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on with Southdown Motor Ltd., is an Outstanding Municipal Operations at Corporation Runs 246 and Trolleybuses and 000.000 Passengers a Year
pORTSMOUTH Transport Department is almost as steeped in history as the town itself, for it was built on the foundations laid by one of the oldest statutorr„. tramways undertakings in the British Isles— the Landport and Southsea Tramway Co. .
With the passing of the Portsmouth Corporation Tramway Act of 1898, negotiations were started for the tak:ing over of the old company—by this time styled the Portsmouth Street Tramway, Ltd.—and on January 1, 1901, it passed to the corporation for a sum of £205,946.
Plans to replace, the trams by trolleybuses were first considered in the early 1930s, and it was decided eventually to start the change-over in 1934 and to spread it over a period of 10 years. The first trolleybus route was opened in August of that year, and wis so well received by the travelling public that the scheme was completed in two years. • The.last tram was withdrawn and the tramway finally abandoned on November 10, 1936.
To-day the department operates 146 motorbuses and 100 trolleybuses of a variety of makes. On the motor bus side, the vehicles are mostly Leylands. Of the double-deckers there are 16 Leylands powered by petrol engines, 82 oil-engined Leylands, 25 Crossley oilers (22 with Salerni transmitters), and nine Daimlers with A.E.C. oil engines. Delivery of an additional nine Crossley oilers with Salerni transmitters is expected shortly.
Of the 14 single-deck buses, 10 are petrol-engined Bedfords and four Leyland oilers. Ninety-one of the trolleybuses are A.E.C. vehicles. with English Electric equipment. The remainder are made up of four Sunbeams with B.T.-H. equipment, three Leylands with G.E.C. equipment, and two Karriers, one with B.T.-H. and the other with English Electric equipment. Fifteen B.U.T. trolleybuses with English Electric equipment are on order.
a8, The most _notable event in the recent history of the undertaking is the co-ordination agreement entered into with Southdown Motor •Services, Ltd., in 1947. It is a 21-year agreement based on terms which, according to Mr. Ben Hall, the corporation's general manager and engineer, have resulted in undoubted benefits to both parties.
The area co),ered by the agreement is 130 square miles in extent, taking in Portsmouth itself and the outlying districts as far as Petersfieid in the north, Warsash in the west and Emsworth in the east, including Hayling
Island. No definite figures of the population served within this urea are available, but in Portsmouth alone the population numbers 256,000.
All revenue of both undertakings within this area is pooled and shared out on a percentage basis, 57 per cent, going to the corporation and 43 per cent to SoutIldown. These percentages were agreed after computing the route. mileage of each concern over a period of six years. Because of the extended operations of the Southdown company brought about by evacuation from the heavily bombed town during the war, it was decided to take the three years immediately before the war and the last three years of the war.
After nearly two years the scheme is working most
exceptional workshop facilities nc I ud i ng (2) this it, (3) Metal spraying is an activity normally e overhaul specialists, but it finds a place in ehensive scheme of maintenance. (4) T.I.M. ticket ed and reconditioned in the shops. (5) Another eather cash bags, ticket-machine harness, and does (6) Portsmouth has 98 Leyland double-deckers, 1-engined. This one is on the Cosham service. its in the central workshop. (8) There is no lack ant for every type of work. Here a garage crane :d to lift an engine back into the chassis.
satisfactorily for all concerned. Both undertakings have been able to effect economies, whilst there has been no loss of efficiency in service to the public. The Scheme is watched over by a joint operating committee comprising three members of the corporation's passenger transport committee and three members of the Southdown company—two directors and the general manager.
The committee meets at intervals of not more than three months, and it has the advice of administrative officers of both undertakings, but they have no power to vote.
The corporation's transport department headquarters is at Eastney, to the east of the town, and behind these offices—a-building specially built for the department in 1931—are the main depot and the central workshops. The site covers an area of four acres, and there is a further three-quarters of an acre for expansion. There is a second depot at North End—the old tramway depot. The central workshops are probably among the best equipped in the country and a model of organization. Only one job is not tackled on the premises—crankshaft regrinding. With a workshops staff of over 350, the standard of vehicle maintenance and upkeep is as high as could be found in any such undertaking anywhere.
In the leather shop, the corporation makes its own cash bags, door stops, strap hangers and the T.I.M. ticket-machine harness. Even briefcases and other items are made not only for the transport staff, but for other departments of the corporation.
The T.I.M. machines—used throughout the department—are repaired and reconditioned by a section of the workshops staff, and even the wages sheets, waybills and other stationery are printed and embossed on the premises. There are a fully equipped machine shop, separate stores for components and fine tools, a fuelpump shop with a Hartridge test bench, and body, upholstery, and paint shops, to mention only the more important.
Maintenance Based on 5,000-mile Intervals
The basis of the maintenance system is that all vehicles spend a day in the workshops at every 5,000 miles, a more detailed check being carried out at 25,000 miles. At the 90.000-mile stage the vehicles are thoroughly overhauled.
The chassis is stripped down to the frame, and all parts are degreased and carefully inspected, reconditioned and replaced where necessary. As stated earlier, apart from crankshaft regrinding, everything is done by the workshops staff. The body is lifted off and, like the chassis, stripped down to the mere shell. Nothing is left to chance and nothing is wasted.
If one of the panels be not suitable for refitting, it is put aside and the sound part used where only a small section is needed. All the seats go to the upholsterers, who strip them down and build up again from scratch. All the windows are taken out and repaired, the metal parts rechromed—in short, every item that goes back into the rebuilt body is either reclaimed as new or, if necessary. replaced All this takes the greater part of two weeks, and when the chassis and body meet again they go into the paint shop for the sparkling finish that gives them a truly new-vehicle appearance when they return to duty.
Since the war, the total income, mileage operated and number of passengers carried have reached new high Levels for the undertaking, although the net profit has tended to decrease with the continued and substantial rise in operating costs.
The number of passengers carried rose from 62,000,000 in 1938-39 to 81,000,000 in 1946-47 and
85,000,000 in 1947-48. Mileage, likewise, increased from just under 6,000,000 in the year before the war to 7,000,000 in 1946-47 and 7,500,000 in 1947-48.
On the other hand, -working expenses (£308,000 in 1938-39) have risen to £516,000 in 1946-47 and £591,000 in 1947-48. Net profit in 1947-48 was E73,436, against £96.255 the previous year. In th`e year before the war it was only £16,735.
The extent of the combined services operated under the co-ordination agreement with the Southdown company is illustrated in the figures for the year 1947-48. The traffic revenue-pooled was £1,156,562, vehicle-mileage operated was 13,284,426, and the number of passengers carried 115,877,203.
The success of the department is undoubtedly built on the happy relationship between the management and the staff, and this obviously reaches out to benefit every •
member of the travelling public. It is reflected in the efficient, smooth-running head office; in the high standard of appearance and mechanical efficiency of the vehicles; in the long period of freedom from labour disputes; and in the smartness and general air of wellbeing of the operating staff.
In the port that is famous for the happy ships that have rested at anchor in its waters, it can safely be said that the Portsmouth Transport Department is in excellent company.