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Our illustrated report of last Monday's Seventh Annual C.M.U.A. Parade occupies a considerable proportion of the total space available in our text pages this week. The impressions and views of some of the principal speakers, from whose considered speeches various extracts will be found in that section of the report which deals with the proceedings at the luncheon at the R.A.C., are of particular interest to owners, by reason of the official connection of these gentlemen with the present and future of road improvement throughout the Kingdom. There was a very representative gathering at the official luncheon.
We feel confident that our reprint of the full report, for the purpose of its use and further circula tion in the Overseas Section of the Royal Show at Bristol, will not fail to convey a correct impression of the widespread uses to which commercial motors are now put in the capital of the Empire.
One of the practices of the Parade Committee,
arising out of an experience which is now very extensive, is to meet, shortly after each Parade, with a
view to entering notes in regard to points that may with advantage be added to the programme for subsequent Parades The results of this year's observations are awaited with more than usual interest..
It 6.eerns to us likely that this annual London Motorvan Parade cannot again be held in the vicinity of the Tate Gallery. Lincoln's Inn Fields, too, is -outgrown. The assembly of machines has already become too large for it to be comfortably accom modated in either locality, and the Thames Embankment, between Westminster and Waterloo Bridges, is no longer a suitable venue, by reason of the double tramcar tracks.
One of the suggestions for immediate conaideration by the Parade Committee is that next year's Parade should be held some little distance away from the centre of London, and that, instead of a visit to some place of amusement, such as the Palladium, a sports programme ;should be arranged for the afternoon. We have no doubt that all the necessary facili ties can be rendered available, for example, at the Crystal Palace, and a change of programme of the 'kind that is indicated should not present any insuperable difficulties. It might be a good plan, in the
first instance, to take a postal vote, in regard to this and allied matters, at the hands of all the owners and drivers who supported the ParacA which has just been held.
We make no detailed comment, on this page, about Parade incidents, whether minor or important in -character. They will be found elsewhere, and we are glad to know, having regard to the possibility of a
great northern Parade in Manchester later in the year, that the whole report will be perused with interest in the Provinces, as well as in the neighbourhood of the Metropolis. It is our serious intention to go closely into the matter of a Parade at Manchester, with the support.
of local owners, and particularly of the North and East Lancashire C.N1,1..7.A. and the West Riding C.M.U.A. We see no ieason why Manchester, in those circumstances, should not be able to create a record in excess of London's best achievement. The only reservation is this : can the C.M.U.A., with its night-shelter and other schemes demanding much of its secretary and officers this year, give the necessary assistance so soon!
The Pending Increase of Railway Goods Rates in Relation to Road Transport.
We were able to announce last week, although quite briefly, the decision of the railway companies of the united Kingdom to advance practically the whole of the goods-traffic rates, as from the 1st July next, by a minimum of 4 per cent. We also noted that the rates upon coke and coal were to remain stationary tor the time being.
The above-mentioned intimation, in spite of the fact that its appearance has been anticipated for a long time past, will be of marked effect upon the demand for commercial motors of all types. It is now a definite pronouncement. The decision will be fresher than ever in the minds of affected parties when the two important Shows of July next are being held—the Royal Show at Bristol, and the Commercial Vehicle Show at Olympia.
An increase of not less than 9.6d. in the is a material one : it is enough to account for a very cons siderabie new change-over of traffic in the direction of motor conveyance. It will give a sufficient margin in favour of the employment of commercial motors in numerous instances wilere that margin either has not existed before, or has been too small to justify a revision of methods. We find in it yet another good talking-point for the salesman.
Numerous visitors to the Bristol and Olympia Shows will, we repeat, be smarting under the increase, and will be more than ever ready to avail themselves of the proved alternative of road conveyance. They will see the latest examples of up-todate motor construction, and they will place many orders that were not contemplated a few months earlier. All this will strengthen the movement. Taking quite an average performance for a fiveton lorry, say, ten tons of merchandise moved per day, on 300 working days per annum, any purchaser has to base his calculations upon 3000 tons of freight for each vehicle that he can usefully purchase. Assuming an average rate per ton, when sent by rail, of 12s., which rate would apply—for 30 or 35 miles C. and 1).—to many ordinary classes of goods in the Genaral Railway Classification, the increase of 4 per cent., which increase can be avoided by the adoption of motor transport, would he equivalent to no less than i!72 in 12 months. Expressed as a figure per mile run, for a five-ton lorry, for an average running of 70 miles per day, and 300 days per annum, this amounts to 0.82d. per mile run. That saving, in some cases, would be enough to pay half the tire cost ; in others, it would pay the whole mechanical maintenance. The extent to which this new burden upon industry is arousing interest, is reflected in many articles that have appeared in the daily Press during the past ten days. We quote, at random, from the "Manchester Daily Dispatch " of the 7th inst.— " It appears that coal and coke feeights will be dealt with at a subsequent date : we understand, on most reliable authority, that under this head separate intimations will be issued by the companies particularly affected. The decision to advance the rates even as far as it gees at present, has had a marked effect on home railway stocks. . . . On the other hand, manufacturers and traders view the position with considerable alarm, on the ground that it means adding to what they say are already too numerous imposts . . . As a leading Manchester merchant has stated to us, the only thing they can do will be to 'grin and bear it.' . . The increased revenue to be derived by the railway companies on goods and passenger traffic will be enormous." Proceeding, then, to quote from interviews with Manchester manufacturers and merchants, our contemporary adduces satisfactory confirmation of our own contention, that there will be an increasing tendency on the part of manufacturers to use motor lorries for the conveyance of goods.
Specious Argument at Bolton.
We have frequently commented upon the extreme nature of many proceedings and occurrences in the Bolton Borough Police Court. The latest of these to come under our notice concerns the prosecution of a driver in the employ of Hardman and Holden. Ltd., of Miles Platting, Manchester. This company, which is one of the largest tar-distilling houses in the kingdom, recently purchased a steam wagon from a wellknown Scottish maker, and the machine was naturally registered in the neighbourhood of the works at which it was made. Ignoring this very natural procedure, the Borough Prosecutor, Mr. J. H. Hall, thought fit to insinuate that this method of registration involved some deliberate policy of evasion on the part of the makers. In opening the case, which concerned an excess of 7 cwt. on the back axle, he remarked that the unladen weight of the vehicle "was registered at Lanark as 4 tons 19 cwt. 3 qrs., which was just under the five-ton standard requiring a £10 duty, and the compliance with other regulations. When the wagon was weighed in Bolton, it was found to be 7 cwt. in excess on the back axle. This was a Scottish registration, and he would ask the magistrates to protect the borough." We do not wonder that, later in the proceedings, in reply to the magistrates' clerk, the prosecuting solicitor admitted that he did not imply that the Lanark registration was unfair. He then proceeded : "But in every case where such wagons were concerned they were admittedly overweight." Weregard that as aggravation of his original suggestion. It is a most extraordinary statement, if the Borough Prosecutor is correctly reported, and we quote from the "Bolton Evening News" of the 6th inst. It is a reflection, if not upon the Lanark authorities, at. least upon the manufacturers of the machine, and we know it to be one which they can perfectly well meet.
We hope that harmful statements of this kind will be stopped. It is not proper to seek to found them upon any temporary excess of back-axle weight, in regard to which the summons under notice was granted ; the unladen weight did not properly arise. We observe that the magistrates allowed the case against the driver to be withdrawn on payment of costs, and that they only fined the owners 20s. and costs. A small amount of back-axle overloading is at times inevitable, especially in the case of purchasers who have only recently acquired their vehicles, and we have no doubt that the owners who were concerned in this case will be a little more exact in their checks hereafter.
The broad principle of exemption under the Motor Car Acts, for vehicles which weigh five tons, or less, unladen, was impugned, as is shown in the course of the above comment and extract. Why, we ask, should a very close approach to the limit of weight that has been fixed by the Legislature give any grounds for a transference of the vehicle into a wholly-different class of road locomotive? There is no justification, and the special pleading for which the Bolton Borough Prosecutor has been responsible, to say nothing of the deliberate fashion in which he begged the question, will not alter the law as it exists. We have at no time supported owners who consistently overload, but ordinary commercial necessities do at times involve the expediency of a slight amount of latitude in regard to loading. We do not ask for any latitude in regard to unladen weight, and it is solely in respect of that portion of his statement that we are directly at issue with Bolton's solicitor.
The Vindication of the Motorbus.
We continue (pages 238-241) our summary of the evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons for which Mr. Albert H. Stanley is responsible. This evidence constitutes as complete a vindication of the motorbus as anybody could wish to present either to a Parliamentary Committee or to the public. It possesses, however, a deeper interest for those who are better able' and possibly more desirous, to study it in detail with advantage to themselves. Large numbers of supporters of TEE COMMERCIAL MOTOR will, we know, find in our considerable extracts from Mr. Stanley's evidence, and possibly in our own comment upon portions of it, much that will be of direct benefit and value to them. The manufacturer, the owner, and the intending owner of publicservice vehicles, or of other types of commercial motors, may gain much from a perusal of the data and information to which we refer. There will be at least three more instalments before our treatment of this evidence is exhausted. The whole should be honestly examined, if the presentday case for the motorbus is to be appreciated.