OPINIONS and QUERIES GREAT POTENTIAL VALUE OF THE VOUR leader
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of November 10, entitled " Improving the Breed," contained much that interested me as a man with 40 years' experience inethe road transport industry.
First, let me congratulate you upon your remarks pointing out that, in these times, one should look upon the post-war problem in the light of the national interest, and that in the past manufacturers have left too much to the designers, rarely consulting "the man on the job." Manufacturers are chiefly concerned with production costs, with the result that they often fail to consider the very vital point—Can it do the job?
Many others, including-myself, have had the experience of having drastically to alter new machines before being able to place them in service, Seldom, if ever, does the designer or manufacturer consult the "man on the job," despite the fact that we frequently hear: "Your people were consulted." Blue-prints invariably receive post. delivery alterations when the practical man informs the designer: "You can't do that there here ! "
Personally, I look upon the Institution of Automobile Engineers as the. theoretical body, and the proposed Institute of Road Transport Engineers as the practical. Surely these two organizations have a great future' by means of co-operation and mutual appreciation, provided that, the all-too-prevalent snobbishness be obviated? Thus they would benefit the industry and thereby the Nation. Such a policy would undoubtedly go a long way towards "Improving the Breed."
My knowledge of overseas conditions is gained through my son, who has personally visited most of the great countries of the world, making an intensive study of overseas road and rail transport. His remarks prove to me that although the United States of America can produce commercial vehicles in vast quantities, and progressively get down to the job, nevertheless, we are capable, without following in the New World's footsteps, which I am afraid our makers, private and commercial, tend to do, of producing a machine able to capture the world's markets. I am sure that such a vehicle—a sound British engineering job (which still, in many lands, is considered a hallmark of engineering production)—would successfully compete with, if not completely outclass, its transatlantic rivals.
Whilst some 1,000 persons have applied for membership of the I.R.T.E,, there will, without a doubt, be many more. Many of my colleagues are waiting, and often they approach me with : " When is the new body starting_ you promised to keep me informed?" So, whilst I appreciate the many difficulties confronting a committee when a new organization is in the embryo stage, I ask myself : " What is holding up progress?" Remember the persistent enthusiasm and the fact that you "cannot keep good men down," particularly when it is in the Nation's interest. W. M. S. BOLTON Banstead. (One of the thousand applicants). [We fully appreciate the anxiety expressed by Mr. Bolton and those who have approached him. We can say only that good progress is being made and that an increasing number of people in high, positions in the industry and elsewhere is beginning to understand how valuable the work of the Institute can be in the promotion of our home and overseas trade. Meanwhile, the organizing committee is working hard, holding frequent meetings as a whole or in sections, and is most ably assisted by the secretary and solicitor.—En.] HOW ROAD TRANSPORT HELPED THE HOME GUARD VOUR recent report concerning the No. 1 London Transport Column Home Guard, of which Lieut.Colonel Norman Letts was the commanding officer, reminded me of the early (lays of the organization in Birmingham. I joined at the start and immediately suggested to the local organizer, Colonel A. Woods, the formation of mobile units. In May, 1940, I was given the task of carrying my ideas into practice. To do this, I formed a committee of six local operators, Messrs. Madden (Madden's Road Services), Hurst (Hurst and Payne), Macadam (Cadburys), Warwick (Broadway Transport), Wilson (Hanson and Holdsworth), and Massey (Scribbans). We were quickly able to get together some 200 lorries and cars, and these did duty until the official" earmarking" scheme carne in. Higher authority in the Western Command, at that time preferred the attachment of the vehicles to the general service battalions instead of form, ing a separate column.
It has now been officially revealed that the Birmingham Home Guard grew to 38 battalions and 54,000 men. I remained both Garrison and Zone Transport Officer, with the rank of Captain, until I came to London in March of this year to join the Road Haulage Organization.
I think you will agree that had this Force ever gone into action my responsibility would not have been a light
one! CRARLES S. DUNBAR. London, S.W.18.
A SMALL MAN WITH A BIG GRIEVANCE HUNDREDS of small operators like myself have, as a
• ',result of the M.O.W.T., R.H.O., had all or most, of their work taken away from them and handed over to the big concerns. Previous to joining the R.H.O., I was on long-distance work, which I had been carrying out for five years" and which I could have kept as long as I wished, as the concerns for which I was operating refused all offers from other and larger hauliers. It took me over two years of hard worlc, with many ups and downs, before I convinced these clients that I looked upon the conveyance of their goods and their safe delivery as the first charge on my time and care, Now, this goodwill has all gone. We read in the papers, day after day, about what is
to be done for the small tradesmen who has been forced to close his business through being called up or for other reasons. What, however, is to be done for us? Our agreement with the M.O.W.T. expires six months after the war ends, with the option, on he Ministry's side, of keeping us for a farther six months, if we are required. What is to happen then? Are we to be thrown out and our lorries to stand idle in the yards while we pay wages and recommence the hunt for work, or will the M.O.W.T. compensate us in any way?
It is certain that many small hauliers will, owing to various circumstances, never get back their old clients; there may also be a long interval before we obtain even enough work to make our vehicles pay. Meanwhile, the larger concerns will go on serenely, partly with the work which the little man has been forced to present to them.
I am now 54 years of age, therefore, I have not much
time left in which to build up another business, and what we are receiving in payment from the M.O.W.T. will not exactly allow us to retire early, even if we manage at present to make bath ends meet.
Incidentally, I have 25-30 of this year's copies of " The Commercial Motor." If any other reader would like to have them I will gladly send them to him.
Surrey. "SMALL MAN " WHY IS BRITISH ENTERPRISE RESTRICTED MANY working-class people, such as myself, have 1." neither the time for, nor the opportunity of, acquainting ourselves fully with details of the many subjects and problems in our industry which so frequently crop up.
Personally, I put great faith in the leading articles which appear in your journal. In this connection, I was particularly interested in that which was published in your issue dated December 1. It was entitled "An Error of Judgment," and referred to the refusal by the M.O.W.T. to allow wider And longer buses. Is it for this type of democracy that our lads are fighting?
It seems that to be a Minister the person appointed need have little knowledge of the problems facing the particular industry or other subject concerned. One cannot gain a knowledge of road transport by merely
riding in a taxi or aprivate car. How should our Ministerial officials know whether it be dangerous or not to use a vehicle which is a few inches wider than normal?
Many drivers have been transporting parts for D-Day, and some of these loads have been many feet wider than the vehicles which carried them. In fact, this matter of the load being wider than the vehicle is occurring every day. Therefore, why are the authorities so worried about the vehicle itself?
It seems to me that the purpose to be served by Ministers should be to do the greatest good to the greatest number. If they do not do that then they should vacate their positions.
One of the reasons why America has made such great progress is that the people are allowed to become efficient, whilst their enterprise is not curtailed by innumer able regulations. R. ELwrcx. London, N.12.
M.O.W.T. HAULAGE PAYMENTS EXPEDITED COMPLAINTS have been voiced in your pages that there is very considerable delay by the M.O.W.T. in making payments for the haulage of opencast coal, but our experience is that, provided invoices be rendered regularly and accurately in all details, payment is received just as quickly as in normal practice.
On behalf of our members we took over the invoieing of this work as from October 16, but owing to delay in printing special invoice forms it was not until October 30 that our first batch of invoices was sent in. We have been sending in invoices every day since, but, even so, are not yet quite up to date.
Our first payment was received on November 22, and a second came to hand on November 24, which brings full payment for all work done up to and including October 31, and we are promised weekly payments hereafter, which means that we shalt never be more than one month behind.
In view of the publicity given to the matter, we think it only fair to the M.O.W.T. that we should make this
acknowledgment. BERNARD ELSTON, Chairman (For the Don Valley Hauliers Pool, Ltd.). Doncaster. THE TERM "BABY KILLERS" STRONGLY RESENTED PLEASE allow me to congratulate you on your outspoken article, "Lay Press and Road Accidents," in your issue dated November 17. This referred to the use by the "Sunday Express" of the term, ." baby killers," as applied to commercial-vehicle drivers.
Those who have handled heavy goods vehicles of 8 tons upwards know something of the qualities of the men who drive them. As to the vehicles concerned, most drivers will tell rag that the latest models, with their highly efficient brakes, can stop "on a sixpence'."
fact, it is doubtful whether many private cars could pull
up as quickly. G. H. HEAL. Ware, Herts.
YOUR leader of November 17 dealing with the sweep log accusation of the "Sunday Express" as to the responsibility of commercial-vehicle drivers for the deaths of children on the road, was not too strong. I hope that all drivers who happen to have read that paper also read "The Commercial Motor."
It*is important that a paper such as the former should show more balance and better judgment in its opinions. The "Sunday Express" should remember that those that it labels as "baby killers" constitute a very large
family. A.. E. JAMESON.
Hull. (For Messrs. Eadon Haulage).
USING OIL FUEL AS ANTIFREEZE WHEIsl' talking recently to an R.C.A.F. friend of mine, " who lives on an immense farm in Canada, I asked him what they use as an anti-freeze. To my surprise, he said that on his farm, and on every farm of which he knows, they use nothing else than Diesel-engine fuel. He said that in his part of Canada, where they experience very -low winter temperatures, oil fuel has proved, in practice, to be the best preventive against frost. At the very first sign of frost they simply drain all the water from the cooling systems and replenish with this oil.
He added that the oil did not seem to injure the radiator hoses while the cold weather lasted, but it was imperative to have new sets of hoses at hand as soon as the warmer weather set in. On his farm he made it a practice to renew all radiator hoses when he reverted to water cooling.
Apart from the fact that there is a greater risk of fire. I am still inclined to be sceptical of the idea, and I wondered if you could please comment upon it.
Perhaps you would consider that this method could be applied in respect of oil-engined lorries, if not those
with petrol engines? H. J. SAUNDERS
Poole. (Allen and Co. (Poole) , Ltd.).
[We have heard, on one or two occasions, of oil being used as a coolant in this way, but we must say that we are doubtful as to the expediency of employing it, except where the conditions of frost are excessively severe. One of the factors to remember is that the specific heat of water is 1.00, whereas that of petroleum is 0.494, and although we have no figure for oil fuel it would probably be something less than that of petroleum. For the nontechnical, we may explain that this means that the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of the oil to a certain extent will be under half that required by a similar weight of water, and as the weight of the oil would be less than that of the water, the variation. would be even more pronounced. In extremely cold temperatures this would probably not matter, but in more normal climates over-heating of the engine would be likely to occur.—ED.]