London Edinburgh Roadrailers to Start in October?
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BY H. BRIAN COTTEE
ONDO'N (King's Cross) to Newcastle and Edinburgh is the route chosen for the .11-4 first commercial Roadrailer service, which—as exclusively reported in this journal on July 24—is to be run by a new company formed jointly by British Railways and the Transport Holding Company. It is now known that the company, soon to be incorporated, will be called British Roadrailer Services Ltd. (another " B.R.S.") and its fulltime managing director will be Mr. Trevor H. Thornton, who has been a British Waterways executive and joined the Waterways from British Road Services, where he had been an area manager.
The other members of the new board are Mr. H. R. Gomersall (chief officer, new works, British Railways) who is chairman; Mr. E. S. H. Eales (chief WI/ancial officer; Transport Holding Company); Mr. J. Hancock (assistant general manager, commercial, Eastern Region of British Railways); and Mr. W. E. Bates (traffic manager, British Road Services Ltd.). The sales manager is Mr. A. W. Knight, from British Waterways, and the new company's headquarters will be in Melbury House, lVIelbury Terrace, London, N.W.I (Tel.: Paddington 1281).
In an interview with The Commercial Motor this week, Mr. Thornton, the managing director, emphasized th at competitive rates and personal service to customers ("We are small enough to provide this ") would be used to attract the over-180-mile trunk business which it is best suited for. Rates will perhaps be helped by the fact that the company will be debited only with the commercial production cost of the 50-55 Roadrailers that it is acquiring from the railways, the development cost being written off. And Mr. Thornton is confident that he is getting a technically sound start—" All the bugs have been ironed out of this rolling stock ".
Technical troubles caused postponement of the commercial service due to start over a year ago; now the official starting date is January, 1965, but Mr. Thornton has hopes of getting it moving by October thii year. A 20-unit Roadrailer train will run overnight in each direction between King's Cross and Edinburgh (with only the single stop at Newcastle) on five days a week, and running speeds of 75 m.p.h. have been A20 Mr. T. H. Thornton scheduled, to assure early-next-morning delivery.
Collection and delivery will be restricted to a radius of about 25 miles from each railhead; the new company will not operate its own road tractive units (although the managing director says firmly: "So far as we are concerned, this venture is a road operation "). Railway, B.R.S. and C-licensees' tractive units will be able to undertake the C. and D. hauls, and if the negotiations with the unions over liner train depots bear fruit, then 1 presume that hauliers' vehicles also will be able to serve the railheads; in fact, use of Roadrailers by hauliers for trunk carriage by rail is the obvious equivalent to their use of liner trains—and the Roadrailer is getting into operation well ahead of the liners, whose initially equivalent route will bt London-Glasgow, probably in 1965-66.
Rates will be charged on a percontainer basis, rather than by tonnage, the existing Roadrailers having 101-11ton capacity; plans for a new batch of 15-tonners are under consideration. The new company is prepared to hire out RoaaraiIers to operators or traders who prefer to have them under closer control. In fact, they are so keen to get things rolling, and have such an " independent " commercial brief, that almost any reasonable user arrangement is likely to prove acceptable. And already there is talk of household removals andrefrigerated transport applications.
T.R.T.A. Dinner-dance THE sixteenth dinner-dance of the Traders Road Transport Association will be held at the Ballroom. Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, W.1, on October 26. The reception will be at 7 p.m., dinner at 7.30 and dancing from about 8.45 until midnight. This will he a social occasion only, with no toasts or speeches at the dinner, and application forms for tickets (f 3 each) can be had from the Secretary, T.R.T.A., 1-11 Hay Hill, London, W.I.