Loose Rein For Road-Rail Conference R EPERCUSSIONS from the railways' square-deal
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campaign are still causing controversy in some parts ol the country. For example, at the annual conference of the Union of University Liberal Societies, recently held in Edinburgh, a resolution was passed condemning this campaign as misleading and hypocritical. One delegate from the London School of Economics said that the railways had taken an unholy delight in showing how inefficiently they run their concerns.
Whilst associations and others arc, of course, free to express their views, we believe that during this critical period while road and rail representatives are, in a Central Conference with joint chairmen and secretaries and by their Regional Committees, endeavouring to thrash out the problem to the mutual satisfaction of both sides. there should be a cessation of propaganda by both parties. A toning down of expressions of opinion which might cause friction just when there is some amelioration of the situation would seem advisable. Representatives of both road and rail who are not members of the Conference or of its committees should be in the position of holding watching briefs.
Allow the Dele With Their Ha out Being U
The Importance of Mutual Conciliation.
The railways have already shown a spirit of conciliation in their general agreement to withdraw opposition to renewal applications for A and B licences for distances under 25 miles, and we understand that the total number of objections will be reduced by some 50 per cent. The importance of this reduction cannot be overestimated, as it is indicative of a new policy, for there was actually no promise to adopt this procedure until such time as the proposed legislation had been brought into force. In return, road transport has withdrawn its opposition to applications by the railway companies for the operation of local cartage and delivery services.
The Central Conference certainly has a difficult task before it. In general, it appears to be working on the principle that there shall be a cessation of competition in rates, which, in the past, has resulted in so much uneconomic operation ; thus any rivalry in the future will be confined to the matter of quality of service. If this be a true conception of the policy to be followed, then road transport should not have much to fear, for if there be one thing that it can give better than anyone else, that is service.
At the same time, there is little risk of the rates being so high as to act as a deterrent on trade, for so long as ancillary users be permitted freely to run their own vehicles if they so wish, it will be only service that will count. It is for this reason that any threat against the freedom of action of the C-licensed operator should be fought immediately and with the greatest vigour.
Trade and Industry Well Protected.
The machinery which it is intended shall be embodied in the forthcoming Bill (which the Minister of Transport has promised shall be brought in during the next Session of Parliament) is such as should allow the trader adequate scope for protest if-he consider any particular rate to be excessive.
At the same time, trade and industry must realize that competition which results in losses to both sides cannot, in the end, be satisfactory to them. Whatever means for transport is to be utilized, it should' be run on a sound economic basis, which will permit satisfactory wages to the employees, first-class maintenance of machines, and a reasonable return on the capital invested. Failing the fulfilment of these requirements, the results of any system of co-ordination cannot expect to achieve any full measure of success.
Fortunately, for the cause of road transport, the general public has arrived at almost a full realization of its vast importance, not only to the trade and industry of the country in time of peace, but in respect of the vital services which it will be able to render if at any time the Empire becomes engaged in a war of any considerable magnitude.
Road transport has entered so thoroughly into the life of the nation that it is essential in almost every service, and its organization for a possible emergency has indicated that, in addition to carrying out its normal functions, it will be called upon to provide an immense number of vehicles for troop transport evacuation purposes, ambulance work and the many classes of duty which would be necessitated by air raid precautions.
Not long ago, many people with an insufficient knowledge of their subject were complaining of the excess in the number of road vehicles. Now, it seems that the situation has arisen when there might be a dearth, and even essential services might have to be cut down to the minimum.
Tractors to the Fore at Notably • Successful Royal Show
PRECISION engineers are prone to regard agrimotors and their equipment as "blacksmith jobs." Doubtless this is because advanced metallurgy is not called in for the sake of achieving the last word in strength combined with lightness, and because tractor designers, as a general rule, prefer to use'one big bolt rather than two small ones. Blacksmiths, moreover, and in point of fact, are highly skilled craftsmen, so, in any case, the epithet is not derogatory.
At the Royal Show last week no man with mechanical tendencies could have failed to find in the implement section a high degree of interest. Having succeeded in tearing himself away from the fascination of the steam traction engine, and having resisted the lure of the ingenious mechanisms of the dextrous and multi-function farm apparatus, he could proceed to concentrate on the widely various range of land tractors.
Among these he will have found such a diversity of types as must be almost without parallel in any other sphere of similar dimensions. In addition, he will have observed indications of a big expansion in the employment of tractors by agriculturists and of a definite British challenge. It is, however, with the technical aspect that we are at the moment concerned.
Mounted on two, three or four wheels—steel or pneumatic tyred—or on crawler tracks—pinor rubber-jointed—there were petrol, paraffin and oil-driven tractors. Six, four, two and one cylinder machines were represented, and twostroke and four-stroke cycles employed. In size, the tractors ranged from small "garden" machines to those for far heavier tasks.
No mean problem, in consequence, is presented to the man faced with the selection of a land tractor, and he may be excused if he feel a little bewildered. The track-laying machine has, perhaps, more limited scope than the wheeled tractor, but for exerting its pull under really difficult conditions it is generally recognized as superior.
The relative capabilities of the steeland pneumatic-tyred wheeled machines are largely dependent on the nature of the land. Certainly, pneumatics are preferable where they can be satisfactorily employed, but it is equally certain that there are conditions when the all-steel wheel is at an advantage. A means for surmounting this difficulty is afforded by spud equipment or by the interchangeable wheel or rim. Considerations of weight and of loading per sq. in. of ground ale also inextricably involved in all three cases.
Bewildering Choice of Engines.
Within the limitations prescribed by their respective powers, engine types constitute a problem. Whilst the conventionality of the " four " attracts favour from the outset, it cannot be denied that its parts are numerous. Type for type, the " twin " has, roughly, only half as many. Simplest of all, however, is the singlecylindered two-stroke, and although the majority of tractor makers may set little value on carrying simplicity to an extreme the, fact remains that there is an appeal, to a class of agriculturist, in an engine with only three main moving parts. Nevertheless, the higher speed range of the multicylindered unit gives it a further advantage. On every hand at the "Royal" we heard expressions of satisfaction at the interest displayed by visitors to the implement section. Success has crowned this Centenary Show. With an attendance approaching 130,000, with a distinction conferred upon the Royal Agricultural Society's honorary director, with the presence of Queen Mary, of the Society's president and the King, who made two visits accompanied by the Queen, it will be looked back upon as a fine landmark in the history of this most important event.
HINDLEY SCHEME TO PROCEED.
I N view of the many contradictory rumours afloat concerning the Hindley scheme for co-ordinating the road haulage (goods) industry, it is of interest to note that we have learned, from an authoritative source, that at a well-attended meeting held in London this week it was unanimously decided to proceed. An executive committee has been formed and it is anticipated that, in a very little while, the progress which we shall be able to report will be such as will satisfy all those who are directly concerned.
London and Home Counties Traffic Committee Reconstituted.
THE London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee has been reconstituted under the provisions of Section 58 of the London Passenger Transport Act, 1933, for a period of three years as from July 1 last.
At the first meeting of the new committee, held a few days ago, Sir Harry Vanderpant DL,, the representative of Westminster City Council, was elected to the chair. Members of the new committee include Mr. Frank Pick and Sir Henry P. Maybury, G.B.E., K.C.M.G., C.B., appointed by the London Passenger Transport Board; Mr. J. IL Turner, 0.B.E., appointed by the Minister of Transport to represent the interests of operators or users of mechanical road vehicles within the London Traffic Area and Mr. H. W. W. Fisher, 0.B.E., representing the .Minister of Transport.
Mr." E. B. Hart, "O.B.E., Metropole Buildings, Northumberland Avenue, London, W.C.2, is the secretary of the committee.
Training the Agricultural Engineer.
AT an open meeting of the Institution of British Agricultural Engineers, held at Windsor on July 6, with Sir Frank Stockdale in the chair, Mr. A. Hay read a paper on " Educational Requirements in Agricultural Engineering."
A26 It is the view that in this country suitable facilities do not exist, and that the time is opportune for establishing at least one centre for proper professional training, which will provide courses more suitable for the new tendencies towards the mechanization of agriculture. Fuller information is obtainable from the Secretary, Hobart House, Wilton Street, London. S.W.1. OIL EXPLORATION IN ENGLAND,
THE possibility of oil, in commercial quantities, existing in the northwest of England is now receiving the attention of the Anglo-American Oil Co., Ltd. This concern has ahead; done exploration work in Scotland, where three wells have been sunk, two of which are now producing, and it is carrying out an extensive survey of oil prospects farther south.
Meanwhile, four new licences have been granted to search for oil in Lancashire. These cover an area stretching from Blackpool in the nort4 to the Mersey in the south, Bolton and Blackburn in the east, and to the west over the shallow sea area in Liverpool Bay.
Considerable structure drilling is proceeding in North-east Yorkshire, holes having been sunk to determine the nature of the strata. Evidence foe or against drilling will be obtained this month when a geophysical instrument called a gravimeter will start a three months' survey.