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10th March 1944, Page 32
10th March 1944
Page 32
Page 35
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

has, I think, done very well to I--Adraw attention to the invaluable and often heroic work done by the men of the R.A.S.C. behind the front line in the various battle areas. In fact, the words " front line " are to some extent a misnomer, because in these days men well behind the line run risks which are almost comparable with those in advance of them.

To go still farther back, as Lord Strathspey has said, the British railways, with the enormous amount of additional work thrust on them, not only in the movement of troops and equipment, but also in the carriage of munitions of war, have done a great job—but they arenot the only ones. I am afraid too often the work of the lorry driver and his mate are overlooked.

There is, I think, too little knowledge on the part of the .country of the wonderful achievements in the carrying of goods by road, right from the early days of the war. Many very large-scale operations were carried out by the road-transport industry on its own initiative and by its own organization, with the minimum of waste and the maximum of service to the public in the way of certain and prompt delivery of food and other materials, which have enabled the civil population to sustain the difficulties of war.

It is not my purpose to give any detailed account of these, but there are certain exceptional achievements, such as dealing with congestions of goods at ports of arrival, the faithful carriage of merchandise and food throughout the whole of the blitz period, and the readiness of the road-transport industry to accommodate itself to -Government policy by seeing its legitimate traffic transferred to the railways, whilst, at the same time, being ready to resume operations to the fullest extent when railways have been put out of action or when traffic consigned to them has proved too great for their ability to carry.

Some day, perhaps, the full story of the part played in our war effort by these drivers, their assistants and their employers, may be told. It is enough to record at the moment that the reliability and the elasticity of our road-transport services have been of the utmost value to the Nation in these five strenuous years. . Lord Strathspey refers to the established fact that the 1,500-mile advance of an army on the frontiers of Egypt to Tunis, with the consequent liberation of a continent from the tyranny of our enemies, was achieved on a basis of supplies brought by road. That monumental success has been matched day in and day out by the work of road transport in this country, and this in spite of difficulties and dangers of every kind.

H. E. CRAWFORD, President, Associated Road Operators, Ltd. London, S.W.1.

A DRIVER'S VIEWS ON WAGES WITH reference to the article by S.T.R., "A Rational VV Method of Assessing Wages," published in your issue dated December 24, in this he states that the operating costs have increased by, roughly, I2i per cent. Whilst I cannot dispute this, I do know that fuel is 100 per cent; more expensive and tyres have risen by practically a similar amount per mile run. I have the idea that the .total -operating costs are higher by nearly 30:per cent.. against the rise of 17 per cent, in drivers' wages.

I agree, however, that the working conditions have much improved in recent years, but many hauliers who started 20 years or so ago with one lorry now operate 20 to 30, and the men who worked day and night for them are not always remembered. .

It has taken drivers many years to remedy the previous bad state of affairs, and We do not want any ratecutting at their expense.

My objection to a bonus scheme is that now we have some measure of unity and security, it Would be foolish to revert to a scheme which may promote competition amongst ourselves. Every driver thinks he is as good as another, and to grade them Might cause ill feeling. There is another factor of importance. Some men, by speeding and curtailing meal times, rush their jobs in order to curry favour with their employers. If they act in this manner .now, what would they do if a bonus scheme were to be introduced?' H, HOLT. Knottingley.


"DURING the early days of the war, I said a good many things which I feel are as correct to-day as they were then, about the futility of considering producer gas as any worth while alternative to imported fuel, but was so severely taken to task by the many enthusiasts of those early days—of whom many have " eaten their words "—that I decided to retire from the unequal contest, and let those who liked the idea get on with it.

In the technical Press, both in your own paper and others, there seems to be a recrudescence of enthusiasm for this form of fuel, and, if this be possible, more fantas: tic arguments are put forward for its use than ever before. Not only do people, who should know much better, on the basis of experience, and knowledge, continue its advocacy, but even the Director of Alternative Fuels, who can hardly be expected to know anything about it (based on the general experience of' Government serviCe) has, in his various lecture tours around the country, put forward such fantastic reasons and so many mis-statements, that I feel I must, for the sake of my own conscience (which I know you will agree does not amount to very much) just introduce one or two realities into the correspondence and lectures.

It is hardly likely that anyone can deny the following points, a few of many which could be put forward as food for thought : In the period of two years, with tremendous effort, hold-ups due to demands in other directions for manpower, etc., there have not been more than 2,000 plants put into service. How, then, in the case of the situation suddenly worsening against us, although we are advised by many people competent to speak, that hostilities will cease in Europe this year (and, incidentally, that we have won the Battle of the Atlantic), is it proposed that 50,000 plants could be manufactured with less facilities than, say, of a huge works like the Ford Motor Company at Dagenham, starting production and working day and night for 12 months?

It. cannot be denied that the Ministry of Fuel and Power has already advised the country that in no ciremnstances could it provide fuel fbr more than 50,000 plants. This was in tho days when there was no immediate prospect of a coal shortage. To-day, the situation is vastly different,when* industry is held up for lack of supplies, and lii

and other causes in the mines. Yet Mr. F. G. Smith, in his latest speech at Leeds, suggests that the 450,000 commercial vehicles in the country might at any sudden moment be required to operate on producer gas. Where, now, is the background of fuel for 50,000 vehicles?

The man-power situation is so desperate at the Moment, that deferments. are being cancelled. for all under 39 years of age, yet even the maintenance-required daily to start the plants operating, apart front repairs, requires not less than a further 121. million man-hours per annum. Where is it available?

Whilst if all promises Came to fruition, and 50,000 vehicles did, in fact; run on producer gas and did not use petrol, surely the loss of ton-miles must offset any saving. No one -denies that producer as is 40 per cent. less efficient than petrol, so that however you may trans. late this loss of efficiency, the ultimate result must be measured on a road vehicle in ton-miles. Nor can it be denied that if, again, all saving envisaged in petrol came about, the net result in imported fuel and use of shipping is rather less than one tanker per month.

Is this saving worth the immense effort in man-power, material, time and thought, the usage of coal and the loss of carrying capacity? Would not the easiest way of saving one tanker a month be merely to ask all operators to maintain their ton-mileage figures with, say, a 10 per cent. reduction in petrol? Thus the economy scheme would apply to everyone and not to selected unfortunates who do not know whether they are being compelled or cajoled. I feel sure, too, that -no operator would say. it was beyond the bounds of possibility for all his vehicles to carry an extra 10 per cent, of load, without. increase in breakdown or any appreciable rise in petrol consumption.

Should the situation become so desperate that 50,000 civilian vehicles running on producer fuel are all that stand between us and defeat, are we, in fact, winning

the war? JOHN B. WALTON,

Director and Chief Engineer, London, S.E.1. S.P .D., Ltd.


PRESUMING that the proposals of the eight signatories to " The Road Carrying Industry and the Future " are to be considered seriously, why should not the smaller men retaliate with some of their proposals? For example, why not limit the tonnage owned by any hanlier to, say, 100 tons unladen? In my view, this would benefit the country and it would be a revelation to the bigger men. It would provide a better service to the customer, and such service could be made a condition of survival.

Another benefit would be to the employees. They would receive better treatment, not merely hope for it.

Hauliers might then depend more upon each other for that wonderful thing, mutual assistance, whilst the owner of a fleet might even learn how to drive a wagon at night.

The life blood of transport is the private haulier, whilst the customer is the only person who should decide how his goods shall be carried—after all, he pays for this. Whether the service be by rail or road, by Harry and Co., or just plain Bob Martin, the decisive factor is service; those who can give that can safely carry on '

No good is to be attained by shutting our eyes to the fadt that these bigger men are serious in their intentions towards the industry and its future. They seem to be determined to get what they want, not necessa_rily what they deserve or What they could earn by their own efforts What we smaller men .want are powerful leaders. We already have plenty of " passengers," but to the smaller hauliers I would say join your association, don't take all and give nothing; and to the traders, don't let yourselves be hoodwinked by monopolistic-minded bogymen. You do the paying, you know who has given you the best work, and you want to be free to decide how your goods shall go. Let your own leaders know what you think, and let them • act before you, too, are put on the lead and muzzled.

Finally, to all readers, send your copies of this journal to the Forces. They will appreciate them, especially those who were in the haulage business before the war. Undoubtedly the troops will be delighted to know that the big timers are so keenly interested in their future welfare that they propose to keep them shut out of the business—all, of Course, with the best of intentions.

Leeds. G. SCOLES.

I WOULD like to comment on the articles by

" Tantalus " and Mr. E. B. Howes in your issue dated January 21. I suggest that any credit for courage should go to these two, not to the authors of " The Road Carrying Industry and the Future." The latters' suggestions are sheer audacity.

As regards some of the signatories being prominent members of associations, other members who are likely to be affected by their scheme should see that they cease to be prominent, and if they meet them at any gatherings of hauliers they should get up and say publicly that they. disapprove of such activities. There is too much hand-clapping amongst our people.

You seldom hear of any of the big concerns offering struggling hauliers any of their surplus work, but they are always ready with the cash to buy them out where possible. R. ELWICK. London, N.12.


WHILST jet propulsion has come as a surprise to IT many people, a good deal has been published on this subject during the past few years. Most of the information made available has referred to Continental experiments just prior to the war, but one point is clear, it is the progress in metallurgy which, alone, has made possible certain essential elements of design.

In the past, many promising machines have been developed on paper, but, for reasons of stress, extremely high working temperatures or other inescapable factors, the materials available have been the weak link in the chain.'

Too much emphasis cannot be put upon the need for still more intensive scientific research. British preeminence in this direction is one of our greatest industrial hopes for the future. Aircraft production, prime movers of afl types, shipbuilding, the extension of scientific welding in its varied applications, and many other branches of engineering are all dependent upon the progress made by metallurgical science, the fullest encouragement of which is paramount to the well-being of future trade.

C. W. BRETT, Managing Director London, S.W.6. (For Barimar, Ltd.).

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