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What Now, Mr. Davies?

28th October 1955
Page 55
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Page 55, 28th October 1955 — What Now, Mr. Davies?
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

A LABOUR Member of Parliament, Mr.. Ernest -r-k Davies, said that the fleets of ancillary users represented a large excess of carrying capacity, for the reason that there was. so much empty or part-load running, and that this excess capacity should be fitted into the country's transport system.

With about a million of such vehicles, it would, seemingly, appear that the proposals are feasible and that there must be much wasteful running. A breakdown of the figures does not, however, confirm this and it is doubtful if many more than 25,000 vehicles could be made available in an economic manner for general haulage.

Of 918,325 C-licence vehicles' at June, 1955. 624,078 or some 69 per cent., were of under 2 tons unladen weight. It is problematical if many, except service vans and such like, operate outside a 50-mile radius. As return-load carriers the majority would be entirely useless. Considerable numbers, are excluded, as they are fitted out for only one specific job, e.g., retail icecream vans. A number might be available for local hire when not in normal use, but the general rule of "when one is busy all are busy" invariably applies. The best example being the Christmas mails, fair which the Post Office have sometimes to resort to coaches to make up their complement of hired vehicles.

Vehicles of 2-3 tons unladen weight account for 230,288—about 25 per cent. and it is true that this class has a larger mileage range. Special vehicles, such as bakery vans, etc., cannot be turned over to general haulage and these account for a large proportion. Many engaged in distribution work do a circular run and the unladen mileage is small. Those engaged in point-topoint running of over 100 miles, returning empty, must be almost negligible and a figure of )0,000 able to take return loads would probably be optimistic.

Of what might be termed long-distance load carriers of over 3-ton unladen weight, there are only 63,959 (6 per cent. of the total). Three-;quarters of those in this category are likely to be one-purpose models. There are the oil companies' tanker fleets and the tankers used

for various liquids. Not even the most enthusiastic economist would suggest a return load of milk in an oil-engined tanker. There are the tipper fleets of the public works contractors, mobile shops and exhibitions, horseboxes and other types too numerous to mention, which could not be diverted to general haulage. Further numbers can be deducted for those "lifting and laying" in the course of delivery, such as the brewery vehicles. Furniture vans have a limited application for their tonnage capacity is fairly low. It is doubtful if more than 15,000 from this general class would' be available for free haulage.

The numbers of C-licence vehicles are usually keenly geared to the throughput for distribution and excess vehicles are seldom purchased or retained. If return loads were carried each operator would require more vehicles, due to the time losses.

The scheme suggested opens the door to all sorts of problems and presages much more control. •Before any workable system could be devised a complete, detailed census of all such vehicles would be required. Every application for new vehicles would have to come before the Traffic Courts and an increase in enforcement would seem necessary. Indeed, it is not fantastic to suppose that the volume of paper work and the time needed to initiate and run such a scheme would exceed the value of the tonnage of goods which could be carried for general haulage.

Glasgow. ARTHUR R. WILsom, M.I.R.T.E.

Why Not Authorize " Shunting " Drivers?

TO increase productivity 'without increased costs or to I maintain productivity with reduced costs, is not easy in any manufacturing industry, but it is perhaps even more difficult in the distributive and transport spheres. Transport operators find it iifficult, or impossible, either to maintain productivity or to reduce costs because of such things as traffic congestion on the roads, delays at docks, the five-day working week in the industry, wage increases, and the 20 m.p.h. speed limit for heavy vehicles.

The article "Whose Servant is a Driver?" by your legal adviser (The Commercial Motor, September 30), illustrated the hindrance to greater productivity in haulage imposed by the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933.

Many a long-distance haulier wishes to cut his costs by making use of another haulier's depot and staff in a locality where he has no depot of his own, Your article makes clear that the difficulties are almost in.stperable if tackled from the master-and-servant angle within the terms of Section 1 (3) of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933. However, Section 2 (5)(b) provides an opportunity of sensibly meeting the diffictilties encountered try-two operators wishing to share the services of one driver.

Licensing Authorities have readily granted B licences to garage proprietors permitting them to supply transport to customers whose vehicles they are repairing, so one could expect that Licensing Authorities would equally readily grant to the haulier who wishes to provide a shunting driver for a fellow haulier, a B licence hiring allowance that would permit this and avoid the complications that are bound to arise when two different employers seek to have the services of the one driver.

Such a B hiring allowance could authorize one or more vehicles, as required by the circumstances of the case, and the danger of a dual grant could be avoided e21 by its carrying such a condition as "Collection or distri bution of goods within miles for another carrier within the conditions of that carrier's licence in which the vehicle is specified." Because of a licence like this, the foreign-based trunk driver could hand over his vehicle and go to have his rest. The shunting would take place under the authority of the hiring allowance, and the vehicle made ready for the trunk driver when his period of rest was complete and he was due to start his return journey. At no time would there be any question of one driver trying to serve two masters. Instead, as a different driver took over the vehicle, so would it be operated under a different licence. The whole arrangement would be in the open and under the control of the Licensing Authority. Legal subterfuges (if there are such things) would be quite unnecessary. Gillingham, Kent.P.S.W.

A User's Requirements for Oil Engines

VOUR leading article "An Oil Engine Problem," in I your issue dated October 14, interested me very much. You may like to know that the troubles cover an even wider field than you suggest. My company are using 50 oil engines in 3-ton delivery vans and all my remarks apply to this type and capacity of vehicle. One make of engine is giving trouble with fractured gudgeon pins and all the wreckage that ensues from

such failures. On another make, we had a faulty cylinder head, discovered after 10 months' use. The materials necessary for the repair were replaced free of charge, but the job involved us in labour charges amounting to over £10. It must be recognized that there are many satisfied users of both these makes of engine, but whilst there is no overloading, our vehicles are driven hard, and with direct-injection units set to about 2,400 r.p.m. maximum governed speed, we need additional security against over-revving downhill. Improvements will no doubt be made with governor diaphragms, but something more than these may be required. Vehicle operators suffer severe setbacks when engines fail, for this involves delays in delivery, the cost of towing, that of hiring a replacement and, sometimes, the labour cost of putting the trouble right. Thus, whatever saving arises in fuel against its cost for a petrol vehicle, can 'quickly be lost. To give the road-speed range that we need30 m.p.h. in third gear being important—and a good top-gear performance, we require 75 b.h.p. directinjection oil engines limited to 2,000 r.p.m. and used in conjunction with a back-axle ratio of 4 to 1. Only one of the big mass-producing concerns could be expected to provide these at the right price. It is perhaps unfortunate that they have not done so already.

Cheadle, Cheshire. C. D. H. STEAD, M.I.R.T.E.

Disc and Drum Brakes for Buses

I FEEL that I cannot allow the letter from E. Greenwood, concerning the suitability of disc brakes for buses (The Commercial Motor, September 23), to go unanswered.

I fully agree with his views on commercial-vehicle brakes (disc or otherwise). Certainly it will be advisable under most operating conditions to fit thin-metal dust shields around disc brakes, and especially in such areas as South Africa, where unbelievably muddy conditions B22 are prevalent. On the home market also, coaches would benefit from the protection afforded by dust shields, for their stops are comparatively infrequent and dirt has time to accumulate.

On the other hand, city or urban work grants the brakes no respite and any foreign matter simply becomes wiped off, whilst the water is transformed into steam. • The facings are usually impervious to water, so that there is no fear of loss of efficiency from this cause. Remember that a drum can retain road dirt and water,. but a disc cannot.

Perhaps it will be recollected that in a recent article by the there was a suggestion that a simple syntheticrubber lip seal could be disposed before the caliper unit and, in the same manner as a windscreen-wiper blade, reject unwanted material before it could do any harm.

Heat disposal need not be embarrassing with disc brakes. Ventilation is inherently good and it must be realized that fade just does not occur, so that they still function satisfactorily, even when almost red-hot. if, then, we can install a brake that will safely perform at an unusually high temperature, it can be made smaller. and thus show a useful 'savitig in weight.

I am all in favour of Mr. Greenwood's views for improving ventilation: slots in body panels and ducting are the simplest methods. Much more could be achieved by the present drum-type brakes if radially , finned hi-metallic drums (molecularly bonded aluminium and cast-iron) were used.

The problem of excessive heel-aid-toe brake-facing wear is easily cured by employing tapered facings. Whatever the improvements with drum-type brakes, their efficiency will never, economically, reach that of the disc type—and disc-brake facings use no rivets. Littleborough, Lancs. J. M. SIMPSON.

• Television for Fog Driving

WE observed in the issue of your journal dated " September 23, a paragraph headed "Special television for fog driving." This is interesting to us and we would be glad if you could let us have the address of the manufacturers or of the Better Vision Institute of Ametica.

Birmingham, 21. •E. KING. Ewe do not know the makers of the device to which the paragraph referred, but the address of' the Better Vision Institute is 630, Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.—En.)

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