OPINIONS and QUERIES
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THE PRICE OF PRODUCER FUELS IN your issue of March 2 Major W. H. Goddard asked why Mr. H. V. Senior and I said at our lecture before the Institute of Engineering Inspection that the price of gas-producer fuels was £4 10s. I would refer him to circulars issued as follow by the companies concerned,. stating that this price has been agreed as a fixed one throughout the country, whether immediately adjacent to the pithead or works or some distance from it. Amalgamated Anthracite Collieries, Ltd., January 20, 1940, Low Temperature Carbonisation, Ltd., January 17, 1940, Suncole (Nottingham), Ltd., February 1, 1940. BOSWORTH E. MONCK. Loughborough.
THE POSITION OF OPERATORS WITH MIXED LICENCES
DEFERRING to the article by S.T.R., "Now—
and After the War," published in your issue dated February 24, he says that "It must have no C-licence members." We are consequently somewhat puzzled to know how S.T.R. proposes to deal with operators in our position, i.e., who run vehicles under A, B and C licences We are members of the Furniture Removers' Association and Associated Road Operators. Would he suggest that we abandon our C licence or, failing that, we would not be eligible and would be turned out of both associations, thus becoming one of the large company of the unattached? F. R. RAnsinow, Oxford. for Rainbows (Oxford), Ltd.
IMPROVEMENTS IN LONDON'S NEWER TROLLEYBUSES
I THOUGHT you might like to have some comments on the paragraph, "Small Improvements Required in London's Trolleybuses," which appeared on page 71 of The Commercial Motor of March 2, 1940.
It would seem that the writer must have been in conversation with a conductor who has not had service on any of the Board's more modern trolleybuses. The platform is not less commodious than that of the modem oil-engined vehicle, although it is more restricted than the earlier type with the direct staircase, which is secured only by the sacrifice of seating accommodation. The space between the staircase and the lower deck entrance has been increased on later vehicles by cutting away the staircase stringer, thus enabling the conductor to tuck himself farther under the staircase, leaving a more ample passage into the lower saloon.
With the exception of the earliest vehicles operating from Fulwell, a bell push is provided on the off side as well as on the near side of all the Board's trolleybuses, and there is therefore no need for the conductor to reach over the heads of the passengers. For the contral of destination indicators, more than 1,000 vehicles of the later types have a periscopic device, and the operating handle is in the driver's cabin, so that the difficult procedure outlined is unnecessary. Moreover, on the majority of the earlier ,vehicles a mirror is provided to enable the conductor to read the blind from a seated position by merely bending forward when operating the winding mechanism.
W. P. N. EDWARDS, • Public Relations Officer, For London Passenger Transport Board, London, S.W.I.
1DOES THIS FACILITATE VEHICLE CLEANING?
I HAVE recently heard of a method of cleaning corn' mercial motor vehicles which I consider unique. The method is to rub down the motor body with an oily rag and then polish up afterwards with a dry one. It has been contended that this method has some advantages over the normal practice of "swilling down," in that, quite apart from such beneficial effects as the oil may have on the paintwork and enamel work, a better surface polish is ensured, the installation of pressure washing plants is obviated and no water is wasted. Altogether the job is less " messy."
I shall be glad to know if you or any of your readers have practical experience in the above method, and if so whether you or they consider that its introduction in a workshop catering for the maintenance of, say, 200 vehicles at present being washed by water would be an economical proposition. RONALD N. STAFFORD. Famworth.
[So many commercial vehicles are now finished in synthetic paints that it does not appear to us that this method would have any particular advantage, except, possibly, for removing dirty grease. With ordinary paintwork it might also have the effect of softening the finish and rendering it less durable. Some washers adopt the practice of using a little paraffin with the water while washing. Whilst this gives temporary cleanliness, it is not a practice to be recommended for oil-based paints. Possibly our readers may have other views or can suggest methods which are an ,improvement upon that suggested.—En.)
ESSENTIAL POINTS IN SELLING GAS PRODUCERS
THEE blowing of one's own trumpet was fully justified your leader of March 9. It is to be regretted that, to supplement all the excellent work put in by the Fuel Research Board in the investigation of home-produced fuels, and in the design of the emergency producer, no official research has been forthcoming to evolve suitable engine designs or modifications (or in the use of auxiliary units) for the more efficient use of producer gas in road vehicles. Certainly, under the present conditions, such experiments cannot be carried out by the engine manufacturers, neither could they—as a
commercial proposition—be reasonably expected to experiment on these lines prior to the outbreak of hostilities, No doubt most of us have already decided that producer gas remains the only reasonable substitute capable of supplementing the already diminishing petrol ration. Accepting this supposition, it remains for the trade to get down to it on the question of suitable conversions. Ttue, the question of high-pressure gas is attractive for short-journey work, but the expense of equipping compressor stations to handle 200 atmospheres and the difficulty of obtaining suitable cylinders to accommodate this pressure, rule out the possibility at present.
May I suggest that the first essential to the successful sale of producer-gas equipment, is to tone down any loose sales talk tending to overrate the gas producer in terms of power? The existence and meaning of the word " goodwill' should be conveyed to these " highpressure " salesmen. There is no need whatever to go all technical for anyone to grasp the sequence of power loss. Starting with a fuel much lower in calorific value than petrol, we produce what is termed in the Govern
ment report, "a low-grade gas," which is ultimately fed to an engine never designed to run on it.
However, the interested prospective operator is more or less aware, by now, of its limitations, and does not expect it to compete with petrol, but to provide him with a sound means for locomotion, so why on earth this constant tending to overstate the case, particularly when practical alternatives are not available?
I do not wish to convey any feeling of antagonism towards producer gas; as a matter of fact, I have to admit that experimental test runs have provided an agreeable surprise. It is evident that reasonably good results can certainly be obtained, provided careful appreciation of each particular conversion in hand be considered, and the vehicle handled with intelligence sponsored by sound driving tuition. Let us then start off in this instance with the essential confidence of the customer, whose co-operation• in the subsequent operation of the plant will be invaluable to both trader and manufacturer alike.
C. EARNSHAW, A.M.T.A.E., Works Manager, Leeds. for Wheatley and Whiteley.