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Are Hand Brakes Efficient?

28th September 1951
Page 41
Page 41, 28th September 1951 — Are Hand Brakes Efficient?
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

IREAD with interest the leader, "Hand Brake Efficiency," in your issue dated August 31, as one of our associated companies was last year fined f15 in a Midland court in respect of a summons similar to those recently dismissed by the Bristol magistrates.

In this case the vehicle, a 25-cwt. van, was stopped and tested by a Ministry of Transport inspector, who maintained that the vehicle was not roadworthy because the hand brake did not bring the vehicle to rest within a" reasonable "distance although no required distance could be obtained from him.

The vehicle actually came to a standstill within 52 ft. during the test.

, The company and driver were subsequently summoned for operating the vehicle. In court the inspector agreed that the braking system was in good order and that no complaint could be made as to the efficiency Of the foot brake.

It was pointed out by counsel that the manufacturer contended the hand brake was

intended to be used for parking only, and in the case of the vehicle under notice there was no doubt as to the efficiency of the hand brake for this purpose, to which the inspector agreed. The court, however, maintained that the company and the driver were guilty of an offence under Construction and Use Order No. 670, 1947. I feel that this matter should be strongly followed up by the manufacturers' and traders' associations, with sa view either to some amendment -being made to the existing requirements of the Construction and Use Orders or to the re-design of braking systems to enable the Regulations to be complied with. F. G. CHATER, Transport Manager.

Birmingham. , (For Accles and Pollock, Ltd.) LIGHTER BUS CHASSIS FOR LIGHTER BODIES

WOULD like to reply to J. B. Ward's criticism of points raised in my letter, published on August 24, concerning the weights of modern buses. May I point out that I did not ask why the modern double-deck bus is so heavy, as I am well aware of the reasons for this. What I do want to know is' if the increase in weight be justified. Surely the main fact is that a larger and heavier engine is employed because it is required to propel a heavier vehicle, and not for the reason that the power-to-weight ratio is being improved? In the same way, the braking system must be stronger and heavier to cape with the momentum of a vehicle of additional weight, and not because it is in itself a great deal more efficient. Thus, in effect, there is a vicious circle.

On the old Leyland T.D.1, to which I referred, all the components appeared to be adequate for the weight of the vehicle, and this is the kernel of my argument, for if a satisfactory bus could be built in 1931 to weigh just over 6 tons, why cannot this be done to-day, with all the advantages of light alloys at the disposal of the makers?

The Saunders-Roe 56-seater, mentioned in a recent issue, weighs only 6 tons 16 cwt. Therefore, is it really essential to employ a chassis designed to take a body 30 cwt. heavier? It seems to me that a great opportunity exists to build a chassis especially for this body, and in which the components could be more on the scale of the old T.D.1 and early-type Regents. My views are not based on purely theoretical considerations, as I have to drive an 8-ton 8-footer for eight hours daily, whilst my remarks on starting off in bottom gear and on the heaviness of steering on these buses are based on hard facts—very hard indeed.

I trust that I will not again succeed in enraging a number of your readers, but I can say only that my opinions are endorsed by many of my colleagues, including what I mentioned about preselective transmission in an earlier letter.

London, W.13. E. J. COOKE


PERHAPS you will allow me space to answer the letter from F. E. Nunn in your issue dated September 14, which was in reply to my letter dated August 10 I am completely at a loss to understand his remarks, as I would point out to him that, if he studies the letter of C. G Smith, dated July 20, to which I replied, he will realize that I am defending those drivers such as he claims himself to be, and not, as he appears to think_ the careless type.

I also drive on Route 88, and my remarks were compiled from experiences on that route. F. E. Nunn must surely realize that the remedy does not lie with the manufacturers, whose products to-day are as nearly foolproof as human ingenuity can devise, but I hesitate to put into writing what would be the effective remedy, for fear of the storm of controversy which would certainly arise.

I disagree with his suggestion that few drivers realize that it is as easy to drive badly as to drive well. Where L.T.E. drivers are concerned, a good ride is taken for granted by the general public, and rightly so; therefore, the careless driver stands out to bring discredit on a body of men who, through many years, have enjoyed the confidence of the travelling population.

London, S.W.19. G. W. BYER.


uro EADI NG, in your issue dated August 24, of the 'proposed driving " roadeo " in Montreal this autumn as an encouragement to safe driving, this struck me as being an excellent idea. Could not something of a similar nature be organized in this country, not only. for lorries, but also for coaches?

As the operator of a 1936 Leyland Tiger coach, I would be interested to see how this would fare compared with more modern vehicles.

There is another aspect to be considered—the greater courtesy which seems to exist between coach drivers might spread to other users of the road.

Stockton Heath. H. I. B. RILEY

[We thank you for the suggestion. As a matter of fact, we dealt with this idea in a leading article published a few years ago, following the great successes achieved with similar events arranged in America. At that time, however. there was some difficulty in connection with the use of fuel for such a purpose; consequently, little interest was aroused. It may be that now the idea might receive more attention_----ED.1

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