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28th November 1918
Page 19
Page 20
Page 19, 28th November 1918 — OPINIONS FROM OTHERS.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Editor invites co respondence on all subjects connected with the use of commercial motors. Letters should be on ono side of the paper mite and typewritten by preference. The right of abbreviation is reserved, and no responsibility for views eopressed is accepted.

Australia and the British Lorry Manufacturers.


• [1641] Sir,—After four years of war one's thoughts turn to peace and commerce. What is the situation in Australia going to be with, regard to British productions . Is the manufacturer going to allow enterprising American firms to secure a.large percentage of desirable orders in the same old way?

• Why does the American article have a• large sale, -*hen it is admittedly not so robustly made or so reliable as the British machine? Simply because the representative of the American firm is firmly supported by his concern, and is thereby enabled to look after his customer and ensure him satisfaction.

His connection with the customer is not finished immediately the sale has been made and the cheque passed over. No, it is part of his duty to his firm to see that the customer gets the best results from his purchase and that he understands its working thoroughly. Moreover, he makes it quite clear to the customer that if he is in trouble with his machine, he has only to let the agent know and every endeavour will be made to put things right.

Has this course been pursued in the case of the British machine Unfortunately no. In many cases the customer has bought a British article because he thought it should prove more satisfactory, only to find that, owing to insufficient instruction in its use, some part has failed, perhaps, and the poor agent has not been backed up by the manufacturer who should have seen that, at any rate, a suitable quantity of vital spares were held in stock. This question of spare parts is most important in a countrylike Australia.

There is at the present moment a large demand for agricultural tractors and portable engines of from 3 h.p. to 8 h.p. Do British manufacturers realize that American firms are now making arrangements to combine and share the expenses necessary in opening up new ground? If they do,. in any case are they not too conservative and secretive to allow one another to know what they themselves are doing ? All the same, this matter of combining forces has much to be said for it. The writer is returning to Australia in a week or two having, he hopes, finished with war, and is travelling through Amertca with a view to securing the representation of a first-class firm. He cannot afford to make a false start in engaging in the motor trade once more by tying himself to a British inanu'acturer who leaves him to print his own literature and instruction books and will not back him up.

Much as he admires British workmanship can he be °lamed for investing money with American .firms who aot only assist him in selling their goods, but will guarantee the arrival of definite supplies?

In one large Australian city, just recently, three reputable firms have relinquished the motor side of their business. , These firms represented the more important British motor manufacturers. What are these manufacturers doing to secure the services of first-class representatives to take the place of the former ones?

The Australian market will be well worth while cultivating. As soon as things settle down somewhat there are millions of bushels of wheat, wool and meat galore waiting transportation and ships will be returning. let us hope filled with British manufactured goods and especially motor lcirries and machines.


Efficiency of Poppet Valve Engines.


[1642] Sir,—The letter on the above subject in your journal of the 10th October is rather interesting to me, as it concerns a Continental poppet valve engine, although I am' greatly in favour of sleeve-valve engines both of the single sleeve valve type and the double sleeve valve type. Although the mileage is not great for the XYZ Transport Co.'s two-ton Titan, the Continental engine is good, and appears to be all that could be wished far. I have in my charge a Palladium 3itonner with a Continental engine which has now done 35,700 miles without the big-ends ever being touched and which shows no signs of knocking. The valves have been examined on one occasion and were then found to be correct and were consequntly not ground in. This vehicle has been driven by many different drivers and I can state that 'the engine has more power, more compression, and is even running better than when it was first delivered, although I have not bad anyone to keep an eye on the engine. The average number of stops which this vehicle makes is 16 in 3 miles, besides which it is often overloaded.—Yours faithfully, A. H. HAZELDENE. Cardiff.

Traffic Fatalities.


[1643] Sir,—You may perhaps like to quote the following excerpt from my annual return for the year 1917—recently referred to by me at an inquest held in the City of London Coroner's Court:— " Siesty-eight fatalities were due to vehicles, of whieh number 31 occurred in the City, and 37 in Southwark. This is the highest aggregate annual figure recorded by me -during the past 18 years. The marked progressive rise in the number of deaths both in the City and Southwark, as well as in the Metropolitan Police Area generally, synchronizes with the darkening of the streets and bridges, dating from the first order made under the Defence of the Realm Regulations for the reduction of lighting, on the first day of October, 1914. The main factor in the causes contributing to traffic fatalities is, I think, without doubt due to want of light. "With a view of preventing and lessening the number of traffic deaths, .I can only repeat once more that the three most pressing needs still arc :— " 1. More street refuges—especially in Southwark. "2. More lifeguards or fenders for all heavy motors and "3. More police stationed at traffic points or crossings. "No attempt so far has been made by any authority to introduce the 'compulsory use of side guards in the case of heavy commercial motors, similar to those guarding, for several years past, the hind wheels of all motor omnibuses. "Such guards, provided at slight cost and labour, have been the means of saving many lives. e Notwithstanding this fact, guards are rarely—if ever—seen on pantechnicons, parcel and laundry motors, brewers' and motor lorries or on other vehicles similar in construction to omnibuses. As frequently pointed out by roe before, the County Council in London has power to control the construction of this class of commercial vehicle by by-law under Section 23 of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882.. The Council, however,%clo not seem inclined to move directly in this matter themselves, and have recently referred me to a Departmental Committee (Local Government Board) still considering matters connected with road locomotives and heavy motors."

So far there had been 33 traffic deaths in Southwark since 1st January, 1918, as compared with 37 during 1917; while in the City 16 traffic inquests have been held this year, as compared with 31 last year. While want of proper street lighting is at present the main factor in the several and intricate causes contributing to traffic deaths, the fact, must net be overlooked that drivers especially of almost noiseless motor vehicles —often went at a pace not Warranted by the conditions present at the time in the streets. In the same manner foot passengers crossing streets were frequently guilty of contributory negligence, and had evidently not yet acquired the "sixth sense "—to say nothing of common sense—as judged by the careless , and fatalistic manner in which they so often attempted to get across a crowded street. —Yours faithfully, F. J. WALDO, H.M. Coroner, City of London and Southwark.

More About the Trolleybus.


[1614] Sir,—" Inspector," in his further referance to the trolleybus in your issue of the 31st October, disarms all but the friendliest of critics by his gracious rejoinder to my recent article on the same subject. He nevertheless consistently and clearly maintains and reaffirms the arguments as set down in his previous article to which I took, and still take, exception. I should like, therefore, to trespass upon your space once more with the object of endeavouring to replace in their true perspective the features of this little controversy to which " Inspector " draws attention.

In the first place, as regards the financing of previous trolleybus companies : The principal exploiter of this type of public service vehicle, and the company whose patent rights and similar assets are now held by Railless, Ltd., was not interested in any tramway concern. I refer to Railless Electric Traction, Ltd., which company owned by far the greatest number of trolleybuses in use in this country. The Leeds Municipal Tramways undoubtedly adopted this system, but surely the choice of Leeds as an example is an unfortunate one from the point of view of the "Inspector." His principal argument was that tramway companies merely ran trolleybus schemes as temporary expedients, with the main object of testing the suitability or otherwise of projected tramway routes, and that immediately a decision was arrived at for or against a tramway extension, the trolleybus route was either superseded or dropped. The trolleybus system owned by the Leeds Municipal Tramways is, after several years of continuous service' in adniira,ble working order, and is more likely to be extended than either superseded or dropped' Your contributor's apology, in the subsequent paragraph, is as gravely accepted. He, of course, realises as well as anyone thatIthe hybrid nature of the vehicle has no bearing whatever upon either its suitability or its success. I should like briefly to comment on the intrinsic value of the "undeniable limitations" which he enumerates in the same paragraph. Taking them in the order named, (1) is, I think, inoluded in (2) and (3), unless the reference is to the inability of the trolleybus to pass another of the same kind on the same route and moving in the same direction. This is not a great handicap; it seldom has any real effect on the efficiency of the service, and when it has it can be simply obviated, provided a suitable type of trolley connection is incorporated in the design, by using by-pass lines of overhead wires. (2) Why should the mobility be more than actually necessary? (3) The success of any public service vehicle, whether it B44 be omnibus, trolleybus or tram depends largely upon its timeand route-keeping. Will " Inspector" kindly inform us how many times, say, the route of No. 29 bus is varied, and will he also intimate to us the degree of reluctance with which that route has been varied on any of those few occasions ? (4) The proper basis for comparison as regards noise is an old and well-used trolleybus as against an old and well-used petrol chassis. There can be little doubt as to which would in such comparison have preference. (5) I do not understand on what grounds " Inspector " claims that the trolleybus is not suitable for double-deck purposes. It has been so constructed and so used, with success. The absence of a bonnet is not a" startling" advantage, but the diminished overall length of the vehicle for a given carrying capacity is surely worthy of more than passing mention. The " Inspector's " next paragraph calls for no reply. There is, as a matter of fact, such a strong bias in favour of the trolleybus on grounds of economy of operation that your correspondent shows discretion by skating so lightly as be does over this thin ice of the discussion.

As regards equality with the independent motorbus, I claim that it is equal in all the essentials for regular routed public service, and that it is actually superior in some qualities which are desirable in such work. As regards the examples of continental use quoted as being unsuccessful, " Inspector " is probably well aware of the continued and long series of failures which attended the motorbus in its earlier stages. Such lack of success unfortunately appears to be a necessary accompaniment to any new enterprise or departure from current practice. The last paragraph is hardly in • the serious tone which is customary in the columns of THE COMMERCIAL MoTint—there is, I maintain, very considerable scope for the trolleybus, both in this country and also, perhaps to a greater degree, abroad. That I am not alone in this opinion, and that there is strong evidence to back my assumption is perhaps shown to a small extent by the following quotation from a recent issue of the "Industrial Engineer ":— " Sir Alfred Dent, K.C.M.G., speaking at the annual general meeting of the shareholders of the Shanghai Electric Construction Co., Ltd., had a very satisfactory situation to deal with. " The result of working for the first four months of 1918a comparatively slack time in their receipts—was estimated to show a profit of about $175,000. On 31st December, 1916, they had a loan from their bankers of 217,000, whereas now they had a considerable amount of cash on deposit and current account at home and in Shanghai, besides an investment of £5000 in War Loan. As regards the railless service, to which they attached much importance, the directors were still in. negotiation with the • Municipal Council, and hoped soon to get sanction to carry out at least part of the comprehensive scheme that they had laid before them. The advantages of this mode of traction were obvious as against the permanent rail, and it had certainly been much appreciated by the public and by owners of property along the short distance now in working. In conclusion, he moved the adoption of the report and accounts.

"These accounts showed an available ,balance of 270,014 for the year 1917, against 249,509 in the previous 12 months. A dividend making 10 per cent for the year was declared."

It is true that one satisfactory balance sheet does not make an industry, any more than the proverbial Swallow makes a summer. The above paragraph is an indication, however, that the trolleybus is far from being so moribund as the " Inspector " hopes and be lieves.—Yours faithfully, H.S.H.

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