PROGRESS IN PASSENGER TRAVEL.
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The Latest Doings and Developments in the Bus and Coach World.
Day Tours from London.
A Brief Account of One of Six Tours RAIII by the L.G.O.Co.
A AR the London General
Omnibus Co., Ltd., with commendable enterprise, organized a series of day tours by motor coach from London, which were found to be extnemely popular not only with Londoners (who, generally speaking, know so little of the districts around' their native heath), but also with Americans and other visitors to this country. Only three tours were run last season, but the success which attended the efforts of the company on that occasion prompted them to extend their ramifications in this direction, and during this summer six conducted tours from the Home Counties are being run, as follow:—(1) Hindhead on Mondays; (2) St. Albans on Tuesdays (3) and -(4) Rochester and Windsor on Wednesdays; (5) and (6) Tunbridge Wells and Wendover on Thursdays.
The route covered by each tour has
• been carefully chosen with a view t) revealing to passengers the beauty spots which are characteristic of the scenery of the counties through which the vehicle passes, and at the same time the historical and literary associations of many of the villages passed en route are recalled by a guide who is well versed in the topographical and historical feature S of the districts. The length of each tour is about 90 miles, and in order to make the journeys as select as pcissible, only one coach, with accommodation for 21 passengers, is detailed for each tour.
We were recently afforded an opportunity of enjoying the beauties of Buckinghamshire on the occasion of a Press trip to Wendover and back. A start was made from St. James's Park Station at 10 a.m., and thence the route lies through Harrow and Pinner to Rickmansworth. Passing Rickmansworth Park, the road traverses Chorley Wood and crosses the Buckinghamshire border, and entering the charming little village of Chenies the route lies through Amersham.
The route is now through the country of Chiltern Hundreds, and, passing Shardelow Park and the waters of the Missbourne, the highway tra, verses Little Missenden and then skirts the grounds of Afissenden Abbey into the village street. of Great Missenden. Descending the undulating road which runs along between the ridges of the Chilterns, a four-mile run through interesting country takes us into Wen
clover, where the coach draws up at the halting place—the picturesque and cosy Red Lion Hotel—where luncheon is served at 1 p.m. An hour is allowed for luncheOn, after which the coach, leaving Wendover, crosses the Lower Ickneild Way, where it traverses the scattered village of Stoke Mandeville, and, turning south, Ellesborough is reached, from which the journey lies through Great Kimble, Princes Risborough, and Bradenham, two miles beyond which thE Oxford Road is encountered at West Wycombe. Passing along beside the Wye, the road next traverses High Wycombe, and, following a course parallel with the Wye, the road passes 14udwater and Woobourn . Moor, and reaches the wide crossways of Beaconsfield. A three-mile run through leafy lanes and the coach then halts at, the Beech Tree Gardens, in the woodlands of Burnham Beeches. These are reached at 4.15 .p.m., according to schedule, where tea, for which half an hour is allowed, is served. The coach then sets out for London, which is 27 miles' distance, and, passing the wayside hamlet, of East Burnham, the. road runs along by the common and winds round into the little village of Farnham Royal. Stoke Poges, which has many interesting associations, is next reached, and three miles further the old Bath Road is encountered at Slough, whence the way lies through the quaint old coaching town of Colnbrook, through the picturesque villages of Longford and Cranford, and so on to Hounslow, whence the route lies through St. Margaret's and Richmond to Westminster again, St. James's Park Station being reached at about 7.15 p.m.
The tour in which we participated was identical with that which is arranged for the general public, and we. have nothing but praise for the way in which it is organized and conducted. Every consideration is given to Passengers comfort, and particular attention is paid to the provision of first-class meals, which, served in excellent style, mean • so much to the passenger who has spent some hours in the open air. This is a feature that does not always receive the attention it merits,. and the L.G.O. Cis., with a perfect understanding of human weaknesses, have done well to give this side of the tours intimate Consideration.
We can foresee a great and growing demand for these day trips by visitors, by men and women who can spare time from the cares and worries of business life, and the more leisurely -people, especially when it is stated that the, charge for each tour is the sum of one guinea inclusive, which, considering that each tour approximates 90 miles in extent, that two excellent meals are provided, and that 7 hours are spent in comfdrt in the open air, is extremely moderate. A delightful day's tour of
this description acts as .a health-giving stimulant.
We cannot fittingly conclude without brief mention of the behaviour of the vehicle. Throughout the day the A.E.C. coach ran without a hitch of any sort, and its smoothness of running over roads which in some parts were not in the best state of repair was particularly noticeable. The driver handled the vehicle with consilmmate skill, and showed every courtesy to other users of the road, whilst the guide, with his megaphone' acted as a true philosopher 'and friend, always willing to give instructive information on the places passed.
Seventeen Years of Motor Coaching.
TEE. ILLUSTRATIONS which we reproduce on this page show the fleet of 11 Thornycroft motor coaches which are run by the Lake District Road Traffic Co., of Amblesitle, and also one, of the earliest types of coaches of this make which was put into service by this company.
In the illustration of the fleet, next to the two Ford luggage vans on the extreme left, is the earliest Thornycroft which is now in service, and which was supplied to the company in 1911, whilst on the extreme right are the two 40 h.p. X type coaches which have only recently been delivered, the old and new vehicles bridging a gap of 10 years in commercial vehicle construction.
The Lake District Road Traffic Co. are one of the pioneers in this country of motor coach services, and one of their first vehicles which was put into service in 1904 is the Thornycroft, which is shown in the other picture. Compare the construction of this machine with a modern coach, and the remarkable strides which have been made in commercial vehicle design and construction over a period of 17 years will at once become strikingly apparent.
This northern coach company have stood hard and fast by Thornycroft vehicles since their first coach was purchased in 1904, which is ample testimony of the reliance which is placed upon vehicles of this make.
Coaches and Large Pneumatics.
The Successful ExperlencOof a Torquay Owner.
PNEUMATIC tyres of large section are becoming increasingly popular for coach work, and proprietors of vehicles with seating capacities up to 23 or 24 seaters are generally demanding this class of equipment. In districts where the number of vehicles is more than enough to meet the demands of tourists, coach owners are finding that the proprietor whose machines are fitted with pneumatics is securing the cream of the business. This preference on the part of the public for the pneumatic-tyred coach has forced many.
owners into line, and there is little doubt that it is the touring public who have popularized the large pneumatic for passenger service.
The experience of Mr. Edward Green, of Torquay, who runs a motor coach on Goodyear giant pneumatics, is typical of the successful employment of these tyres in various parts of the country.
In the course of a conversation which a representative of the tyre company had with this owner, it. was elicited that one of the biggest features of this Goodyear-equipped char-A-bales was that once people have ridden in it they are always insistent upon riding in it again, in preference to a solid-tyred Coach. It was asserted that the three or four chars-à-banes in Torquay which arc operating on pneumatics, since Mr. Green commenced operating his coach on Goodyear pneumatics, are taking ;he business away from the solid-tyred vehicles.
Mr. Green definitely states that if two chars-a-banes, one on pneumatics and the other on solids, are standing side by side, a person who has once ridden in a pneumatic-equipped vehicle immediately chooses again to ride in the vehicle so equipped. He states that. people are not merely pacifically interested in pneumatic equipment ; they say that to ride in such a motor coach is just as pleasant as riding in a private car, and their expressions of enthusiasm are often repeated.
On the question of consumption of petrol, Mr. Green stated that his vehicle does 12 m.p.g. in runs through the Devonshire hills. These hills have particularly stiff gradients, and he believes that a vehicle would do as much as 20 m.p.g. over flat country. The cushioning qualities of pneumatics help to preserve the machine in good condition. In the coach business it is essential that a vehicle -shall ran every day if it is to show good profit to its owner. Char-a-banes owners will, of course, know what it means to lose a day's woek during the course of the season. Running on pneumatics, this char-a-banes has only lost one day's bUsi[less, when it was sent to the garage for new brake lining.
The greater average speed maintained bythe use of pneumatics, Mr. Green claims, is a very important point. Passengers, both young and elderly,, feel quite safe in travelling at highest speeds, for the reawn that the vibration and shocks of a solid-tyred vehicle are totally absent.
Mr. Green's vehicle does an average mileage of 700 to 800 per week, and frequently makes a run to London of 220 miles comfortably in a clay, or to Salisbury and -back, a round trip of about J.80 miles also in one day. . During the 15,000 miles that the-charit-ba,ncs has covered, it has done so with only one puncture, and with one pinched inner tube.
Mr. Green stated that the tyres now on his vehicle have completed 15,000 miles. The vehicle is equipped with an odometer.
This user's experience with pneumatics for coach service has been very satisfactory.
Looking After Passengers.
There are evidences that coach proprietors at seaside towns are beginning to .pay snore attention to the needs of passengers arriving after three or four hours on the open road. At Blackpool a few days ago we noticed one garage where a kiosk was being erected, and from this it is intended to prepare and serve, refreshments within the next week or two.
By the way, would it not be a good thing if some of the motor coach garage proprietors at seaside towns, in addition to providing for the wants of passengers. made some provision for drivers?