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Research "on the Ground" Pays: Experience with Vehicles Overseas

10th December 1948
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Page 33, 10th December 1948 — Research "on the Ground" Pays: Experience with Vehicles Overseas
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

A NEW model which Albion Motors, Ltd., sent experimentally to Africa, ran for a year under the maker's control, and showed up a number of difficulties which exhaustive testing at home had failed to indicate. The company was able to incorporate the results of the test in later models which went to Africa, and that action was favourably received by customers there.

Mr. H. W. Fulton, managing director of Albion Motors, Ltd., mentioned this example of practical study of overseas requirements during a discussion on his paper, "Export Vehicle Design," at the November meeting of the NorthEastern Centre of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Automobile Division).

Why Rear Axles Broke From his experience before the 1914-18 war, when he was with Napier's, Mr. F. R. Cowell, of Kirkstall Forge, Ltd., gave an instance of design modification to meet special conditions in a particular export market. Napier's, he recalled, was mystified when there were rear-axle breakages on every one of a number of heavy vehicles sent to Brazil, although similar vehicles were giving satisfactory service in other parts of the world. Sent to Brazil to investigate, Napier's chief draughtsman found that the trouble arose from the road ruts caused by the specially designed carts used by the Brazilian sugar-cane industry.

These carts had very wide bodies to enable them to carry the maximum amount of cane, and their track was about 9 ins, wider than that of the Napier vehicle& Consequently, on the primitive roads, the Napiers broke their rear axles through the stress caused by running partly in and partly out of the ruts. The difficulty was overcome by fitting longer axles to correspond with the tracks of the sugar-cane carts.

Underfloor Engines Mr. Fulton's reference to design complications as between home and export vehicles, because of this country's adherence to the left-hand rule of the road, brought the suggestion from Mr. T. H. Parkinson, of Leeds Corporation, that the use of the underfloor engine would largely obviate such difficulties.

Mr. Fulton agreed that underfloor engines were practicable for single-deck buses, but if used in double-deckers they presented a big difficulty in the matter of floor height.

The idea of using underfloor engines in goods vehicles in the extremely wet and muddy conditions experienced overseas rather frightened him, Manufacturers were often asked for a vehicle that would go through a watersplash 2 ft. deep. Under those conditions, an underfloor engine would be wholly immersed. Although military vehicles employed in wartime operated in water 6 ft. deep, in day-by-day operation it would be difficult to keep water seals in efficient condition. Mr. L. H. Challis, of the Ministry of Transport, Newcastle on Tyne, remarked rather plaintively that in all the papers he had listened to or read concerning vehicle design, "the poor old regulations have come in for a good hiding.'' Referring to a discussion that had taken place on comparisons between the ogulations in Britain and those overseas, he commented that such regulations were a reflection of the conditions in the country of origin.

Mr. Fulton admitted that there might be a case for retaining 7 IL 6 ins, as the general maximum width in this country, because at some points the roads were so narrow. "But I would submit," he added, "that there is no sense in permitting single-deck buses to be 30 ft, long if they have three axles and restricting them to 27 ft_ 6 ins, if they have two. It is equally difficult to understand why the unladen weight of goods vehicles may determine the speed limit."

Answering questions by Mr. Parkinson, Mr. Fulton said that undoubtedly there was a tendency for some overseas countries to prefer to assemble vehicles from components, but there were• also active markets where the local people's capabilities nowhere approached those of British workers.

On the "buy cheap and scrap" question, Mr. Fulton said that there were places where this policy might be justified, but there were also places where such vehicles would "fall down" within the first month. Overseas there was stilt ample room for British quality, and it was his strong feeling that this country should aim to develop export trade in vehicles on Britain's own basis of Quality. R.T.E. SEEKS COUNCIL'S ADVICE • ON AREA SCHEME 1 NVITATIONS sent to county and other local-government authorities in the north-east coast area by the Road Transport Executive, emphasize that at the meeting to be held in Newcastle on December 21, the Executive wishes to meet representatives of councils as such, and not as passenger-transport operators.

As reported in "The Commercial Motor" of November 19, preliminary conversations on the establishment of an area scheme for road passenger transport under the Transport Act, are to take place in the north-east. • Coinciding with the executive's interest in bus services in the area, an Omnibus Passengers' Protection Association was formed in Newcastle, last week, to awaken public opinion to the harm that nationalization of road passenger transport would inflict on the travelling public. Mr. C. V. H. Vincent, chairman of Jarrow Conservative Association, was elected chairman.

In a manifesto issued by the Association and signed by Mr. Vincent, it is pointed out that any integration of road and rail services in the north-east is likely to result in higher coach and bus fares and inferior services, all designed to reduce the losses which are now being incurred by British Railways.

The manifesto is directed to the citizens of Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland and the North Riding.

The transfer to London, of 200 provincial buses is described as " a typical example" of integration in practice.


IVIERTHYR Corporation is preparing an application to the South Wales Licensing Authority for an increase in bus fares. In the six months ended September 30 last, the undertaking has lost £6,000.


D EPRESENTATIVES of organized' IN. labour -and management discussed problems of co-operation between the two sides in transport at a meeting of the London centre of the Institute of Traffic Administration, last week.

Mr. W. Paice, speaking for management in road transport, called for the formulation of codes of behaviour for management and labour.

Mr. C. Prescott, represen:ing the Alicence driver, declared that more attention should be paid to the education of stewards and other workers' representatives in the task of negotiation. The trade unions should protect drivers against victimization as a result of reporting violations of Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act.

Mr W. Penman, speaking for the Clicence drivers, thought that much bad feeling in the transport industry was caused because many employers treated drivers as unskilled labour. Drivers should be consulted on the suitability ofvehicles for their work.

In summing up, Mr. A. J. Champion, M.P., said that the consultative committees representing management and labour should include delegates of the supervisory and lower managerial staffs, instead of only the top management at one extreme and the operatives at the other.


AGENTS in Brazil were pressing Willowbrook, Ltd., to go ahead with the production of an all-metal single-deck bus body of a type specially for export, said Mr. Arthur H. Johnson, 0.B.E., chairman of the company, at the annual general meeting last week. The first prototype was exhibited at the Commercial Motor Show and was being shipped to South America. Small initial orders for a similar type of body for Cairo, Athens and Denmark had also been offered.

To develop this new phase of the company's business, 361,111 shares at 2s. 6d. each are to be issued to shareholders.


REPRESENTING the management, Mr. Sam Duckitt, joint managing director, and other directors, recently entertained 140 employees of the Moss Gear Co., Ltd., whose aggregate length of serviCe totalled well over 3,640 years. Many of them have more than 30 years to their credit.


HEAD office of Hindle, Smart and Co., Ltd., electric vehicle and body manufacturer, has been moved to Merefield Works, Ardwick, Manchester, 12. Coupled with the removal have been certain changes in organization, which are intended to improve service for electric-vehicle owners.


SOME misunderstanding appears to have arisen over a report in last week's issue of a statement made by Major-General G. N. Russell. chairman of the Road Transport Executive, at a dinner meeting of the Institute of Traffic Administration. He said that it would

A32 be inappropriate for him on that occasion to deal with the question of rates • and charges, as the matter was under discussion by the British Transport Commission.


A JOINT report of the Mayor of PA Colombo (Ceylon), the manager of the municipal tramways and the municipal tramways engineer, recommends that a municipal transport monopoly should be set up in the city. The abolition of the tramways and the introduction of circular routes to be covered by trolleybuses or motorbuses run by the council are also recommended. The memorandum has been forwarded to the Minister of Local Government.


ANEW company, TI Aluminium, Ltd., has been formed to co-ordinate and pool the administrative, technical, research and marketing resources of the aluminium division of Tube Investments, Ltd. The companies involved are Reynolds Light Alloys, Ltd.. Reynolds Rolling Mills, Ltd., and the South Wales Aluminium Co. TI Aluminium, Ltd, started trading on December 1.

B.S. FOR MOTOR INDUSTRY QTANDARDS of direct interest to the 'kJ motor industry have been compiled in readily accessible form in Handbook 8, "British Standards for the Automobile Industry," published at 15s. by the British Standards Institution, 24 Victoria Street, London, S.W.I. The book includes 13 standards and 19 provisional standards of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, as well as many others of interest tO the motor industry.


THE company which, as already reported in "The Commercial Motor," is to be sponsored in India by the Austin Motor Co., Ltd., will be known as Ashok Motors, Ltd. It will have a capital of 075,000. Vehicles will be assembled from imported parts, but gradually the proportion of Indianmade components will be increased. A factory is to be constructed in Madras.


THE Institute of the Motor Industry will hold its first post-War annual dinner at the Dorchester Hotel, London, W.1, on January 6. Mr. George Tomlinson, Minister of Education, and Sir Frederick Handley Page will be present. Tickets, at 35s. each, may be obtained from the Institute, 40 Queen's Gate, London, S.W.7, not later than December 20.

SCOTLAND READY FOR SNOW MEARLY 50 snow ploughs. as well

as bulldozers, light ploughs and lorries, have been added to the fleets of snow-clearance teams throughout the North and North-east Scotland.

70,000 FERGUSON TRACTORS QINCE the Standard Motor Co., Ltd., 1,4.) began building Ferguson tractors, more than 70.000 have been produced, said Sir John Black, deputy-chairman and managing director, at the company's annual general meeting last week. More than 300 tractors a day were being manufactured, he said.


AN Abernethy haulage contractor, Mr. Michael R. Davidson, was told by Mr. A. Robertson, Scottish Deputy Licensing Authority, at Perth, last week, that he would have to bring forward evidence that the business he bought from his father had been carrying on, and that his father's customers were willing to support him. Application had been made for two B licences and an A licence. It was stated that Mr. R. M. Davidson, applicant's father, had sold the business to his son for £350.

Mr. Robertson pointed out that technically there was no busrhess in operation, because records showed that no petrol had been drawn from January this year, and that the vehicle had been sold in March. Applicant's father said that the business had been carried on by hiring from other hauliers.

The application for an A licence was adjourned, and two B licences, restricted to a radius of 12 miles from Abernethy, were granted.


ANEW piston-ring stock unit, comprising a nest of specially designed steel bins, is now being supplied by Wellworthy Piston Rings, Ltd., Stanford Road, Lymington, Hants. The racks contain permanent ring boxes, each with clearly numbered and marked labels. A desk-type permanent visible reference locates the appropriate box of rings in a few seconds.

In each box is a re-order card, showing current trade and retail prices, stock quantity and date of previous order. This card enables the rate of stock turnover to be checked easily. In reordering, all that is required is to fill in the cards and return them to the works. The piston rings are then sent with new cards completely filled in and ready to be dropped into the appropriate boxes.

TAXICABS NEED NOT STOP IN the King's Bench Divisional Court, 1 last week, itwas ruled that the driver of a cruising taxicab need not stop and accept a fare when hailed, but if the vehicle were stationary at a rank or after setting down a passenger, the driver must take as a fare any person who asked to be picked up, unless there were reasonable excuse for refusing.


BRITISH-BUILT Ford and Austin taxis will soon be making their appearance on the streets of Washing

ton. Both of 10 h.p., these British models have recently been granted licences to operate and it is understood that 50 Ford taxis will soon be in service. Plans for the operation of the Austin 10 have not yet been completed.


paint and its use are among the subjects dealt with in "Aluminium Paste," a new book, copies of which may be obtained from the British Aluminium Co., Ltd., Salisbury House, London Wall, London, E.C.2. Dennis and A.E.C. vehicles finished with aluminium paint are illustrated.

BIG ORDERS FOR A.E.C. IGHTY A.E.C. buses (46 Regent L-A Mark HI double-deckers and 34 Regal Mark III single-deckers) have recently been ordered by the South Wales Transport Co., Ltd. Other contracts have been placed by the Rhondda Transport Co., Ltd., for 41 buses (26 Regent and 15 Regal), the Devon General Omnibus and Touring Co., Ltd., for 31(14 Regent an 17 Regal),

• and the Trent Motor Traction Co., Ltd., for 30 (10 Regent and 20 Regal). Last year the South Wales company ordered 30,Regents, the Rh-mac/a concern 60, " Devon General " 26 and " Trent " 30.

Following contracts placed for 90 Regent Mark III buses, Halifax Joint Committee has ordered another 10.

Ipswich Corporation is buying A.E.C. double-deckers for the first time and has ordered six.

" RETURN-LOAD" TRICKS: 50 WITNESSES AT TRIAL TWELVE counsel, including four K.C.s, were briefed for the trial, which opened at Leeds Assizes on November 30, concerning charges of theft and receipt of goods now stated to be valued at about 128,000, alleged to have been stolen chiefly through a series of " return-load " tricks by men purporting to represent a London haul age firm. The goods include cloth. tyres, wireless sets and paint.

It was stated that over 50 witnesses were to be called, and the trial might last a fortnight. Two company directors and three lorry drivers were indicted, but the prosecution offered no evidence against one of the drivers, Arthur Jessup, aged 36, of Coombe Road, South Croydon, who was acquitted and discharged.


GLASGOW Transport Department is to have three of its existing fares. increased—two on the trams and one on the buses—Dr. James Welsh, convener, announced last week. The bus fare of 20. for five stages will be raised to 3d.

The corporation wished a complete revision of tram and bus fares, but the Licensing Authority and Ministry of Transport have indicated that they are prepared to alter only these three existing fares. Dr. Welsh said that the main effect of the changes would be the complete elimination of the lid. fare. They would bring in 1250,000 of the 1450,000 required.

WORKMEN'S FARES IN DANGER I F Bradford Corporation, seeking to avoid a threatened deficiency of over 130,00Q on the current financial year, were able to abolish workmen's fares, it is thought that the additional revenue would be about 150,000 a year. If the lime for general issue of workmen's tickets were cut from 9 a.m. to 8 a.m., it is estimated that there would be 125,000 additional revenue.

The passenger transport. committee has recommended to the city council that advice be obtained on the possibitity of abolishing workmen's fares and that,in the meantime, permission be sought to cease issue at 8 a.m.

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