rrIETE giant strides made by the British road-Itransport industry during
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the past few years have amazed even those who are not actually concerned in its many phases, whilst, on frequent occasions, we have heard expressions of wonderment at its progress from visitors from overseas.
The present volume of road traffic is such as would, not long ago, have been considered almost too futuristic to be possible, and we have by DO means reached finality in this respect. Not only are new services, both for passengers and goods, being opened up throughout the country, but the actual vehicles themselves are undergoing constant improvement, and it is to this phase that we draw attention.
On numerous occasions we have, on behalf of the user, laid stress upon various points in design which we have considered should be rectified or improved, and we must say that our suggestions have always been taken in the right spirit and every effort made to improve any fault which has been criticised.
Regarded as a whole, however, the average British-built vehicle is a marvellous example of engineering progress and one which does immense credit to its progenitors. There are very few foreign-built vehicles which can truthfully lay claim to a life equal to that of the average vehicle produced in this country. Designer, constructor, metallurgist and bodybuilder have all combined to produce vehicles second to none.
Prospects of the Overseas Trade.
From one point of view it may perhaps be regarded as unfortunate that there has been such a big home demand ; otherwise makers would have been more inclined to push their products abroad, where, When the excellent points of British Vehicles become known, they will, we believe, achieve a very considerzble success. Already several of our best-known makers have quite a satisfactory business overseas, and others are about to pay more attention to those markets where the tariff barriers are not so excessive as to kill their chances.
The past few weeks have seen the placing upon c17 the commercial-vehicle market of several new makes of chassis which have obviously received a tremendous amount of care in their design. At one time the commercial vehicle was looked upon almost as-a side line ; now it is occupying a leading position, is providing a more profitable business for its makers than does the private car, and is gathering strength.
The Commercial Vehicle Exhibition of 1927 was a revelation of the stamina possessed by the industry and of the activity prevailing in it, and we have no doubt that the exhibition which will take place towards the end of this year will provide further astounding proof of the ingenuity and far-sightedness of the British manufacturer.
The policy of The Commercial Motor has always been to assist in every way in advancing the interests of both user and maker. It has not hesitated to criticise when criticism has been considered necessary, neither has it been dilatory in awarding praise where that has been due.
Many of the leading characteristics of the modern vehicle, such as low loading, better braking and, in some cases, the use of six , wheels, owe their development in a great measure to intensive campaigns fought by us, often against severe criticism, in the interests of operators and the public.
We are proud to be associated with an industry which has so successfully overcome the extreme difficulties which it has had to face, particularly, those occurring just after the war.
Can Motor Roads be Built Over Railways?
"PROM Paris comes the suggestion of building 1' motor roads over railways, this, in the case of Paris, applying particularly to the Ceinture system, which would enable a free and rapid circulation of traffic around the city. • The idea certainly presents possibilities, but, If carried out.to any considerable extent, would unquestionably involve a great capital outlay, ••although not necessarily more so than would an overhead railway.
We suggest, however, that our railway companies, instead of employing transport vehicles to a greatly increased extent on our ordinary roads, thus aggravating the congestion which is steadily becoming a problem of increasing importance, should consider what can be done in the direction of utilizing elevated roadways.
Apart from the question of cost, the main difficulty we can see is in those cases where the tracks pass through tunnels ; here, of course, the elevated roadway, would have to leave the tracks and pass over oraround any obstacles pierced by the tunnels or a second tunnel be made. Such roads would serve for express .services, and the vehicles would leave them to deliver at intermediate points.
The idea may, at first, appear to be fantastic ; but we must always consider what the future is likely to bring, and it may well be that what might at present be regarded as impossible will then not only be possible but essential.
Wrong Impressions Damaging to the Industry.
TN its feature, "Points from Letters," con-1tamed in a recent issue of The Times, a reader is stated as having written that "he hoped that Lord Cecil's Road Vehicles Regulation Bill will embody a clause restricting the size of commercial vehicles and the weight of the load which may be carried. At present, it appears that any size of vehicle may be placed on the road, and a large percentage of them is now loaded far in excess of the weight for which they were originally intended."
We are surprised that such statements as these, which are so obviously a misstatement of facts, should be allowed to appear in a paper of the standing of The Times.
There are, of course, strict regulations governing the size and axle weights of all classes of commercial vehicles, whether they be used for the transport of passengersor goods, and it is damaging to the whole road-transport industry that erroneous statements of this nature should be freely circulated. Where overloading of vehicles takes place to weights above those legally permitted, action can be taken, and if the writer of the letter referred to Above had been observant he would have been able to read frequently in the daily Press of cases in which prosecutions for such overloading had been instituted.