The Motor Omnibus World.
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Motor Omnibus Engineers: Opening of Second Session.
The second session of the Society of Motor Omnibus Engineers was auspiciously opened on Monday last. A meeting of the council took place, at the registered office, 1, Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, W., at 6 p.m., when Mr. F. C. A. Coventry (Great Western Railway Company), Chairman of the
Society, presided. There were also present : Messrs. R. Bell, Vice-chairman (London Motor Omnibus Co., Ltd.). F. J. Field (London and District Motor Bus Co., Ltd.); W. Flexman French (Sussex Motor Road Car Co., Ltd.).' W. M. IIodges (City and Suburban Motor Cab Co., Ltd.); P. Frost Smith (Thomas Tilling, Ltd.); W. 0. Spiller (Gearless Motor Omnibus Co., Ltd.); and, in attendance, the Secretary, Mr. Charles E. Esse. The business transacted included the following : Associates.--Additions to the register were :—The Darracq-Serpollet Omnibus Co., Ltd.; James H. Randall (London); J. and E. Hall, Limited (Dartford); G. P. Ikfair (London); T. H. Lewis and Co., Ltd. (East Ham); and J. A. Wilding and Co., Ltd. (London).
Social Room.—The Secretary reported the result of his enquiries in relation to accommodation at Whitehall Court and elsewhere. It was referred to a sub-committee, consisting of Messrs. Bell, Spiller, and the Secretary, to proceed further in this matter.
Laboratory. — Instructions were
given as to the insurance of the con tents and fittings at Putney. The position of the experimental plant, now in course of erection, with a view to the carrying out of the Society's scheme of lubrication tests, was reported and noted.
Bank Balance.—The financial statement was submitted and approved, together with the pass-book.
A large muster of members, associate members, associates and visitors assembled in theRichelieu Room of the Hotel Cecil, at 8 o'clock, in order to hear the opening paper of the session read by Mr. Douglas Mackenzie. Light refreshments were served in an adjoining room, and there were close upon too present when Mr. Coventry started the proceedings by welcoming Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, the Honorary President of the Society, whose first attendance was then recorded.
The President, on taking the chair, was supported by Mr. E. Shrapnell Smith, Vice-president, Mr. F. C. A. Coventry, Chairman, and Mr. R. Bell, Vice-chairman. He expressed the pleasure it gave him to attend a meeting of the Society, and added that he hoped to be able to be present at other meetings during the ensuing session. A great deal of criticism, just and unjust, had been levelled at the heavier classes of mechanically-propelled road vehicles, and he did not believe that any society ought to adopt the OSTRICH-LIKE POLICY
of ignoring facts. There were still some points they must improve upon, in order to give less cause of offence to the public, but he should say, as a dweller in London, and as one who frequently used motorbuses himself, that there had been great improvements, both in the behaviour of the vehicles, in regard to noise and smell, and in the driving, since July last. He had then spoken out in the House of Lords, on behalf of the motor omnibus, as he was a believer in the railless vehicle as against the tramcar. The present difficulty of getting men capable of driving motorbuses was very great, and many of those present had to contend with the disadvantage of side-slip. He must point out, however, that horsed buses could be seen skidding on any wet day, and it was clear that the skidding of motor vehicles, whilst it frightened passengers to some extent, had certainly not deterred passengers from using them. Something like 400,000 people were carried daily by the motor omnibuses in London. (Applause.) This must be accepted as furnishingproof that the
NERVE OF THE PASSENGERS
was greater than that of the people who wrote the articles in question. (Laughter.) From his experience, skidding in London generally depended on the excessive camber of the roads, which made the vehicles slide towards
the gutter. Bad driving, when the men put on the brakes too quickly, and unbalanced construction of some of the vehicles, were also contributory causes. Ile thought there was something in the idea of a fifth wheel, which could be let down to prevent skidding when the streets wene slippery enough to need it. He had no doubt that the troubles of to-day were soluble, and he felt equally sure that mechanicallypropelled vehicles would eventually supersede all forms of rail traction in the streets. (Applause.) That was the view of Mr. Edison, and although they were still waiting for the perfeetion of that inventor's accumulator, they must pay great respect to his prediction. (Hear, hear.) Terning to the control of London traffic, and the licensing of motor om. nibuses, Lord Montagu said he did not think they could do better than to adopt the recommendation of the Royal Commission on London Traffic. An independent traffic board, not necessarily controlled by the London County Council, and composed of impartial men, should be appointed for the purpose. It seemed to him eminently unsuitable that the London County Council should have anything to do with the board. He now called upon Mr. Mackenzie to present his paper.
[Mr. Mackenzie's paper will be found on pages 168 to 170.] An early reconstruction of the Board of the London General Omnibus Company is to be expected, and it goes without saving that the infusion of " new blood " will materially enhance the prospects of continued prosperity for that undertaking-.
The business of Stagg and Robson, Limited, has been acquired by the Selby Motor and General Engineering Company, Limited, which was registered on the 22nd ultimo, with a capital of .4:25,000 divided into .4:1 shares. The registered office is at 1, Minster Gate, York. A prospectus will be issued.
Only 27 motorbuses have been added to London's effective total during the four weeks ended on Monday last, compared with 59 during the preceding four weeks. Our latest records disclose a total of 750 vehicles "in commission " (see next page), whilst, certain difficulties in regard to MiInes-Daimler chassis having been surmounted, the rate of increase will now be largely augmented. The Commissioner of Police, after prolonged eonsultation and acting upon expert advice, has decided that the differential casing, which, in these vehicles, is carried slightly forward of the back axle, need
not have the minimum clearance of To inches applicable to parts further forward.
The Edinburgh and District Motor Omnibus Company, Limited, of it, North St. Andrew Street, Edinburgh, whose managing director is Mr. James Morris, inaugurated half-penny stages, on its route between the Edinburgh General Post Office and Murray:field, on Saturday last.
A committee of local residents, in the Hagley Road district, have intimated that they will not organise their intended meeting of protest in relation to Birmingham's motorbuses, in the belief that the Watch Committee will now exercise such control as will render any further steps unnecessary.
Competition along the Holborn line of route has recently increased to such a pitch that it nearly equals that along the Strand line. " Great Eastern," "Vanguard," and " Union Jack " motorbuses now provide a frequent service from Oxford Circus to the City.
A correspondent of the "Daily News" suggests that the prophet Nahum foretold the advent of electric tramcars and motorcars. He selects the following verse from the Old Testament : " The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one another in the broad ways : they shall seem like torches, they shall run like lightnings."
A meeting of the Institution of Automobile Engineers will be held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Storey's Gate, S.W., on Wednesday next, the 7th instant, at eight o'clock in the evening. An introductory address by the President, Colonel R. E. Crompton, C.B., will be followed, at $.15 p.m., by a paper on " Fuel," by Professor W. A. Bone, D.Sc., F.R.S„ of the Univer.i ty, Leeds. Anybody who may be desirous to attend this meeting should apply to the Secretary, Mr. W. Rees Jeffreys, 1, Albemarle Street, W.
A most important and far-reaching action has been raised by the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company, against the Provost, Magistrates, and Councillors of the Burgh of Saltcoats. This railway company runs public-service vehicles, for the convenience of passengers, in connection with the train service on its Glasgow and Ardrossan line, the ears plying between the railway stations at Kilwinning and Ardrossan, and intermediate places, including the Burgh of SaItcoats. All are duly registered under the Motorcar Acts, and the drivers are duly licensed. The railway company maintains that the Corporation's by-laws have no application to its motorcars, having regard to the fact that the vehicles are duly registered and that the drivers, guards, and conductors are fully licensed. They claim, further, that the by-laws are inapplicable because the service is not confined within the limits of the Corporation's jurisdiction. It is not certain whether the action will come to an issue, as the Corporation denies that it has ever intimated its intantion to enforce the bylaws against the railway company, and wishes the action to be dismissed. The Clarkson steam omnibuses of the London General Omnibus Company, Limited, will be stationed at Bow, the old yard that used to accommodate the Bow Church and Notting Hill horsed omnibuses having been altered to stilt these steamers. They will ply between Canning Town and Oxford Circus, via the Commercial Road, Bank and Holborn. They are at present employed for the training of drivers, and will be in service within a few days.
At a time when agitation in opposition to motor omnibuses threatens to rise and fall, from season to season, according to the vagaries of these vehicles, and not altogether without relation to the " silly period " in daily journalism, it is as well that our readers should be reminded of the fact that Paris, Berlin, and other great Continental cities are competing with our own omnibus companies to obtain early delivery of approved chassis. Apart from the question of side-slip, which is so intimately bound up with proper road construction and maintenance, and for which local authorities arc responsible in many cases, it must be obvious that the sum total of the experiences gained under these different conditions of service will rapidly bring about the evolution of a mechanically perfect motorbus. This activity in Continental cities has, also, another lesson for those who care to regard it, and this is that we in England must not allow ourselves to be in any way dispirited by the difficulties which have asserted themselves in connection with both London and country road-passenger transport undertakings. England has set an example to the world in its applications of the motorbus, and it will be a sorry spectacle if, as was the case in the manufacture and use of aniline dyes, Germany or any other country were to wrest from us the merited results of early activities in the fostering of motorbus traffic. Every club, society, association and org-anisation in existence will require to put forth its best efforts if British pre-eminence is to be maintained in the motor omnibus world. A movement is on foot at Eastbourne ti bring about the introduction of universal penny fares on the motorbuses.
It is now generally admitted by London Borough Councils that the noise of motor omnibuses is not so great as it was some six months ago.
We are glad to learn that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has made representations to the Automobile Club in opposition to the inclusion of motor omnibus fixtures in the programme of future race meetings.
The Birmingham Watch Committee has approved the adoption of fixed stopping places for motor omnibuses in that city. The new ,ystem will not come into operation until the plates indicating the stopping places have been made and put in position.
Lord Montagu of Beaulieu has offered to introduce a deputation of the Society of Motor Omnibus Engineers, either by itself or in conjunction with allied societies, to the Home Office or the Local Government Board, if occasion requires that this course should be followed. A writer in a Yorkshire paper draws attention to the large depreciation of property on main routes, due to the introduction of electric traction, and cites Shipley Road, Manninghain Lane, and Manchester Road. He points out, also, that there are numerous similar instances in other cities.
The Scottish Motor Traction Company, Limited, has recently established sex eral new services with its Maudslay motor omnibuses. These include the Gilmore Place district of Edinburgh, whilst it is hoped that a 5-minute service from Toticross to Craiglockhart Station will shortly be instituted.
Notwithstanding the fact that petroleum spirit costs 25. 6d. per gallon. and lubricating oil over 7s. per gallon, motorbuses are reported to be running on a paying basis in Barcelona. The city has a population of nearly 7oo,00o, and the vehicles, which are of French manufacture are being operated by La Catalana (dompania Omnibus), 232, Calle Aribaux, Barcelona, Spain.
The Haslingden Town Council appointed a sub-committee, nearly two months ago, to enquire into the expediency of the Council's establishing a motor-omnibus service between Haslingden and Helmshore. No report has yet been presented, and the dilatory action of the sub-committee was the subject of criticism at the meeting of the town council last week.
The North-Eastern Railway Company is about to extend its omnibus services in the South Shields district, and the question of licenses is now before the Tramways Committee of that town. If the proposed routes are approved, the omnibuses will begin to run early in December, and it is expected that some 14 trips per day, to Whitburn, Cleadon, and East and West Boldon, will be performed, to the great advantage of the inhabitants.
Notwithstanding severe opposition, and adverse reports from its tramway officials, the Chester Town Council is about to purchase three motorbuses at an estimated cost of k..,,000. An amendment to increase the vote by another
,000, in order that a fourth bus might be purchased to serve the Handbridge district, was defeated at a council meeting on the 24th ultimo, although the Chairman of the Tramways Committee, Mr. William Ferguson, promised not to overlook the demand.
The Public Control Committee of the L.C.C., in a report issued on Monday, stated that, for the quarter ended Septcrnber 30th last, 220 "heavy motorcars " had been registered, bringing the total number of these vehicles registered in the County of London to 1,053. In a further report, the Committee stated that it had received a petition from residents in Cromwell Road, South Kensington, and the neighbourhood, complaining of the serious nuisance caused by motor omnibuses and heavy locomotive traffic, and requesting that an order be made providing that Cromwell Road shall not be used for such traffic between midnight and 7 a.m., and, also, that regulations be made to prevent the owners or drivers of motor omnibuses and traction engines from using their machines so as t) cause unnecessary noise or smell. The Committee found that, although it had power to make by-laws restricting the use of roads by heavy locomotives, no such power existed with regard to heavy motorcars, such as motor-omnibuses, and the Council was not, therefore, in a position to take action.
Mr. Markham, MY., the member for Mansfield (Notts), addressed a series of questions to the secretary to the Local Government Board, in the House of Commons, on Friday last. Ile particularly asked whether it was intended to withdraw all motorbus licenses in the Metropolis owing to side-slip troubles. Mr., Gladstone, in reply, stated that he did not think it would be within the power of the Commissioner to withdraw all motoromnibus licenses on the ground that they were sometimes out of control owing to side-slip : a general prohibition of the use of motor-omnibuses would require the authority of Parliament. Mr. Markham then asked whether anyfurther licenses would be granted until the vehicles could be run under conditions of greater safety, and Mr. Gladstone replied that the Department was now doing its utmost to
secure greater safety, and that he was unprepared to say more: he agreed with Sir Edward Henry's views that the circumstances now called for a more stringent enforcement of the law. Nobody will object to this course on the part of the Commissioner of Police, but the grievous lack of uniformity which characterises the present treatment of motor-omnibus companies, and the unnecessary waste of time intlicted upon commercial interests by self-sufficient and improperly-trained inspectors is not, surely, in accordance with the intention of the Legislature. It will be found that we have referred on the first page of this is,sue to the demoralising effects produced.