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11th May 1905, Page 1
11th May 1905
Page 1
Page 2
Page 1, 11th May 1905 — CONTENTS.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?











The Free Use of Bridges.

It is provided by section r, sub-section (a) of the Locomotives on Highways Act, 1896, that "the Council of any County or County Borough shall have power to make by-laws preventing or restricting the use of such locomotives upon any bridge within their area, where such a Council are satisfied that such use would be attended with damage to the bridge or danger to the public." This portion of the statute unquestionably placed very great powers in the hands of local authorities who might be wishful to discriminate unfairly against heavy motorcars. Whether from the fact that relatively few motor wagons have come upon the roads during the past eight years, for there is only one heavy motorcar for every eight traction engines in the country, or whether from failure by the councils to realise the powers that had been conferred upon them, we are unable to say, but we have not seen recorded a single instance where action was taken under the sub-section referred to in respect of the weight of heavy motorcars. Such freedom from local interference is'. most unusual, especially in view of the absolute freedom granted to upwards of two hundred distinct authorities to make their own by-laws regardless even of any confirmation at the hands of the Local Government Board. Fortunately for owners, now that heavy motorcars are being adopted in increasing numbers, the recent Order under section 12 of the 1903 Act gives protection to the motor industry against any application of unjustified notices to a bridge. It is provided by Article 14 of the Order that where notices are set up concerning a bridge forming part of a highway, the notices must (a) be in suitable and conspicuous positions on the bridge and in each approach thereto ; (h) be clearly and distinctly legible and visible, as regards all their contents and subject matter, by persons approaching or being on the bridge; (c) be clearly distinguishable from other notices placed on the bridge, as regards shape, size, colour, and all other characteristics; (d) state that the bridge is insufficient to carry a heavy motorcar the registered axle-weight of any axle of which exceeds three tons or any greater weight which shall

be specified in the notices. These requirements are most reasonable, whilst the procedure specified in the second and third paragraphs of Article 14 furnishes the necessary safeguards against any wrongful restriction or prohibition, and it is to the courses which are open to users under these provisions to which we have now to refer.

The County Council for the West Riding of Yorkshire have, pursuant to the first paragraph of Article 14 of the Order, ordered notices to be affixed or set up on five bridges within their jurisdiction and in each approach to such bridges, stating the extent of the insufficiency of such bridges to carry motorcars with a registered axle-weight greater than three tons in four instances and greater than four tons in the remaining instance. We think that exception will immediately be taken by Yorkshire users to the scheduling of the Harewood Bridge, over the river Aire, which is on the main road between Leeds and Harrogate, and it is in this connection that we take the opportunity to point to the means that are at their disposal. Article 14 of the Order also provides that the owner of any heavy motorcar may give notice in writing to the person liable to the repair of any bridge to which notices are affixed to submit any dispute or difference regarding the terms of such notices to arbitration. If such person liable to the repair of the bridge neglects or refuses to become a party to the submission of the dispute or difference to arbitration, or, having become a party to the submission, neglects or refuses to concur in the appointing of an arbitrator, or to appoint an arbitrator or umpire or third arbitrator according as the submission or any agreement between the parties may require, any notice affixed to the bridge ceases to have any effect and must be removed forthwith. We commend the remedy of a written protest disputing the notice to any user who may have imposed upon his traffic any regulation which appears to him to be unreasonable or unnecessary in respect of any bridge forming part of a highway, and particulars of any such case should be furnished without delay to the Secretary of the Motor Van and Wagon Users' Association.

There is no occasion for users or intending users of light vans and lorries to pay attention to the bridge question so far as axle-weight goes, for all such vehicles are well within the limit of three tons. This freedom from certain risks of annoyance which attach to the heaviest forms of road transport is one of several advantages possessed by the smaller vehicles. They appear as a class by themselves in regard to their free and unmolemed passage along our highways, by virtue of their being in an intermediary position in the scale. Whereas pleasure motorcars, which often reach the same total weight in touring order, are frequently pulled up for exceeding the legal limit, there are less than half a dozen recorded cases of the kind as affecting the more sedate delivery van. These vehicles are equally exempt from persecution in districts where the local authorities neglect the roads and worry owners of heavy steam wagons, for their weight is never sufficient to furnish the desired plea however far members of the highways committee may stretch their imaginations. The happy path of a via, media is accordingly pro. vided in the use of machines having a weight unladen below and generally very greatly less than two tons, and purchasers whose trade allows them to make a choice may prefer the lighter vehicle and to avail themselves of its higher speeds. When a controversy can remain before the public for months together without losing its interest, we may conclude that the subject is one of live importance. The first serious public statement in favour of motor omnibuses, and one which at the time attracted, considerable attention, was made by Lieut.-Col. R. E. B. Crompton, C.B., in his presidential address to Section G of the British Association at its Glasgow meeting in September, 190t. Although the facts and figures put forward in that address had never been controverted, no concrete evidence of public belief in the motor omnibus %.vas forthcoming for some three years. The establishment of any real degree of confidence was coincident with the introduction of double-deck passenger vehicles in the Metropolis at the end of last year, though it must not be overlooked that considerable success had already been achieved hi the Provinces, notably at Birmingham, Eastbourne, flasting-s, and Torquay. We were recently able to give exclusive particulars furnished at an interview with Mr. Richard Tilling, the chairman of Thomas Tilling, Ltd., and the publication in our columns a fortnight ago of statistics proving that four motor omnibuses can do the work of three electric tramcars appears to have exploded the fallacy of the oft-quoted 2 : T ratio.

There are many points which admittedly require close discussion, but the most important features are unquestionably (a) capital outlay; (b) revenue and expenditure. Official returns show that there were 3/2 tramway and light railway undertakings in the United King-dorn at the close of the official year 19o3-4,for which the capital expenditure per mile of single track open amounted, for lines and works, to ;4;11 ,780, which was increased by another ..4,2.38 per mile in respect of cars and sundry items. But these figures do not disclose the true state of affairs, as the 2,900 miles of single track open, which are used as the divisor, really constitute only 1,840 miles of route. On this basis, which is the proper one, the capital expenditure per mile of route proves to be .4.18,566 for lines and works, and 4:6,679 for cars and sundry items. The number of cars employed totals 9,468, averaging 5.141 cars per mile of route open for public traffic. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that as many as four motor omnibuses are required, in average circumstances, to do the work of every three tramcars, and that each motor omnibus costs 4.900, the capital expenditure 011 a motor omnibus service would not exceed -177,000 per mile of route. In districts where a smaller number of omnibuses per mile of route was required, the amount saved on capital account might easily exceed three-quarters of what would be required for electric equipment. As a matter of fact, taking three natural stages in the progress of tramway services throughout the United Kingdom, viz., 1879, which was an almost wholly horsed period, 1898, which was a maximum steam period, and 1903-4, which relates to an electric period, the total capital expenditure is found to be £4,207,350 for 269 mils a route, 4.16,492,869 for 1,064 miles, and L46.451,444 for 1,840 miles. On the question of-revenue, it is amazing to find that the passengers per car mile actually show a retrogression compared with the Year 1898. Going right back to the horse period, we find that the average number of passengers per car mile was 7.77 over a total length of routes open for public traffic amounting to 269 miles, the gross receipts per annum reaching 1-1,099,271, or an average fare per passenger of I.84d. Taking the year 1898, which was a maximum steam period, we find the passengers per car mile to have reached 948, over a total length of route which had increased to 1,064 miles, yielding gross receipts per annum (rf ;64,56°,126, or an average fare per passenger of i.23d. For the year typical of electric traction, the passengers per car mile had fallen to 9.23 over a total length of route amounting to 1,840 miles, yielding gross receipts of ;0,604,884, or an average fare per passenger of LI rd. The margin between working expenses and gross receipts, calculated on the miles of route open for public traffic were, for the three years under discussion, L859, L989, and L;1,583 respectively. Diving further into these records we find that the profits per traincar per day, on the basis of 365 days per annum, were, allowing to per cent, of th.e cars to he in the shed and before charging interest or depreciation, 125. 841., I2S. and iSs. 2d. for 1879, 1898 and 1903-4 respectively.

The problem before motor omnibuses is, therefore, by no means of the appalling nature which many advocates of electric traction would like us to suppose. If a double-deck

motor omnibus can show a margin between working expenses and gross receipts of 135. 8d. per day, it is every whit as attractive a proposition, financially, as electric traction. In view of the fact that the omnibuses which have recently been put on the streets of London are showing a margin which is at least treble this, the future seems clear.

Our Special Issues.

It will be within the recollection of many readers of " THE. COMMERCIAL MOTOR" that a 12-page illustrated supplement was included with several thousand copies of our issue dated March 23rd, and that this portion of the number dealt with matters of interest to the Indian and Colonial markets. At the same time, by reason of our arranging that the section referred to should be part of "No. 2," which also contained our full report of the Agricultural Hall Show, the 40 pages in that one complete copy served as a comprehensive review of the whole industry. The Brewing Trades issue of April 13th was chiefly made, up, as regards the 12 pages reserved for the purpose, of valuable testimony supplied to us by users in all parts of the country, and not a few congratulatory messages have reached us concerning its nature and arrangement ; further, our 'supporters report highly satisfactory enquiries as one result from the several thousand copies which were mailed. We present to-day our third missionary number, which, by the time these pages appear, will be in the hands of the principal laundries in the United Kingdom. In doing so, we wish to direct attention to the fact that there is nothing approaching resemblance between the three special numbers issued to date. It might be thought that a close similarity was unavoidable, and it obviously would be were any attempt made to give a detailed account of each system or vehicle. Such a course is out of the question. We deliberately reject any scheme involving wearisome repetition, and for three sufficient reasons. In the first place, the space at our disposal forbids it ; next, it i3 useless to render matter intended for special circulation either too ponderous or too long; finally, the motor van or lorry is only one consideration of many before the busy owner, secretary, or manager who prays for briefness. We regard it as a matter of principle to discard any form savouring of trade catalogues in series, and from this view is derived our determination to vary the method of handling these supplementary portions of our journal both in form and substance. There is much to be said for education by the eye, and we are inclined to attach greater importance to the likelihood of arresting notice that way in the. first instance, but we think it should be pointed out that the illustrations which are given must be accepted as typical rather than representing vehicles of exclusive merit.

The object of these extra issues is really attained by the posting—in distinctive wrappers appropriately marked and at great expense to ourselves—of copies to a wide circle of likely users. Let us suppose that z in 20 of the recipients becomes attracted to the movement. It is time enough to go into details then. The first problem is to awaken that degree of interest which shall lead to correspondence, and the necessary information to secure this step forward can be conveyed by the statements of fact to be found in our pages. The space allocated to our particular sections is occupied by references to improvements in construcfion, to results obtained by useis in the special trade where passible, to proved working costs, and to illustrations. In following the Brewing Trades number with one for the Laundry Trades, we have gone from one extreme to the other in two respects. The former trades use heavy trolleys almost exclusively-' the latter require light vans of large cubic capacity. The one industry already employs great numbers of mechanical vehicles successfully; the other is on the verge of placing orders widely. Hence it is impossible, did we wish it, to rival the numerous favourable reports from breweries by others from laundries, but, from the trade point of view, we should say it is of equal interest to peruse some of the letters that have reached us already from 'laundry managers who have seen the advance notices of this issue. It is better for the motor industry to circularise the advantages of self-propelled traffic into comparatively new fields than to spend energies only over old spheres, and we shall not hesitate at breaking fresh ground. To members of the motor industry it is our duty to say that they must design their chassis to allow more and more capacity in the body that is to be put upon them. The cry for greater cubic content in proportion to weight is by no means limited to the laundry trades.

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