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"Epsom Way by Motorbus.

12th June 1913, Page 23
12th June 1913
Page 23
Page 23, 12th June 1913 — "Epsom Way by Motorbus.
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The Nature of the Traffic on Derby Day has now Entirely Altered.

It is a little late in the day to write of the Derby. A festival which makes such an intimate appeal to all ranks of society has all its details classified, and its history told, on the "morning after the night before "—even, as in "The Evening News," but a few hours after the event, so nimble is Mercury nowadays.

The 1913 Derby, as we all know by now, was one of many sensations, but it was also one of particular note to those who are interested in the commercial-vehicle industry. The old order is changing rapidly in respect of this great open-air festival. Much of the old picturesqueness, and, we are thankful to say, of the not infrequent vulgarity of the "way down by road," and still more of the way back, is rapidly disappearing.

The. whole nature of the traffic on the southward roads to the Epsom Downs this year was yet another wonderful object-lesson as to the manner in which we are learning, not as individuals, but as a mob almost, to travel by motor. For instance, there were no fewer than 139 private-party B-type motorbuses on the course on Derby Day ; other companies sent their quota. The great B., eath was studded with red-panelled " Generals " and here arid there with the blue of a Daimler, whilst, wedged in solid mass by the hundred, were taxicabs—most of them with their flags up for some reason best known to the passengers and drivers jointly There are few better grand-stands than a double-deck motorbus : ii makes an ideal vehicle for the private party, and its equipment for the da.y's enjoyment. There is shelter for those who want it, and ample accommodation for luncheon and tea provisions. From the top-deck seat, at almost any point on the spacious Downs, it was possible last Wednesday to get a wonderful view of the proceedings.

The B-type can hardly challenge the four-in-hand from the aesthetic point of view, but, as a practical proposition, it relatively holds its own with ease. The one considerable drawback, which came to our notice in the use of these modern machines for race-going purposes, was that those which were skilfully driven, to avoid the traffic crush, down some of Surrey's beautiful byways en route to the course came into violent collision with low tree branches, whilst several instances were noticed of almost miraculous escapes from low-slung telephone and telegraph wires, which, in one case, actually knocked off the hat of a passenger who was standing on the top of a bus. Private parties hiring motorbuses for cross-country jaunts should be specifically warned of these dangerously stretched wires, which are far more common than is imagined. Motor chars-h-bancs were employed by the dozen, and they arrived at Epsom from all over the south coast. With seating capacities in some instances of 18, the long-suffering chassis cheerfully carried down 32 people in some cases, as well as their day's luggage. There is little advantage in speed for most of those who chose this method of arriving from London at the course, for the long procession of miscellaneous vehicles of all kinds invariably illustrates the well-worn adage that " The speed of a fleet is that of its slowest ship. We heard of one instance where a typical East End donkey "shallop" pulled in behind a taxicab when crossing the Thames southbound, and was still just behind it at Epsom. There was little reckless driving, perhaps because of the enforced slow speed, but we noticed one particular instance, resulting in so remarkable a mishap that it is worthy of record. One of the many hundreds of blocks in the traffic had oc curred, a leading taxicab pulled up smartly on its brakes, the one behind was not quite quick enough and bumped into the leader, with the remarkable result that its front spring horns were wedged between the two rear dumb-irons of the leading cab so tightly, that it needed the persuasion of a heavy crowbar and the willing efforts of numberless helpers to release them. The new General service No. 107, which runs to Epsom, was not employed by the company during race week. It was intended to do so, but, we are informed, the scheme was dropped upon serious representations by the railway, companies. Derby Day 1913 will go down in history as one of many surprises. We can record it, too, particularly on account of the fine weather which prevailed, as one in which the character of the traffic was at last definitely altered and one in which the motor undoubtedly predominated. There will always be a few who will go to the Derby behind a teara or even a donkey, but we prophesy that in future years the correct, and almost the only way, will be by motorbus or motor char-e.-bancs, or, for smaller parties, by motorcab or private car.


Locations: Surrey, Derby, London

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