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The I.T.A. Road and Railway Debate

12th April 1932, Page 42
12th April 1932
Page 42
Page 42, 12th April 1932 — The I.T.A. Road and Railway Debate
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

AKEEN discussion between hauliers; railway men and traders 'took place at a meeting of the Industrial Transport Association, which was held at the Coventry Restaurant, London, on Tuesday of last week.

Mr. W. Oldham, M.Inst.T., traffic manager of the Vacuum Oil Co., Ltd., and Chairman of the Association, was in the chair. The subject was introduced by Mr. J. J. Hughes, M.Inst.T., of Peak, Frean and Co., Ltd., and chairman of the transport committee of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, and about a dozen others present at the meeting took part in the debate.

Among those who spoke for the railways were Mr. F. C. A. Coventry, the head of the road-transport department of the G.W.R., and Mr. B. G. Lindeman of the Mr. Roger Sewell, managing director of the London and Southern Counties Road Transport Co., Ltd., who described himself as "the villain who runs the 'fliers' from Penzance," took up the cudgels on behalf of road transport. Other speakers were Mr. H, R. Whichello, of Arthur Gammen, Ltd., Mr. C. C. Cramp, of Allen and Hanburys, Ltd., Mr. W. Bish, of the n24 Vacuum Oil Co., Ltd. Mr. E. G. Rumfitt, Mr. A. L. Bagley, Mr. A. H. Petford, of the Anglo-American Oil Co., Ltd., and Capt. C. Roberts, of Hovis, Ltd.

In the course of the discussion the thorny problem of road versus rail was explored at considerable length, and a large number of interesting points was raised, but nothing that seemed likely to offer a solution of the difficulties was arrived at.

A few points that arose in the course of the discussion are as follow :

The railways have helped to make England the first commercial country in the world, and they have enabled the haulier to attain the position in which he is to-day.

The railway must be the most economic method of transporting a large quantity of goods or passengers from point to point over a long distance.

Neither road nor rail should require a subsidy ; aerial transport alone, being as yet in its infancy, is entitled to help from outside.

British railways are efficient as compared with those of other countries.

In Germany road vehicles are prohibited from undercutting the railways for distances over 30 miles.

Railways are free to run at what speed they like; road vehicles must observe a limit.

Yet another blow, perhaps, in store for the railways would be the loss of their coal traffic, especially if coal was converted to power at the pit head, as was probable in the not-distant future.

In a particular case instanced by Mr. Sewell (to show how road motors helped farmers), it was explained that carcases can be collected at the slaughter-house 10 miles from the railway and run straight to Smithfield. Market in ventilated, insulated and pneumatic-tyred vans at a better rate than the railways can offer.

Hauliers may be free to refuse loads, but they deliver them at once, whereas, although the railways must take them, there is no compulsion as to when they deliver them. Furthermore, reputable hauliers accept the responsibility for damage and meet claims without delay.

Railways seem to show lack of interest, and cannot free themselves from the "monopolistic atmosphere" in which they have lived for so long; they are ever-staffed, perhaps over-stationed, and, the industry being on the decline, they find difficulty in reorganizing themselves on modern lines.

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