How the Trolley-bus is Faring at Ipswich.
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
N ALL parts of the country, as we have recorded in our columns from time, to time, the trolley-bus is succeeding in displacing the tramcar, and fresh evidence bas been forthcoming during the past week or two of the success or the more modern system from various points of view—financial results to the municipal bodies, convenience to passengers and benefit to shopkeepers on the lines of route where streets are narrow.
We were afforded an opportunity a few days ago to be present at the final trial run at Ipswich of a trolley-bus produced in the town, and to witness its delivery to the tramways department. The occasion was doubly interesting, because it was an instance of the force of example. The leading engineering concern of the district, its shops occupied with a variety of manufactures and fully engaged, had not concerned itself with more than an academic study of the possibilities of the trolley-bus, but, when the town council concluded that the doom of the tramway system was imminent and decided to displace trams by trolley-buses, the engineering concern referred to set to work hi earnest and then realized that it possessed every atom of plant and every facility for producing these vehicles. The first of its products was the one we saw undergoing its brief final test.
The experimental stage at Ipswich has extended over some months. The Conclusions are these : the road, cleared of the tramway, is vastly improved in appearance ; over a short but important route from the station to the centre of the town, unprofitable with trams as the means of conveyance, profits are being earned by the trolley-buses ; the service is quicker and better and more attractive to the travelling public ; shopkeepers are benefiting because the trolley-buses are able to pass round vehicles station • ary at shop doors, and the shopper arriving by car or other vehicle appreciates the convenience, whereas when trams were employed stationary vehicles were not permitted in the streets the trolley-bus is free from the noise caused by tramcars.
Where there is a sufficiently frequent service it is generally found that the trolley-bus can be operated more economically than the petrol bus. The latter is the best form of communication between towns and villages and over extended routes, but, where a town has its power-station, the trolley-bus is a very keen rival to the. petrol bus, and, of course, leaves the tramcar a long way behind in the attributes which we have already enumerated, There is this further advantage—that the repair-shop equipment and staff of a tramways department are able to deal adequately -with the maintenance of the trolley-bus, because the equipment of the trolley-bus and tramcar is similar to a large extent. We are convinced that, within the next five years, the tramcar (except in the most populous places where large numbers of passengers have to be moved), will have made way for the trolley-bus and the motorbus.
Civilization Must Benefit from Army Experiments in Transport.
r-IN MANY an occasion we have been impressed ‘-"with. some fresh demonstration of the capabilities and possibilities of the motor-driven vehicle, but no impression was ever carried so deep as that made a few days ago when we were privileged to witness a demonstration' organized for the Commander-inChief in India, General Lord Rawlinson, when the new War Office tractor, with its four-wheel drive, and a number of creeper-track machines and a multiwheel machine were put through their paces.
Loose sand, a• foot or more deep, and marshy soil, into which the feet of a pedestrian would sink in an alarming manner, do not seem to be the kind of " surfaces " that would suit a motor vehicle, but every one of the machines emerged from the ordeal of passage over such land without the least difficulty, although it seemed to us that twin-tyred front wheels
will steer *better in deep, loose soil than single-tyred front wheels.
Still more wonderful was the way in which gradients in the region of 1 in 2 and 1 in 3 were climbed by vehicles equipped with creeper-tracks, even in the absence of a road or prepared track. There seemed to be no tendency for a creeper-track to slip even when the Vehicles were being driven up steep inclines of the gradients mentioned, covered with grass, heather and bracken, which gave very little foothold to the onlooking pedestrians.
The moral of the demonstrations was obvious. In undeveloped lands, in places where the pioneer is blazing the trail and laying the foundations of empire, multi-wheel drive, particularly when the front wheels are employed to assist in the driving as well as for steering, and creeper-track drive can be entirely and instantly successful without the need for the expense and delay of preparing any kind of a road (except, of course, through wooded country). Thus, the one vital need, transport, the absence of which can check all ,enterprise and kill all effort, is now available, suitable to local circumstances, and in the next two decades this fact will have a tremendously important bearing upon the development of our overseas dominions, and, in conjunction with aeroplanes, in securing for us the mastery of unruly tribes. Verily, multi-wheel drives and creeper-tracks will be as effective as railways have hitherto been in extending the benefits of civilization and rendering available vast natural resources in many a distant land.