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Motorbuses in London.

4th January 1906
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Page 8, 4th January 1906 — Motorbuses in London.
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A statement of facts connected with the motor omnibus situation in London on January ist, 1906, will be not only of passing interest; it should be valuable, historically, hereafter. The gradual displacement of the motor omnibus in favour of the speedier aeroplane, which will possibly be bringing suburbanites so miles to their offices in 20 minutes, but which at present is literally and figuratively in the clouds, may have to be chronicled in the first number tit some future year. Before dealing with the present position, a few references to the state of the movement a year ago may well be given. There had been three experimental services in London previous to 1905. The first service was between Kennington and Victoria, worked by two internal combustion motors, which were too light in construction and power, and which ran on steel tyres. This service was not a success, and was soon abandoned. Another service of internal combustion motors was worked between Lewisham, Lee Green, and Elthain. The chassis was a Milnes-Daimler, with the driver mounted over the bonnet, and the body seated 27 passengers inside and out. The London Road Car Company tried a Thornycroft steam omnibus, with a 2ts. seated double-deck body. This ran between Hammersmith and Oxford Circus, via Shepherd's Bush and Notting Hill, and was provided with a cover over the upper deck


and exhaust steam off the passengers. This bus also ran on steel tyres : it was withdrawn after a three months' trial. The next service to come into operation was that started by the London Motor Omnibus Syndicate, Limited, between Oxford Circus and Cricklewood. Several Stirling omni buses were purchased for this route, and were run with such success that the London Power Omnibus Company, Limited, was formed to purchase further motors; the service was then altered to operate between the Marble Arch and Kilburn. On January 1st, 1905, this company had nine omnibuses working, all with single-deck bodies on twocylinder Stirling chassis. No. I had been the victim of a fire and was supplied with a new body on the old chassis. This body seats 14 passengers, whereas the earlier one seated only 12. No. 9 of the fleet was built in 1904, a year later than the others; it carries 16 passengers.

Thomas Tilling, Limited, and Birch Brothers, Limited, each purchased an experimental Milnes-Dairitler chassis in October, 1904, and these were working before the end of the year. The bodies, in both cases, were built by the latter company; Tilling's omnibus was put on the Peckham and Oxford Circus route, and Birch Brothers' omnibus was originally painted to work between Charing Cross and the Westminster Bridge Tramway terminus, but the directors decided that halfpenny services were too risky for experimental purposes, and put it to work between Baker Street and Waterloo. These two omnibuses proved so successful that Tilling, Limited, placed another order for 24, of which Nos. 2 and 3 were at work before the end of the year. Birch Bros. also placed orders for several further Milnes-Daimler omnibuses, and the second one was at work before the end of the year. They altered the route of their first bus, and on January 1st, 1905, both were running between North Finchley and Oxford Circus—a long journey, extending right out into the country.

The London General Omnibus Company imported a Fischer petrol-electric


and fitted it with a double-deck body. This vehicle proved to be so wide that special sanction had to be obtained for its employment, but after all official difficulties had been overcome, it was found that the petrol consumption was too great to allow the vehicle to be put into actual service. This company next purchased a Clarkson steam chassis, and fitted it with a single-deck body. This was put to work in October, 1904, and ran between Hammersmith and Piccadilly Circus for some time. It was found, however, that a single-deck omnibus could not successfully compete for London traffic, because of the low fares, and the small capacity. It was, therefore, withdrawn from service on June 7th, 1905, and is now for sale. In December, 1904, the company obtained an Orion chassis, and fitted it with an ordinary 26-seated horse-drawn omnibus body; the Hammersmith and Piccadilly Circus line was then selected for its trial. This omnibus proved, to the satisfaction of the directors, that internal combustion motors were destined to revolutionise omnibus traffic, and they at once decided to order a number of chassis, and to divide up the orders, in twos and threes, so that they should be able to test various makes before placing large orders.

The London Road Car Company placed an order for two Chelmsford chassis, but not until after the order given by the London General, and these were at work, with singledeck bodies, at the end of October, 1904. This company also found that single-deck omnibuses wouid not pay, and was successful in selling one bus to the Metropolitan Asylums Board in August, 1903, and the second one was sold later. In December, 1904, the company obtained an experimental Germain chassis, and a Durkopp chassis. Both of these proved the economy of petrol over horseflesh, and further orders for 12 Germain chassis and so Durkopp chassis were placed at the end of the year. The position, therefore, on January 1st, 1905, was that


was to be found in London. This total was made up as follows :— London Power Omnibus, 9 Stirling; Thomas Tilling, 3 Milnes-Daimler; Birch Brothers, 2 MilnesDaimler; London General Omnibus, i Clarkson and Orion; London Road Car, 2 Clarkson, i Germain, and

Durkopp. It will be seen from the foregoing that at January ist, 1905, experiments were being carried out by all the leading omnibus proprietors in London, and that the 34-seated double-deck omnibus had established its advantages.

Several flotations were promised to come out early in 1905, with a view to supplying the London public with large services of motor omnibuses. The first three companies to appeal for support were the London Motor Omnibus Company, Limited, the London and District Motor Bus Company, Limited, and the London Power Omnibus Company, Limited, whilst the majority of the old companies issued further share capital or debentures. As an exception to this rule, the London General Omnibus Company, Limited, decided to (purchase motor omnibuses out of revenue, and set aside k40,000 for this purpose. This journal, as the official organ of the Society of Motor Omnibus Engineers, has published the results of successive counts, in order to record the gradual increase in the number of motor omnibuses on the London streets; nothing is left, therefore, but to consider the situation on January ist, 1906. We do this in our usual form, showing both the number of omnibuses owned by each company or individual, and the number of each make. Many of the omnibus companies have recently taken delivery of further chassis, but have not yet got them into service, and it must be remembered that our published records only include those licensed and put in service. To make the return more complete, we add some particulars of each service and compare the number of omnibuses under repair with those earning money on the first of the present month. As mentioned above, the three single-deck steam omnibuses are no longer doing public service, and we have also excluded from the list four omnibuses which have been out of service for some time, although they were running during part of 1905. It will be observed That the total of 20 vehicles a year ago, now


Details are as follows :—London Motor Omnibus, 58; London Road Car, 53; London and District, 26; London General, 23; Thomas Tilling, 16; London Power Omnibus, 12 ; Associated Omnibus, 9; New London Suburban, 6; Birch Brothers, 5; Star Omnibus, 5; G.E.I..S.T. and Omnibus, 4; Henry Turner, 3 ; Victoria Omnibus Company, 3; City and Suburban Motor, 2; Mellish and Boffin, 2; French, 1; Jenner■,,, ; and Pat Hearn, I. The division as to makers proves to be—Milnes-Daimler, 104; Durkopp, 24; StrakerSquire, 22; Bussing (per Sidney Straker and Squire, Ltd.), 15; De Dion-Bouton, 13; Germain, t3 ; Stirling, 12; Leyland-Crossley, xi; Orion, 6; Wolseley, 4; Brillie, 3; Clarkson, I; Rolls, x z ; and Scheibler, x.

The accompanying map of the London motor omnibus routes; which is up to date, has, marked against each road,

the number of motor omnibuses per hour passing in one direction. These figures give a reliable measure of the density of motor omnibus traffic in various parts of London : all are


As might have been expected, the busiest thoroughfare is the Strand, where so motor omnibuses pass in each direotion per hour. The next busiest point is on the Edgware Road, at Maida Vale, where 30 motor omnibuses pass in each direction per hour. The route shown in dotted lines, between Putney and Richmond, is worked on Sundays only by the " Arrows " and the " Road Cars."

THE LONDON POWER OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD.—This company has been so satisfied with the working of the Stirling single-deck omnibus that a further order for too chassis of this make has been placed with ScottStirling, Limited, whose works are at Twickenham. It was originally intended that 5o of these should be single-deck omnibuses, and so double-deck omnibuses, but four of the single-deck type, which have been put to work out of this order, will end the company's orders for that class. Eight double-deckers are delivered, and will be put to work in a week or two, and the rest of the order, notwithstanding the delay involved, will be fitted with this design of body. The company has, very wisely we think, decided to send all the old omnibuses, some of which have completed three years' service, to be overhauled at the Scott-Stirling works; the service in consequence is being maintained with seven single-deckers, six of which are on the road, and one in reserve. No. 8 omnibus, which was very seriously damaged in a collision, and cannot be put to work again for some time, is not included in the foregoing list.

THOMAS TILLING, LTD.—Tweniy Milnes-Daimler chassis have been delivered, but three of these are used for the motor mail between London and Brighton, whilst one is a breakdown lorry, so that only 16 are actually used as omnibuses. At the time our census was taken on January ist, 12 of these were at work, and four under repair. The company has also placed an order for six Straker-Squirt omnibuses, after an exhaustive trial, and these. will be delivered in March next; a Dennis omnibus is on trial now. All the Tilling motor omnibuses are running between Peckham and Oxford Circus, but it is intended to work the next omnibuses

delivered between Lee Green and Peckham, which is a very severe road, with stiff gradients, on which chain horses have hitherto been employed. A new garage for this service is ready, and awaits delivery of the new chassis now on order.

BIRCH BROTHERS, LTD.--Four MiInes-Daimlers and one Leyland are reported here. Three of the ManesDaimler make were at work ; one between Cricklewood and the Law Courts, and two between Finchley and Oxford Circus. The Leyland was in service between Charing Cross and Chalk Farm. This company had also put a fifth Milnes-Daimler to work on the Finchley route, but it was, a fortnight ago, the victim of a conflagration, in which the front part of the body was completely wrecked.

LONDON GENERAL OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD.— This old-established company has now five Milnes-Daimler, three Orion, one Bussing, one Straker-Squire, two Leyland, one Briilie, four Wolseley, and six De Dion omnibuses—a total of 23 vehicles. Of these, one Milnes-Daimler runs between FinchIey and Oxford Circus; two, also MilnesDaimlers, between Charing Cross and Chalk Farm; and all the remainder are on the Crieklevvood and Law Courts service. At the time our census was taken, six of these were under repair, viz., one Bussing, two Orion, two Wolseley, and one Milnes-Daimler, so that 17 out of the 23 omnibuses were at work. This company has now on order a very large number of Straker-Squire and De Dion chassis, of which deliveries are being made every week.

LONDON ROAD CAR COMPANY, LTD.—We have already mentioned that, as a result of the experiments of 1904, this company placed an order for 12 further Germain chassis, and so further Diirkopp chassis. After the Olympia Show of February, 1905, a Clarkson double-deck chassis and a Bussing chassis were taken over, since then

• 25 of the Chelmsford chassis are now on order, and no less than Igo of the Bussing chassis—the latter to be made under the same patents, by Sidney Straker and Squire, Limited, at Bristol. At the time our census was taken, this company had out on the road 6 Germain, 18 Diirkopp, i Bussing, ii StrakerSquire, and t Clarkson, or 37 out of a total of 53 omnibuses owned. The Germain omni

buses are running between Putney and Charing Cross, the Bussing and Straker-Squire omnibuses between Putney and Burdett Road, and the Diirkopp and Chelmsford vehicles between Hammersmith and Charing Cross, via Shepherd's Bush and Notting Hill. There were 6 Diarkopp, 3 StrakerSquire, and 7 Germain under repair, or 30 per cent. of the total rolling stock. Experience has proved that the Germain engines are too small for the work expected of them. The first step was to take them off the Notting Hill route, and to put them on from Putney to Charing Cross, but even then it was found that the hills in the Haymarket, Piccadilly, and Stamford Bridge were too severe for the h.p. of these engines. The Road Car Company has arranged for more powerful engines for these cars, and they are sending the old ones, a few at a time, to Germany, in order to have them changed. This accounts for the large number of Germain vehicles apparently " under repair."

LONDON MOTOR OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD, • This company started operations in March, 1905, and all its omnibuses now bear the distinguishing appellation, " Vanguard." It is the real

PIONEER OF' TUE. NEW scuoot in the Metropolis, and has " set the pace " in more senses than one for many boards which might have been sleepy still but for its existence. The first service was instituted between Kilburn and the Law Courts, and was ultimately extended at each end, the buses now running between Cricklewood and the Elephant and Castle. The second service to be opened was between St. John's Wood and Victoria, and this, again, has been extended at each end, so that it is no v EinchIcy Road Station and Ebury Bridge. A third service is in contemplation, and three buses are running, as heralds in advance, between the " Boston," Kentish Town, and Piccadilly Circus, via Camden Town and Albany Street, an extension along the Cromwell -Road will follow. This company possesses 58 omnibuses at the present time, of which 56 are MiInes-Daimler, one a Scheibler, and one a De Dion : it thus takes pride of place in numbers. They are all doubledeck 34-seaters, with the exception of a special MimesDaimler whichwhich runs between London and Brighton, leaving the Hotel Victoria at 9 o'clock each morning, and returning from the Old Ship Hotel at 4 o'clock. At the time our observations were made on January 1st, the Scheibler and 18 of the Milnes-Daimler vehicles were under repair, so that there were 39 working out of 58.

THE STAR OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD.—Three NEInes-Daimler and two Brillié omnibuses, which are billed to run between Peckham and Oxford Circus, have been received. On the 151 of this month, one of the Bri11i6 and one of the MiInes-Daimler were under repair, so that three out of five omnibuses were on the road.

MR. HENRY TURNER.This Camberwell owner has purchased two Milnes-Daimler and one De Dion. These are on the Peckham and Oxford Circus route, and they were all at work on Monday.

THE. NEW LONDON SUBURBAN OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD.—This company purchased motor omnibuses, originally, with the intention to confine its operations to the very severe route between Surbiton and Kew Bridge, but it was found that this service required small omnibuses at short intervals, and that there was nor enough traffic to justify the employment of large double-deckers. All Ilie machines have, consequently, been transferred to a new route between Chalk Farm and the Law Courts, via Kings. way. There are at the present time six Leyland vehicles in use, and all six were on the road on January 'se FRENCH LIMITED.—This was a small company with a nominal capital of .'too, formed by Mr, C. W, French, who is the managing director, to work motor omnibuses

in substitution for his horsed omnibuses. One Mime'Daimler was put to work between Finchlev and Oxford Circus, but it has experienced considerable mechanical trouble, and has now been laid up for two or three months. We have, therefore, not included it in the returns.

ASSOCIATED OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD.--Mr. P. IVilling Tibbs is the managing director of this company, and he is increasing its stock of motor omnibuses very rapidly. The present fleet consists of five Milnes-Dahnler, three De Dion, and one Rolls, all nine of which were at work on January 1st. The company works in association

with the London General, and the first motetomnibuses were put to work between East Finchley and Charing Cross. They were afterwards moved to run between Chalk Farm and Charing Cross, via King-sway, where seven arc• now at work, to oppose the New London Suburban Omnibus Company, whom the associated companies considered were poaching on their preserves. Two omnibuses run on the Cricklewood and Law Courts route.

THE CITY AND SUBURBAN MOTOR OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD.—Two De Dion omnibuses, which run between Brixton and Oxford Circus, are the plant here, and both of these were at work on Monday.

GREAT EASTERN, I,EYTON, STRATFORD, TRAM-. WAY AND OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD., is a company that was formed to take over omnibus work in connection with the Lea Bridge and Leyton tramways, and which maintains omnibus services throughout the districts of Wal. thamstow, Forest Gate, Stratford, and Plaistow. This company has been experimenting with motor omnibuses, and for some time ran one Leyland and one Bussing. It has nowobtained another Bussing and a Straker-Squire, sothat there are four in all, of which three were working on January 1st ; one Bussing was under repair. The motor omnibuses are at present running between St. James Street, Walthamstow, and Stratford Broadway, via Hoe Street and Leyton, at intervals of a quarter of an hour.

THE VICTORIA OMNIBUS COMPANY, LTD.---Mr. Charles Glover is the managing director, and he is running three Orion omnibuses, one of which plies between Cricklewood and the Law Courts, and the other two between Cricklewood and Victoria. All three were at work at the time our census was taken.

LONDON AND DISTRICT MOTORBUS COMPANY, LTD.—Operations on the road began three months ago, with a service between Putney and Charing Cross; this has now been extended to Waterloo Station. These omnibuses are all named Arrow, and each carries a white arrow over the driver's canopy. All the omnibuses delivered to order have been Bussing and Straker-Squire, viz., it Bussing and six Straker-Squire, but 9 Milnes-Daimler vehicles were purchased from the Isle of Wight Express Motor Syndicate, Limited. On January 1st, 8 Milnes-Daimler, to Bussing, and s Straker-Squire omnibuses were at work, being a total of 23 out of 26..

PAT HEARN. This name is well known to all who use London omnibuses as that of one of the largest private proprietors. Not to be left behind in the race, he has ordered motor omnibuses, and at the present time has one Milnes-Daimler on the road between Peckham and Oxford Circus.

MELLISH ANT) BOFFIN.—A firm of estate agents, whose partners have started a service of two Milnes-Daimler single-deck omnibuses, seating 14 passengers each, between Ealing and the West Eler's Estate. The service is mainly for the convenience of residents on that estate, but also takes any passengers who offer. These buses, which were previously employed at Bishop Auckland, are able to maintain a quarter-hourly service over this route.

THE PIRATE—This class of omnibus—and the term conveys no reflection, be it noted—has also appeared amongst the motor services, and at the present time one is running very successfully between Cricklewood and the Law Courts, under the management of Mr. Charles Jennery. This is a 36seated Leyland, and it was running merrily on January rst.

It will thus be gathered that the motor omnibus is now firmly established in London. We prophesied that at the end of toos there would be nearly 300 at work in London. In point of fact, this number would have been exceeded hid there not been unexpeoted delays in obtaining delivery. The Metropolitan Police, who are the licensing authorities for Greater London, are exercising great care in the selection of suitable buses. The Chief Commissioner has prepared draft regulations dealing with the dimensions of the chassis and body, and these will shortiy come into force.

Pressure on OUT space this week necessitates our holding over severa! in paiwgrafiks con.:erning proviar ial omnibus undertakings. Important new features will be added to The Motor Omnibus World" from next week.

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