OPINIONS and QUERIES
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A LAMENT ON THE. FUTURE OF HAULAGE
THE well-timed and democratic articles which you have been publishing during the past year or two, particularly concerning the increasing control of the haulage industry, may seem to have had little effect on the future policy designed for road transport, but I -sincerely hope that, in reasonable time', you and " S.T.R." will obtain the support that you need.
The travesty of democracy, which is all that we have left at present, has gone on for long enough and must be ended. We have been led far enough along the road to• repression, which almost amounts to persecution.
We have been largely robbed of our efficiency and have lost our individuality; later on we may lose our licences, perhaps because some of us could not run our vehicles during a particular period under review or by some other semi-legal excuse, as all the information required in this direction will be forthcoming from Unit Control Centres, the men in charge of which are not at present permitted to voice their opinions.
London, N.12. B. Eowicx. MORE POINTERS FOR FUTURE DESIGN I READ with great interest, in the December 31 issue of " The Cooirnercial Motor," a letter by R..L. Dance suggesting that all starting handles should be permanently fixed, and I must say that I agree with him.
I would like to make two more suggestions which, I believe, would save a considerable amount of time and trouble :— (1) That gear positions for reverse, first and top should be the same on every type of vehicle.
(2) That hand brakesshould always be in the same place and operate in the same direction.
I was told recently by a friend who should know something about it, that the reason petrol pumps are fitted is that the majority of operators prefers them. I cannot understand this; my own experience—and I am in charge of the maintenance of some 350 vehicles—is that Autovacs give practically no trouble at all, but petrol pumps let us down very badly at the most difficult moments. 1, personally, would like to see an Autovac fitted in every case instead of a pump, where used for oil fuel or petrol.
W. D. Woo), Chief Transport Engineer. Bristol, 2. , (For Bristol Industries, Ltd.) OIL ADDITIVES AND LEADED PETROL
CONFUSION between the usage of an oil additive and adding oil to petrol may be caused by your footnote to " Filling Station's'' letter, in your issue of December 31.
Mr. Errol J. Gay, Technical Consultant to the U.S. Army and Navy Petroleum Board, said, as quoted in your article of November 26, dealing with burnt valves, that "it served no useful purpose " to add oil to petrol.
Mr. Gay did not say or in any way imply "that oil additives had no material beneficial effect." On the contrary, our experience, gathered from every corner of the country through a staff of over 20 visiting engineers, is that a properly designed oil additive constitutes a highly efficient and effective remedy, particularly when ignition timing is correctly advanced, as advised by Mr. Gay, "to a degree which the engine will stand." This point is readily determined by a simple engine-testing device which is in general use by most transport operators and service stations.
As oil additives represent a wide range of compounds, principally synthetic, which are not in themselves oil, but are designed to improve oil performance; there is obviously no connection between their use and adding oil
to petrol. WAYNE V. MYERS.
(For The Wayne V. Myers Co., Ltd.) London, S.E.1.
THE ,4C.M." CHEERS UP.A. WOUNDED SERVICEMAN
DURING the time that I have been a patient at a convalescent depot forming part of the B.N.A.F., have been able to read some copies of your journal and, was delighted to get into touch once again, by this means, with the industry.
In peace-time I ran a fleet of Diamond T and Dodge Major vehicles under a C licence, and carried on with this work until joined the Forces. Now I have received a " packet " in a leg, so I do not know how I shall fare in the coming years.
Would it be possible for you to contact some operator, who would pass on to me his old copies of "The Commercial Motor "? [Readers please note.—Eii.] You would 'roar with laughter if you could see some of the commercial road transpOrt out here. Many Model T Fords are still in use and are driven by Arabs. They use some form of suction-gas producer, burning vine logs. The engines run sometvhat erratically and have no great acceleration, whilst the vehicles, on the whole, are in a sad condition.
Your articles on leaded petrol are most' enlightening, and we find the same trouble with many Army vehicles. Valve seats, also, are often badly burned.
Apart from it being refreshing to read the old journal again, some of the pictures of Eriglish Villages in its pages brought back to my mind the memory of the places through which one day I again hope to pass with
my lorries. L.A.C. J. E. CnomproN, B.N.A.F.
SUGGESTION FOR IMPROVING PRODUCER-GAS VEHICLES NilAY I venture a new plan for post-war lorries of large size? I suggest: A producer-gas plant placed alongside thedriver and separated by air and asbestos insulation from the driver's cab; a four-cylindered horizontally opposed engine, placed under the body; a frothfloatation gas filter, also under the body. With this arrangement it would be possible to obtain these advantages: The driver would be saved from noise and fumes; in all front-engined lorries these reduce the driver's efficiency by X per cent. on all cpunts; any necessary indicators could easily be seen by the driver; home-produced fuel will be used while , imports are undesirable; an almost per.fectly balanced engine, with even torque at low speeds and ample space for the large ,cylinders needed for the lower value of the fuel would be obtained; such an engine would have a long life due to low bearing pressures, and plenty of room for adequate filtration. In addition there would be a short propeller shaft, long connecting rods, and improved accessibility of valve ,and ignition gear. I put the driver's need first (that having been placed last hitherto, to the great disadvantage of both driver and owner). Chief draughtsmen are rarely found driving
under strictly service conditions; if they did this with all new models for two oil three winter months, lorries would be much improved.
The producer-gas engine awaits only a really efficient filter for its own success; and for this there must be plenty of room.
The opposed-cylinder engine would run smoothly, as is well known. There would be no emission of black smoke, as often comes from oil engines when revving up.
Terminal pressures being very low a great reduction of noise would be secured before the exhaust gases reached the silencer, and there would be almost complete silence after.
The whole job, would be relatively quiet, extremely economical and would furnish the maximum platform
area. ALFRED J. WINSHIP. " Cambridge.
UNITY WILL ACHIEVE HIGHER HIRE RATES ON reading a leading article under the heading of "Higher Rates for Hire Vehicles" in your issue dated December 17, wherein it is mentioned that a Hants
haulier considers that insufficient space is allowed for airing grievances about the Ministry Scheme. I feel that I cannot allow this to pass without some comment, although I regret being late in doing so, owing to the amount oftime required In attending meetings for the good of the cau.se.
However, the remarks referred to are not only unjustified but unnecessary,. To my mind, the trade journals are doing a fine job of work; in fact, I wonder if it ever occurred to readers what sort of a position they would be in without them? I feel sore that if it were within their powers to alter the Ministry Scheme they would be the first to do so. Surely it is high time operators realized that the solution to their problems lies • in their own hands, provided " unity ". prevails. You will notice this important proviso; this is the stumbling block. Why is it so difficult to get unity among brother hauliers?
In your issue of November 26 you were good enough to publish my appeal for tyre costs, to enable me to put forward to the H.V.O.P. a strong case for a sub stantial increase. You and your readers will be interested to know that out of the whole of the country I received only. 26 letters, of which only 17 gave details of costs. This, to my mind, is not only disappointing but bears out the fact that without unity one gets noWhere. However, to those who replied I would like to express my gratitude 'and, although I have not had an opportunity of acknowledging their letters separately, I want to assure them that they were not a waste of time. Although these figures show an increase of 95 per cent., there were several estimated figures which, probably, could not have been substantiated.
Not being altogether satisfied, I took up the matter with the tyre manufacturers, asking for their support, and I am glad to say that I received a letter from one of them stating that operators require two tyres for every one used pre-war and that they are only 50 per
cent, as good as pre-war tyres. This alone allows us to ask for a 100 per cent. increase on the amount allocated for tyres, although, in my own opinion, a more accurath figure would be 150 per Cent. .
These letters have been sent to the Finance Panel of the S.J.C., which is at present negotiating with the M.O.W.T. for a substantial increase. It is now up to the Finance Panel not to be put off with, a few crumbs the Ministry may care to drop, but to put things right for the operators once and for all; in fact, no settlement should be reached before first calling meetings Of all H.V.O.s to obtain their approval.
• If the increase offered be not Sufficient, operators would be able to decide the next step to be taken, and I can say, without doubt, that unless satisfaction he obtained plenty of trouble lies ahead for the M.O.W.T. If, on the other hand, the M.O.W.T. meets our requests it could be said with certainty that in the end the Ministry would be saving money, as I know that, given the incentive to work, hired operators would show the country how a job should really be done.
You would find that vehicles now doing 500 miles per week would increase to 750-800 miles. Drivers would appreciate the extra earnings; in fact everybody would be happy. As it is to-day hirers would be very foolish to get 'extra mileage out of their vehicles while losing money on every milehence the slogan passed between the drivers : "Never have we done so little for so much."
While this state of affairs lasts, the Road Haulage Scheme .is bound to fail. Can the Ministry expect a 100 per cent. efficient service and co-operation from operators who are being strangled out of existence? Has the Minister ever had working for him an efficient and willing member of his staff who is grossly underpaid and yet ,satisfied? I doubt it I The same applies to the II.V.O. Give us a fair return for our labours and the results will be remarkable; in fact, I would go so far as to say that the enormous expense now being borne by the taxpayer could be turned into a paying proposition.
Before I close, I would like to suggest to all operators affected by the scheme to stick together, not to be afraid to air their, grievances, keep in touch with their representatives an the H.V.O.P., send them your complaints, and see that you get replies. Important decisions will have to be made shortly, when the time comes see that you are there, and when a decision is made stick to it. Make sure that 'you know what you want and do not be satisfied until you get it.
LEONARD V. Want), Director,
London, S.E.1. (For L. V. Ward and Co., Ltd.)
A DRIVER'S COMMENTS ON WAGES AND CONDITIONS DRIVERS' wages should be based on present-day prices and conditions of living. I have yet to find a haulage man who can honestly say that his basic rate of wages is adequate, especially if he be married and has a family.
In these times, few men object to working even seven days a week, but no one should be compelled to carry on in this way in order to provide himself with a living wage and have a few shillings to spare in his pocket..' Unless a driver getsin his day, at the double-time rate he has a task to make both ends meet. Until the driver of a 3-5-tonner obtains a minimum of E5 for a 48-hour week and 12s. 6d. subsistence per night he Will still be the " tramp " of the road. The 2s. 6d. recently awarded by the Central Wages Board is regarded by most of us as something bordering on insult.
Any little space that you can afford to us drivers in our fight for better conditions will be greatly appreciated. FRANK WHARTON. Castle Bromwich.