Short-Distance Haulage by Tractors.
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The most ardent supporters of motor transpol :se ready Iii admit the difficulties of short-distance haulage. Where, loads have to be collected and delivered at each end of a short trip, say, one only a couple of miles in length, it is rarely that one finds people who have the necessary confidence in themselves, let alone in motor vehicles or tractors, to dispose of their horses and to adopt mechanical haulage, units-, the gradients are extremely severe. Probablythe most striking example of progressive action is to be found at County Cork, and we are satisfied that this departure, of which we are now able to give a few particulars, aught well be followed in many parts of the Union Kingdom.
Mr. Patrick Hallinan, a director of T. thallium) and Sons, I oil., whose " Snowflake," " Md1wheel," and other flours enjoy a large sale in many parts of the South of Ireland, was one of the numerous members of the mill:ng industry who attended and followed the third Lieerpiol nials. On that coeasion, during the first week in the mutt ii of June, 1901, it was demonstrated, notwithstanding the adverse ins Iluence of the three-ton limit of tare, that commercial motor vehicles had reached a stage in their development which justified the conclusion that the period of experiment was opproaching its close. Mr. Hallinan, however, after cellsultatIon with his brothers, Messrs. Edward and Joseph ktRiaan, concluded that he would " bide a Wit."
It will be remembered that there were no tractors in any of the Liverpool trials, this absentee seetion luring attributable to the unpreparedness of old-established traction-engine builders to let anything come under the public gaze which complied with the weight linuit named. It was not long, however, before Wallis and Steevens, Limited. of Basingstoke, was in a position to satisfy the Messrs. I lallinan that a reliable tractor was available for their purp.:ses, and the first of these steam horses arrived in Midleton on the isth February, 1905. This machine was what may be termed an odd pattern, with an unladen weight of 3.1, tons, but it proved so very satisfactory that a second and larger tractor was ordered, and this arrived at the mill on the .2nd January, 1906. Both these machines, together with one of the four troika's kvIrich were supplied by the same builders, are illustrated at the fix.g of this page : the smaller and older ene is to the right, and its driving wheels are six inches less in diameter than the five-foot drivers of the newer tractor.
T. I fallinan and Sons, Limited, is a companv which owns two modern flour mills, one each at Midleton :and Eerrnov, but tractors are at present only used in connenien with the first-named of these the Avoncore Mill. This mill is ei mile from the wharf at a place called Baylick, on one of the extremities of Cork Harbour, to which the wheat is brought in barges front Cork. One tractor does the haulage between this wharf and the mill, taking 40 sacks of 20 stone eat-h, nine times a day, as a load to the mill, and an average of something like five loads of flour in the reverse direction, the remaining journeys being performed "
The other tractor is held in reserve, as any failure of supplies would mean the shutting down of the mill after the comparatively small store of grain had been exhausted there,
whilst the third motor, which is illustrated on page 1 t, is employed for statioo and local deliveries. We will confine ourselves, on this page, to the working of the tractors. We have the permission of Messrs. flallinan te state, without entering Into detail, that they are well pleased with the behaviour of these Wallis and Steevens machines, notwithstanding early difficulties during the first few months of the working life of each machine, particularly in the matter of springs. As a proof, however, of the robustness of their construction, we may relate that one of them was overturned through the excessive politeness of the driver in drawing too much to one side of the road, in order that another vehicle might pass, whim -no damage beyond a broken funnel resulted. The machine merely had to pull itself out of the ditch, by the use of its own winding drum, though it did so at the cost of the uprooting of the telephone pole to which the cable had been attached. Each of these machines burns double-screened Penrikyber steam coal, costing Ms. per ton f.o.b. Cardiff, but the handling vibration and movement in transit necessitate further screeningat the mill. An average of nine trips each .way is performed daily, or a total mileage of 3 el miles for the tractor which is working, during which service 45 tons of wheat are brought front the wharf and a variable quantity of flour is taken in return; with an average of five mill-towharf loads, eight horses have been replaced, and the working cost has been reduced from Tod a ton to less than sd. per ton all round. We calculate, on !he figures to which Messrs. Hallinan allowed us to have access, that the cost, after allowing for interest and depreciation on the stand-by machine, is approximately nqd. per tractor-mile. The cost per net ton-mile is, therefore, only 2.7d. 1Ve are bound to point out, in fairness to everybody, that this successful application of tractors to short-distance haulage has been by the exercise of every care and forethought. The approach to the loading berth at the mill is an awkward one, but delay is avoided by the introduction of a block and pulley with a short length of haulingwire, by means of which the tractor, after drawing its trailer to the nearest convenient point, is able to lock round and pull its load into position, the release being virtually automatic. Next in order, the tractor picks up its waiting trailer, and on its straight-away run to the main road, passes both its coaling and watering stations. While at rest by either ef these, there is no obstruction to the ingress or egress of other machines or carts. To avoid delay over drawing up exactly in position to bad or unload, a small wheeling gangway, about 4 feet in length, is run from stage to trailer. On the occasion of our recent visit to Midleton, we called, at hazard, for the times of two days' work, between Avoncore Mill and Baylick, a distance, as stated, of ta mile, and these are :-14th February, 1908 : Left mill at 6.To, 7.25, 8.40, 10.15, 11.20, 12.25, 2.25, and 3.45; arrived back at 7.1o, 8.30, 9.50, Tom, 12.15, 1.20, 3.25, and 4.45. 3rd September, 1908 : Left mill at 5.50, 7.5, 8.15, 9.35, II, 12.5, J.10, 240, and 3.55; arrived back at 6.5o, 8.5, 9.15, 10.45, 11.55, r , 2.5, 3.40, and 4.55.