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Publication numberUS3606839 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 21, 1971
Filing dateJul 23, 1968
Priority dateJul 23, 1968
Also published asCA931427A1, DE1935769A1
Publication numberUS 3606839 A, US 3606839A, US-A-3606839, US3606839 A, US3606839A
InventorsJacobs Justin M Jr, Stafford Neil S
Original AssigneeJacobs Justin M Jun, Stafford Neil S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Transportation system
US 3606839 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 21, 1971 I N, 5 STAFFORD ETAL 3,606,839

I TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM Filed July 23, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORY NEIL S. STAFFORD JUSTIN M. JACOBS, JR.

FIG -.3 Hum.

ATTO RN EY Sept. 21, 1971 s T 'F ETAL 3,606,839

TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM Filed July 23, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENT NEIL s. sm no JUSTIN M. JACOBS, JR.

ATTORNEY Sept. 21 1971 s, STA FFORD ETAL 3,606,839

TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM 7 Filed July 23, 1968 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 g 5 9, o S r o 1- :1 L "*i g d 8 8 l l 9 (9 If): u. LL

IO Iii ,3 g 0 g; INVENTORJ NEIL S. STAFFORD BY JUSTIN M. JACOB$,JR.

ATTORNEY United States Patent US. Cl. 104119 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The disclosure is of a transportation system which includes an elongated rail support which carries three parallel spaced-apart rails which serve as running surfaces. Two of the rails have running surfaces to accommodate guide wheels and the third rail has a running surface to accommodate guide wheels and the third rail has a running surface to accommodate a main drive wheel of a powered rack member having wheels which move along the rails and which can carry various payloads. A switch section is provided for selectively directing rack members over a main route or for moving them onto an alternative route.

This invention relates to a transportation system which includes an elongated rail support means having three parallel rails connected thereon for carrying a powered rack member, which rack member has wheels which move on the running surfaces of the rails and which can carry various payloads and, more specifically, this invention relates to an elongated rail support means having parallel spaced apart rails including an upper guide rail, a lower guide rail and a power rail between the said guide rails. The rails have running surfaces to accommodate wheels of a mobile rack member. The running surfaces of the upper and lower guide rails are substantially vertical and are disposed 180 apart. The powered rail is substantially horizontal and is positioned between the guide rails.

As the congestion of cities increases, it becomesmore and more difficult to transport people and goods between outlying locations and the central city. New and unique systems of transportation must be found. As a corollary to the congestion of the cities, right of way space is also more difficult to obtain. Thus, there is need for a new transportation system that is able to accommodate a maximum of traffic, utilizing a minimum of right of way space. There is also need for a transportation system that is versatile and is capable of carrying a multitude of payloads. In addition to this, there is need for a transportation system which features small units which are independently powered and which may be moved as individual units or which may be connected together and moved as a series of units.

Many attempts have been made to develop a system which will fill the needs set out above. For example, many monorail systems have been discussed and developed. Additionally, many attempts have been made to modify existing systems to provide a versatile transportation system. However, there is still need for a transportation system which will provide high speed travel along a central right of way requiring a minimum of space and which will give versatility in load-carrying and in the make-up of the units traveling on the right of way.

In the broad aspect, the present invention is directed to a transportation system including an elongated rail support means on which three parallel rails are connected. The rails include an upper guide rail, a lower guide rail and a drive rail. A rack member having wheels is provided for moving on said rails. The rack member has load carry means on one side and the wheels on the other. The wheels of the rack member include an upper guide wheel for 3,606,839 Patented Sept. 21, 1971 running on the upper guide rail, a lower guide wheel for running on the lower guide rail and a drive wheel for running on the drive rail. The drive wheel is powered and moves the rack member along the rails.

In a more specific aspect the invention comprises an elongated rail support means having three parallel rails. The rails include an upper guide rail and a lower guide rail. The upper and lower guide rails have vertical running surfaces. These running surfaces are arranged on opposite sides of a vertical plane passing between the rails. The running surface of the upper guide rail is disposed away from a rack member which is adapted to run on the rails while the running surface of the lower guide rail is disposed toward the rack. A power rail is provided with a horizontal upward facing running surface. The power rail is positioned between the upper and lower guide rails. A rack member having wheels for cooperation with said said rails is provided with means for carrying loads. The wheels of the rack member include an upper guide wheel having a vertical axis of rotation and arranged to rotate on the running surface of the upper guide rail, a lower guide wheel having a vertical axis of rotation and arranged to run on the running surface of the lower guide rail and a main drive wheel having a horizontal axis of rotation and arranged to run on the running surface of the drive rail. Power means are provided on the rack for driving the main drive wheel.

In still another aspect the present invention comprises switch means for a transportation system including a first section of an elongated rail support means and a second section of an elongated rail support means horizontally spaced apart from said first section. At least three parallel rails are connected on each of said rail support means. A third elongated rail support means is spaced apart from said first and second sections and said third support means also has three parallel rails. A switch section support means is movably mounted between said first section and said second section and is extendible between said first section and said third support means. The switch section has rails coacting with the spaced apart rails of said first and said second sections and also with rails of said first section and the spaced apart rails of said third support means. Means are provided for selectively moving said switch section to selectively align said switch rails between the rails of said first and said second sections and between the rails of said first section and said third support means.

It is a particular object of the present invention to provide a transportation system for carrying people and freight over a minimum right of way and which includes an elongated rail supporting guideway means having three spaced apart parallel rails for carrying a variety of payloads on a self-powered rack at high speeds. Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description read in light of the accompanying drawings which are made a part of this specification and in which FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the preferred form of apparatus assembled in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an end elevation of the preferred form of apparatus assembled in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an end View partially in section of the preferred form of apparatus of the invention and shows details of the elongated rail support means and the rails and rack member connected thereto;

FIG. 4 is an elevation view and illustrates the details of a rack member;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation of the rack member;

FIG. 6 is a top view of the rack member;

FIG. 7 is a side elevation of a switch means assembled in accordance with the present invention in through position; and

FIG. 8 is a side elevation of the switch means assembled in accordance with the present invention in switch position.

Refer now to the drawings and FIGS. 1 and 2 in particular where the preferred embodiment of apparatus assembled in accordance with present invention is shown. FIG. 1 is a side elevation and FIG. 2 is an end elevation partially in section of a rack member which is generally indicated by the number 20. The rack member 20 is attached to and in running position on an elongated rail support means which is generally indicated by the number 30. The elongated rail suppolt means 30 extends between stations in a transportation system and serves to carry the rails on which the rack member 20 moves. The rack member 20 includes a frame member 22 having a series of spaced apart wheels 32, 36, and 38 rotatably attached thereto. The wheels 32, 36 and 38 are arranged in vertical sets each comprising three wheels and are positioned on the frame 22 at suitable intervals depending on the load and length of the frame 22. The wheels of a set are made up of an upper guide wheel 32, a lower guide wheel 36 and a main drive wheel 38.

The elongated rail support 30 is held in a desired position, such as for example, by a series of columns, such as column 44, spaced apart on the right of way. It is obvious that the support means may carry rails on both sides, thus, doubling the capacity of a given right of way. The rail support means 30 carries at least three parallel spaced apart rails. These rails include an upper guide rail 34, a lower guide rail 40 and a main drive rail 42. The guide rails 34 and 40 have vertical running surfaces to accommodate the horizontal guide wheels 32 and 36 of the rack member 20. The running surface of the upper guide rail 34 faces away from the rack 20" while the running surface of the lower guide rail 40' faces the rack. The guide wheels 32 and 36 run on vertically disposed running surfaces of the respective guide rails. A horizontal main drive rail 42 on the rail support means provides a running surface for drive wheel 38. The main drive rail 42 is above and adjacent to the lower guide rail 40. Power is supplied to the drive wheel 38 by a suitable power source and power train represented schematically by the numeral 46. Thus, power may be supplied by electric, internal combustion or other suitable means. A suitable drive train transmits this power to the drive wheel 38 to cause the drive wheel to rotate and to thus move the rack member along the elongated rail support means. As indicated schematically in FIG. 1, it is preferred that each set of wheels which includes a drive wheel 38 is provided with a power source. Thus, the rear wheels of rack member 20 are provided with a power source as indicated by 48. Control means 50 control the power source 46 and 48 and the movement of rack member 20 along support means 30. The control means 50 is preferably electrically activated and may be tied in to a computer network so that a computer may control a number of rack members moving along common elongated support means, such as support means 30.

FIG. 3 is an end view, partially in section, and shows in more detail the elongated support means 30 and the rack member 20 carried thereon. The rack member 20 includes a frame 22 having suitable arms for rotatably mounting wheels 32, 36 and 38. The rack member 20 may carry freight or passengers. In addition, the rack member 20 may serve as a carrier for cars or buses. Further, vehicles such as buses may be provided with suitably arranged wheels, such as wheels 32, 36 and 38, for running on the running surfaces of the rails of the support means. Thus, for example, a bus is equipped with convention wheels and a drive train for on street driving and with suitable guide and drive wheels 32, 36 and 38.

for travel on the elongated support means with the conventional power source being used through appropriate linkage to drive the drive wheel.

The wheels of the rack member 20 include an upper guide wheel 32, a lower guide wheel 36 and a drive wheel 38. The upper guide wheel 32 and the lower guide wheel 36 rotate in horizontal planes about vertical axis. The main drive wheel 38 rotates in a vertical plane around a horizontal axis. The guide wheels 32 and 36 are arranged to roll on vertical running surfaces disposed apart. Thus, the guide wheels rotate in opposite directions. The upper guide wheel 32 is arranged to roll on a running surface which faces away from the rack member 20. The lower guide wheel is positioned to roll on a running surface which faces the rack member. The drive wheel 38 rotates about a horizontal axis and rolls on a horizontal surface.

An elongated support guidebeam means 30 is used to carry parallel' rails 34, 40 and 42 which serve as running surfaces for the wheels 32, 40 and 42 of the rack member 20. The support means 30 is formed of a suitable material such as cement. It is obvious that the support means 30 can be formed of other suitable material. The support means 30 carries an upper guide rail 34. The rail 34 is connected to the support means by suitable means such as support member 60 which is attached by bolts to the support means 30-. The upper guide rail 34 is arranged with a vertical running surface which faces away from the rack member 20. Thus, an overhanging arm 62 is used to position the upper guide wheel 32 in operating position on the upper guide rail 34. The elongated support means 30 is provided with a suitable channel for the upper guide rail 34- and the upper guide wheel 32.

The lower portion of the support means 30 is provided with a lower guide rail '40 and a drive rail 42. The lower guide rail 40 is positioned so as to have a vertical running surface facing the rack member 20. Thus, the upper and lower guide Wheels 32 and 36 roll on vertical running surfaces which are disposed 180 apart. The lower guide rail 40 is fixed to the support means 30 by suitable means such as angle support member 66 which is attached to the support means 30 by suitable bolts. In the preferred embodiment angle support member 66 also carries the drive rail 42. The drive rail 42 is located in a channel in support means 30. The drive rail 42 has a horizontal running surface and is located between the upper and the lower guide rails 32 and 36. The drive wheel thus rotates about a horizontal axis and rolls on rail 42 to move rack member 20 along the support means 30.

The lower channel in the elongated support means 30 also serves to house electrical power rail means 69 and 70. These rails are attached to the support means 30 by brackets 72 and extend in parallel relationship with the other rails 34, 40 and 42. The lower channel may also be provided with a water stop groove 74 and water drain holes such as hole 76.

While it is noted that the drive wheels and guide wheels and the drive rail and guide rails have been referred to as being horizontal or vertical, it is also clear that it may be desirable to bank the elongated support means through turns so as to better accommodate the rack member at high speeds. Such banking would move the respective rails slightly out of a horizontal or vertical position. It is clear, however, that this arrangement would result in the rails being substantially horizontal or vertical. The degree.

of banking, the radius of curvature of the support means and other design factors will, of course, vary somewhat depending on the terrain, desired speed, etc. It is noted that handling these factors is well within the skill of the art. FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 show a rack member assembled in accordance with the invention in greater detail. FIG. 4 is a side elevation view, FIG. 5 is an end eelvation view and FIG. 6 is a top view. The rack member 20 has upper guide wheels 32 and lower guide wheels 36. Drive wheels 38 are used to move the rack member 30 along the rails. The rack member 30 includes a frame 22 which has arm members 62 which extend over the upper guide rail to position guide wheel 32 on the back side of the rail. Power pickup means 13 and 15 are arranged to pick up power from the power rails on the support means to provide power for driving the drive wheels 38. The main drive wheel 38 is driven through power arm 39 by means of appropriate mechanical or electrical drive means such as power means 73. Suitable drive linkage connects the power source with the drive wheel 38. The power wheel is preferably arranged for rotation on a horizontal surface immediately above the adjacent lower guide wheel 32. The drive wheel is controlled by electrical control means 71 carried on the frame 22 which controls the power means 73. The power means 73 may include, for example, an electric motor, a reducer, a clutch and a brake. The arrangement of these elements is well known in the art and will not be described in detail herein. The control means 71 has means for controlling the power means and includes suitable electrical controls, switch gear controllers, relays and circuits. An output shaft extends from the power means to provide thrust for the drive wheel.

Arranged on the load-carrying side of the rack member 20 are a series of load hook means, generally indicated by the number 81. These load hook means are used to releasably carry loads. Suitable bumpers 98 are used to protect the lower part of the frame 22. The load hook means 81 includes a load book 82 which is pivotably mounted on shaft 83. The load hook is controlled and pivoted by suitable linkage 84 and 85. This linkage is controlled by means of a control means 71 and by contact rollers 99. Thus, when a load is moved against the rack member 20 the load hook means are activated to secure the load to the rack by engaging suitable rings on the load. The load may be released by actuating the load hook 82 through the control means 71. A switch operating arm 86 pivotally mounted on shaft 87 is also provided for use in actuating hook 82 by means of switch 88.

Switch means for diverting a rack member to an alternate route are illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. FIG. 7 is a side elevation of switch means assembled in accordance with the present invention wherein the switch means is arranged to permit straight-through travel. FIG. 8 is a side elevation of the switch means of the present invention in switch position to permit switching to an alternate route.

In accordance with the invention a switch means is provided for switching rack members from a through route 3030 to an alternative route 30-130. A switch section 131 is movably mounted respectively between a first section of an elongated rail support means 30 and a second section of elongated rail support means 30 and said first section of elongated rail support means 30 and a third elongated rail support means 130. Each of the support means has parallel spaced apart rails for supporting a rack member in accoradnce with the invention. The switch section 131 has parallel spaced apart rails mateable selectively between the rails of the first and second sections and the rails of the first and third sections. Means are provided for moving said switch section between said first and second sections and said first and third sections to accomplish switching of the racks.

Thus, a first section and a second section of a rail support means 30 are shown respectively to the left and the right of a switch section 131. A third rail support means vertically spaced above the first and second rail support means is indicated by the number 130. A switch section is generally indicated by the number 131. The elongated rail support means 30 carries an upper guide rail 34, a lower guide rail and a drive rail 42. The upper rail support means 130 also carries an upper guide rail 134, a lower guide rail 140 and a drive rail 142. The switch section of the rail support means 131 has an upper switch rail 234 and a lower switch rail 240 as well as a lower drive rail 242. The switch section 131 also has an upper through rail 334. The switch member 130 is pivotably mounted by means of pivot bearing 90.

A portion 92 of the lower guide rail 40 and lower drive rail 42 near the rear end 97 of switch member 131 is pivotably connected at pivot 91. This portion 92 of the rails 40 and 42 is normally held in extended operating position by spring member 93. A stop shoulder 94 coacts with rail 40 to hold the pivoted rail section 92 in operating position. Thus, when a rack member proceeds along the through rails it crosses the switch section in a horizontal manner.

As shown in FIG. 8, a hydraulic switch actuating arm 95 is arranged to pivot the switch section 131 on pivot bearing 90. This causes the rear 97 portion of the switch member 131 to depress the pivoted section 92 of the lower through-rail 40 and 42 and aligns the lower guide rail 240 and lower drive rail 242 with main line guide rail 40 and main line drive rail 42 to the left of the switch section 131. The upper guide rail 234 fo the switch section 131 is now aligned between upper guide rail 34 of the rail support means 30 and the upper rail support means 130. The right ends of the lower guide rail 240 and the drive rail of the switch section 131 are aligned with the lower guide rail and drive rail 142 of the upper rail support means 130. The through upper guide rail 334 of the switch section has been rotated out of alignment between the rail support means 30-30. Thus, a rack member coming along the rails of the rail support means 30 is transferred by the switch-off section to the upper support means 130. It is evident that the switch actuating means 95 may be retracted to pivot the switch member 131 back to a through position.

Although only specific embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail, the invention is not to be limited to only these embodiments but rather is meant to include all those embodiments which come within the scope of the appended claims.

We claim:

1. A transportation system comprising elongated rail support means, at least three parallel rails on said elongated rail support means, said rails comprising an upper guide rail, a lower guide rail and a main drive rail between said upper guide rail and said lower guide rail, a rack member for releasably carrying a load on the side wheel means arranged to coact with said three parallel rails to carry said rack member along said rails, said wheel means comprising an upper guide wheel, a lower guide wheel and a drive wheel, a load hook means on said rack member for releasably carrying a load on the side of said rack member and power means for driving said rack member along said rails.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said upper guide rail and said lower guide rail have their respective running surfaces aligned apart and said drive wheel is located between said guide wheels.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said upper guide rail and said lower guide rail have vertical running surfaces aligned 180 apart and said rack member has an upper guide wheel having a vertical axis of rotation and a lower guide wheel having a vertical axis of rotation, said upper and said lower guide wheels being adapted to rotate in opposite directions on said upper and lower guide rails respectively.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said upper guide rail and said lower guide rail have vertical running surfaces horizontally spaced apart, said surfaces being on opposite sides of a vertical plane passing between said rails and that said rack has an upper guide wheel and a lower guide wheel cooperating with said upper guide rail and said lower guide rail respec tively for moving said rack member along said rails.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said upper and lower guide rails have vertical running surfaces aligned 180 apart and said main drive rail is provided with a horizontal running surface spaced adjacent said lower guide rail and said rack member has an upper guide wheel and a lower guide wheel arranged to rotate in opposite directions on said upper and lower guide rails respectively and a drive wheel arranged for rotation on said main drive rail.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized by power rail means arranged in parallel relationship with said three rails on said elongated rail support means and by power pickup means on said rack member contactable with said power rail means to provide power for the power means of said rack member for driving said rack member along said rails.

7. Apparatus for use in a transportation system comprising a rack member, wheel means on said rack member, said wheel means comprising an upper guide wheel, a lower guide wheel and a drive wheel, load hook means on said rack member for releasably carrying a load on the side of said rack member and power means for driving the drive wheel of said rack member.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 further characterized in that said upper guide wheel and said lower guide wheel have vertical axis of rotation and said drive wheel has a horizontal axis of rotation.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 further characterized in that said load hook means includes a lower hook member for engaging a ring member on a load and an upper locking arm for securing said ring member on said lower hook member.

10. The apparatus of claim 7 further characterized by bumpers formed on the lower part of the load carrying side of said rack member.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,122,105 2/1964 Scherer 105147 3,002,467 10/ 1961 Bingham 104-119 3,092,040 6/1963 Bingham 1041 19 3,402,675 9/1968 Witt 214S9 3,437,053 4/1969 Bush et a1. 104119 WILLIAM T. DIXSON, JR., Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. l05147

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3760740 *Dec 28, 1971Sep 25, 1973J JacobsHighly improved transportation system
US3890904 *Oct 1, 1973Jun 24, 1975Lawrence K EdwardsRailway system
US3981778 *Apr 8, 1975Sep 21, 1976Hartung, Kuhn & Co. Maschinenfabrik GmbhCoke oven hood apparatus
US4204477 *Aug 28, 1978May 27, 1980John H. HolsteinCarriage guidance system
US4229135 *Feb 21, 1978Oct 21, 1980Aktiebolaget ElectroluxStorage system including movable pallet racks
US4690064 *May 20, 1986Sep 1, 1987Owen William ESide-mounted monorail transportation system
US4926753 *Sep 9, 1988May 22, 1990Programmation, Inc.Flexible material transport system
US5108052 *May 17, 1991Apr 28, 1992Malewicki Douglas JPassenger transportation system for self-guided vehicles
US8066200Mar 12, 2008Nov 29, 2011Hilltrac, Inc.Hollow structural members, a rail system and methods of manufacturing
Classifications
U.S. Classification104/119, 105/147
International ClassificationB61B5/02, B61B5/00
Cooperative ClassificationB61B5/02
European ClassificationB61B5/02