OPINIONS and QUERIES Distinguishing the Goods Chassis from the Passenger Type.
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The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
13734] Sir,—In considering the features which, if embodied in one chassis, would make the most serviceable vehicle weighing more than 50 cwt. unladen, I would suggest that the designer should dismiss from his mind many of the refinements necessary in the design of the coach and other passenger-carrying vehicles. If one can judge by the opinions expressed by many practical hauliers when visiting the Commercial Motor Show of 1931, they failed to find the machine designed for the man who has entirely to rely for a living on the earnings of his vehicles.
The ideal machine for such purposes would he one that will be off the road for a minimum number of days in the year, and in which the cost of maintenance could be kept down to its lowest point. With the object of encouraging the production of such a vehicle I make the following suggestions ; they will probably be criticized, but a discussion of the points raised may have a beneficial effect :—
To commence with the cylinders, is there any advantage in casting the upper half of the crankcase integral with them? It makes a more difficult casting to produce, especially so when the upper half of the flywheel housing forms part of it, and in all probability a better wear-resisting iron could be used if cast separately. It is more costly to renew, in case of breakage, is heavier and, in the opinion of the writer, offers no particular advantage. Another point of importance ,in connection with cylinders is the use of hard wearresisting liners, as the frequency with which some modem engines require their cylinders re-bored indicates that some change is necessary.
With regard to pistons, is the aluminium piston really suitable for use in vehicles of the type under consideration? It has advantages, but do they balance its disadvantages?
In the case of four-cylindered engines, the writer has always found that the crankshaft centre main bearing suffers most from the effect of wear, and that this wear is due chiefly to the effect of centrifugal force. Counterbalanced webs on each side of this bearing have the effect of reducing this wear.
In the case of some modern vehicles which carry loads of the extra-heavy kind, a return to chain drive has been made, but no effort seems to have been made to design asimple-and effective chain case. Only those who have had experience with even the crude chain cases of some years ago can appreciate how they proIcng the life of a chain and reduce the cost for renewals. The design of such a case should offer no hatarmountable difficulty.
Another form of drive which should be particularly suitable for use in extra-heavy vehicles is that used in some electric vehicles, where a pinion is mounted on the live axis and engages with three intermediate gears D5G
mounted on a spider and engaging with a rack ring in the hub. This arrangement would appear to have all the advantages possible, and as all the gears would be in a state of equilibrium it would enable a more efficient bevel gear to be used because the largest reduction in the ratio would be in the hubs themselves.
Chiswick, WA. ENGINEER.
Miniature Lorries Available.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
[37351 Sir,—It is with interest we note the letter you have received from D. N. Clements, Dublin, which you published in your issue dated April 19th -under the Ref. No. 3726 on page 337, and in reply we have pleasure in placing particulars of the vehicles we manufacture before you, as being suitable for the requirements of your correspondent.
The Reliance petrol truck is a most serviceable model which can be fitted up with a body 8 ft. long, which is very suitable for general uses.
JOHN REDSHAW, Director.. (For the Redshaw Lister Woollen Machinery Co., Ltd.) Beckmondwike.
Another Miniature Lorry Wanted.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—The letter from D. N. Clements re miniature lorries, published in The Commercial Motor dated April 19th, interests us very much, and should his letter bring any result we would be very pleased if you would kindly, pass the information on to us, as we have been on the look-out for just such a lorry as suggested by Mr. Clements. T. AND A. WALLACE. Banbridge, Co. Down, Ireland.
The Road and Rail Controversy.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
. [37371 Sir,—I have subscribed to The Commercial Motor since 1905, but I do not think I have ever perused it with greater interest than during recent weeks, although with many regrets. •If only the good people' who are now standing on their dignity had done so. some 10 years ago, the position to-day would have been better. Obviously, what is exercising nibst of them is road-transport's defence against the aggressive attitude of the railways, but many are playing into the latter's hands because they glean from transport papers most of their information respecting road haulage.
All efforts, I submit, should be directed against the onslaught of the railways, whereas some of the correspondents are revelling in the domestic affairs of the road industry and making harmful admissions. The railways do not expose their weaknesses in public, or make public their plan of action ; all this is discussed in camera.
It is very difficult 'to uuderstand the ideas?,of spme haulier writers, For example, the railway Companies' recent "crisis" was heralded with "we have lost £16,000,000." "Rubbish," wrote a haulier, "I am certain the loss must be nearer 126,000,000." What strategy ! The very next week a railway official said, "We have lost over £20,000,000, and that is a modest estimate."
Again, the railways demand that road haulage rates should be published, so that they can " compete " with them. "Excellent," wrote a haulage contractor, " I maintain that the present muddle is intolerable, and all hauliers should work at published rates." This contractor also ridiculed the fact of railway companies charging a higher rate for sugar than for pig iron, but
I maintain that to be in order. Generally speaking, the higher the value of a commodity the higher the rate. This is necessitated by the companies having to supply box trucks, quicker service, shed accommodation or sheeting, etc.
Obviously, if cheap commodities were to be charged at the same rates as those for clear commodities, the cheap goods would have to stand a much increased rate, consequently, if still in existence, they would no longer be cheap. A 6-ton chassis carrying a box body weighing a ton should command higher carriage rates to compensate for carrying this deadweight, and, of course, the cost of the expensive body.
What surprises me is that a haulier should be complaining of the intricacies, absurdities or anomalies of railway rates, when it is common knowledge that the greater the muddle of railway rates the greater the benefit to road transport.
Incidentally, your correspondent Mr. E. Clifford is obviously a very able man, but I can assure him that, despite the evil of rate-cutting in the road business, he need have no sympathy with the railways on that consideration. They are as guilty as anybody. Their canvassers say, "Tell us the road rate and we will heat it," and the trader, more with the idea of getting rid of the worrying canvasser than anything, will say, "Oh, 25s. per ton," although in actual fact he may be paying 30s. per ton by road. The trader expects to hear no more and is greatly astonished weeks or months later to get a railway rate of 20s. per ton. Does the trader forthwith put his goods on rail? No! He promptly issues an ultimatum to the innocent road haulier, and the latter, hard pressed for work, agrees in many cases to work at the rail rate quoted.
The railways plead that road hauliers can ascertain the published railway rates and undercut them, and in theory this is correct, but in practice it is extremely difficult, indeed incorrect. A haulier in London, for example, can actually purchase a book containing the railway rates from London, but I believe that not one in 1,000 could understand the book, and even if he could it would be of little practical help, simply because the bulk of the traffic by rail is carried at "special" rates, and these can vary daily. Whilst some railway spokesmen argue as aforesaid, the majority argue just the opposite, i.e., that the reason road transport secures so much business is because it entirely ignores the rail rates, and charges on a cost basis, hence the inconsistency of railway arguments.
Ignoring all advice as to orthodox remedies for their complaint, the railways have now produced their big gun ; road transport must be strangled. Unfortunately, the present Government seems to be just as scared as its predecessors at the sight of a railway weapon, and, despite previous Royal Commissions, etc., succumbs to railway intrigue. My view of the newly formed committee is tantamount to saying to road transport, "Come on the carpet and show just cause or reason why you should not be annihilated," and, whilst I have the greatest possible respect for all the gentlemen of the committee, I look upon the procedure as more or less of a farce.
Much could be written on the question of licensing hauliers, but how can licences aid both the "house builder" and the "house breaker "? Has not the "house breaker" already given ample evidence of what he can accomplish with licences?
It 'is often suggested by pro-railway people that, whilst the enormous advantages of road transport are obvious, possibly a careful inquiry would reveal that after all it might not be national economy. I am con, vinced that this would result in road transport being acclaimed as a great national asset. If the taxation were removed from the road transport industry and the benefit passed on to the public, what an enormous boon it would be to trade For many years I have maintained that it would be more economical even to subsidize the railways up to a point than to allow them to wallow in their inefficiency and impose iniquitous taxation on road transport. The present system is a tremendous and direct tax on industry.
I look upon the railways as amongst the worstmanaged concerns in the country, and yet they receive the most favourable consideration. Naturally, the railways could not help the advent of the motor vehicle, but they most assuredly could have produced almost its equal by adopting containers and introducing railhead distribution schemes, etc.
Despite the past, traders tell me that although there• is a slight improvement with the railways it is only slight, and savours more of window dressing than anything; delays, claims and treatment generally are very much as of oid.
WALTER GAMMONS, Managing Director.
London, E.C.1. (For Walter Gammons, Ltd.)
Go-ordinated Rates for Coach Tours.
The Editor, TAT COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—I notice with interest from your "Operating Aspects of Passenger Transport" in a recent issue that the South Wales operators are endeavouring to arrive at some uniformity of rates for coach tours throughout the summer.
During the past few months Bournemouth operators, under the auspices of the Motor and Engineering Section of the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade, have appointed a special sub-committee to deal with this particular question, and I am happy to say that comprehensive schedules have been prepared and agreed to by the members of the Section, and these have been in operation for several weeks.
I do not suggest that the agreed schedules are iiifallible, but, no doubt, helpful information could be given to the South Wales Traders by the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade, and vice-versa on the data obtained, if the matter was opened up between them.
Bournemouth. C. J. POUNDS (Charlie's Cars).
The L.G.O.C. and Oil Engines.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—The report of the L.G.O.C.'s extended experience with high-speed oil engines, as expounded by the assistant chief engineer of the company, Mr. Durrant, in a recent lecture to the Oil Industries Club, makes very welcome reading to all those who have pioneered this progressive step in road transport. Briefly the conclusions arrived at are : (1) That there is a definite future for this engine for bus operation. (2) That it definitely introduces higher specific economy, i.e., irrespective of fuel prices. (3) That the immunity frem fire, both on the road and in the garages, is considered important, and would free us from all restrictions.
(4) That the enhanced acceleration capabilities and the well-sustained torque facilitate driving in congested areas.
(5) That protracted time for warming up is not necessary, thus saving time and reducing fumes in the garage. It has been generally recognized for some little time now that for goods work this engine is ideal, but many . bus operators were not convinced that it was ripe for passenger work. With such a sound and convincing report from the most important bus-operating company in the country, there is no longer any need for these
operators to doubt that the case for passenger work is now also proved very thoroughly.
Experiments were carried out on three types of engine—i.e., the Junkers opposed piston, the A.E.C.Acro head—later abandoned in favour of the A.E.C.Ricardo head, and the Gardner engine. Only two are now left in the competition, i.e., the Gardner and the A.E.C.-Ricardo head. Several of the latter are running, and one of the former. As a result, however, of the satisfactory performance of the Gardner engine, the chief engineer, Mr. G. J. Shave, has now asked his directors to authorize the purchase of a further important batch of Gardner engines, which are to be put into service on all routes for an extended run of sevmtl months. Thus it will boil down to a complete test of the direct-injection versus the chamber engine, which will be highly interesting and instructive to those who are interested in this subject.
We can now say that the high-speed oil engine has come to stay for all road-transport services.
Leeds. W. H. GODDARD.
Protection Against Skin Disease Caused by Oils.
The Editor, THE CommEsciAr, MoToz.
 Sir,—In your issue dated April 12th, under the heading "Loose Leaves," you publish a very necessary warning to those who are regularly in contact with Diesel fuel oils and paraffin, etc., hut if you advise that the hands should be washed thoroughly before exposing them to oil, and to apply antiseptic after they have been in contact with oil, you are, in my opinion, advising an added danger. The Manchester Committee on Cancer hits studied this matter thoroughly, and according to its 1931 report the only known protection is to rub with lanolin the parts to be exposed to mineral oil. I quote the following from the 1931 report, and it is based upon the experiences of a medical officer of an oil company which substituted lanolin for the castor oil previously used as a protective:— " The latest information is that all the younger workers are now entirely free from any skin eruption, but that improvement is not so uoticeable among the older men, although their condition shows a certain amount of amelioration. The fact that those who have been in contact with the mineral oil for a relatively short time respond to the treatment better than those who have been in contact for a longer period corroborates the results obtained in laboratory experiments that lanolin, rigorously applied to the skin of animals, will prevent mineral oils from causing tumours if it be applied early.; that it will hardly affect the yield of tumours if applied late; that it appears to have no influence at all on the march of benign tumour to malignancy."
Altrincham. H. F. O`BarsN, GOY. Director.
H. F. O'Brien and Co., Ltd.) Assistance for Administrative Staff in the Coach and Bus Industry.
The Editor, TEE CommEncIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—Can any of your readers inform me as to whether there is any organization or federation in existence with membership composed mainly of men holding administrative positions in the coach and bus industry?
You will appreciate that with the many mergers and re-organizations which are taking place throughout the industry there will be some of us for whom the future outlook is not particularly rosy, as the combining of operations under unified control must, of necessity, reduce administrative staffs.
I am wondering if there be some sort of federation into which we could pay subscriptions and which would take a sort of fatherly interest in us should we be suddenly thrown upon the labour market with very little chance of obtaining another berth in the industry in which we have spent the greater part of our business WouniEn. Hertford,