter systems of the vehicles passing in registry with them to count down said counter systems until the latter become operative in conformity with said predetermined program, the feelers on the vehicles cutting out the operative means connecting the counter systems and the vehicle mechanism upon simultaneous engagement of two vehicles at the inlet of a junction.

7. A conveying system as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of a number of branchingjunctions connects two inlet track sections, the ends of which leading to the junction are near each other, with the outlet track sections, the ends of which adjaccnt the junction are near each other, each inlet section being substantially aligned with the corresponding outlet section, at least one auxiliary track connecting one inlet section with the outlet section other than that aligned with said inlet section, the engagement between the cooperating feelers on the vehicles running simultaneously on the two inlet sections acting on the vehicle mechanism to constrain the guiding parts on both vehicles to engage the off side guiding rails thereby to lead the vehicles each over aligned inlet and outlet track sections, an auxiliary track circuit connecting beyond each of a number of junctions the two outlet sections of said junction, auxiliary junctions between the outlet sections of each of said junctions and the corresponding auxiliary track circuit, stationary control stations distributed along the track sections of the network and means whereby each stationary control station is adapted to control the mechanisms of the vehicles passing in registry with said station to make said vehicle move over the different junctions, auxiliary tracks and when required track circuits to return the vehicle onto the outlet section other than that aligned with the inlet section over which it has reached the junction including said inlet section and from which it has been led by engagement of its feeler with the feeler of another vehicle onto said aligned outlet section.

8. A conveying system as claimed in claim It comprising furthermore electric motors driving the vehicles and means distributed along the track sections and adapted to control selectively on the vehicles passing in front of them the operation of the motors and mechanisms thereof to make the vehi clcs move along a prescribed path and stop at predetermined points.

lOlOSl 0220 9. A conveying system as claimed in claim I wherein each of a number of branching junctions connects two inlet track sections, the ends of which leading to the junction are near each other, with two outlet track sections, the ends of which adjacent the junction are near each other, each inlet section being substantially aligned with the corresponding outlet section, at least one auxiliary track connecting one inlet section with the outlet section other than that aligned with said inlet section, the engagement between the cooperating feelers on the vehicles running simultaneously on the two inlet sections 7 acting on the vehicle mechanism to constrain the guiding parts on both vehicles to engage the offside guiding rails thereby to lead the vehicles each over aligned inlet and outlet track sections, stationary control stations distributed along the track sections of the network and means whereby each stationary control station is adapted to control the mechanisms of the vehicles passing in registry with said station to make said vehicle move over the different junctions, and auxiliary tracks according to a predetermined program.

W. A conveying system as claimed in claim 5, said feelers engaging also with other portions of vehicles other than the vehicles by which said feelers are carried.

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US3680488 *Sep 16, 1970Aug 1, 1972Transportation TechnologyTransportation system having inertial switch system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification104/130.7
International ClassificationE01B25/00, E01B25/28, B61B1/00, B61B1/02, G05D1/02, B61B13/00, G08G1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB61B1/02
European ClassificationB61B1/02