The First Trolleybus Fleet for South Africa
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DEMENTED to be the first large fleet 1-/of trolleybuses destined to be put into service in South Africa, 22 59seaters are now being completed by Park Royal Coachworks, Ltd., Abbey Road, Park Royal, London, N.W.10, in fulfilment of an order from Durban Corporation, which is about to substitute trolleybuses for its trams.
The fleet is composed. of 11 SunbeamB.T.II., MF2, and 11 Leyland-G.E.C. TBD1 models. All will have Park Royal bodies, embodying in the main the eoncern's standard composite con
struction. In certain respects, however, they are of unusual interest in view of several special features incorporated on account of the conditions of operation obtaining in Durban.
For example, great attention has been paid to ventilation and to protection from the sun, and the effects of the climatic conditions, whilst provision has been made for the convenient accommodation of an unusually encountered item of passengers' luggage, namely shark fishing rods, which, we are informed, are constructed in one piece and are about 18. ft. long.
The trolleybuses are finished externally in French grey with a cream band above and another below, the lowersaloon windows, lining, wings, etc., being in black. Internally the decoration is white, whilst the seats are upholstered in brown leather. In addi tion to the entrance from the rear platform, a sliding door at the front on the near side gives access to the lower saloon. This is operated by Peters electro-vacu-um gear.
Every window in both saloons opens, those at the sides and upstairs, at the forward end, being Beclawat half-drop windows. All are provided with roller blinds and tinted-glass louvres. Permanent ventilators are provided along the sides in the lower saloon, and in the roof of the upper compartment. Ample provision is also made for the ventilation of the resistances.
The flooring of both decks and of the platform constitutes something of a novelty. It is composed of Everwear, a slightly plastic material, indentations in which, made by nailed boots, for example, automatically smooth out.
Regenerative braking, although now generally recognized as possessing marked advantages, has not been specified in this case. Instead, the chassis are equipped with Dewandre vacuum servo brakes, the vacuum being created by Reavell exhausters driven, in the case of the Sunbeams, by the main motor, and, on the Leylands, by an auxiliary motor mounted outside the off-side frame member.
• Vacuum tanks are provided and serve for operation of the sliding doors, and windscreen wipers, in addition to the brakes.
It is of interest to note that the twotank system is employed. In this a small vacuum tank is first exhausted to the full working negative pressure, and the larger tank is not put into communication with the pump until the air in the small tank is rarefied to the specified number of inches of mercury. Thus there is always likely to be a full "
head" of vacuum, although full capacity may not be available.
To protect the aluminium from the effects of sea air and the humidity of the atmosphere, all parts of the body and chassis made of this metal are treated with a special preservative. The timbers in all Park Royal bodies are, in any case, suitably protected against damage from these causes.
As no registration number are needed on the Durban trolleybuses, the illuminated box normally provided for this purpose is employed for the vehicle number. Adjacent to the illuminated number-plate is the receptacle for shark fishing rods. It is simply' a deep well, formed in the outside back panelling, in which the rods are placed with their ends sticking vertically upwards in their accessible position at the rear of the vehicle.