The Storage of Motor Spirit.
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The Secretary of State for the Home Department has issued a new Order to govern the storage, conveyance and use of petroleum spirit, in connection with light locomotives, where exemption is sought from the conditions of the Petroleum Act of 1871. This Order makes only two important additions to those which remained in force until the night of the 4th instant, and we reprint them in full below :
"14. In the storehouse or in any place where a light locomotive is kept or is present, petroleum spirit shall not be used for the purpose of cleaning or lighting, or as a solvent or for any purpose other than as fuel for the engine of a light locomotive.
"Provided that where due precaution is taken to prevent petroleum spirit from escaping into a sewer or drain and provision made for disposing safely of any surplus petroleum spirit and where no fire or naked light is present, quantities not exceeding one gill may be used for the cleaning of a light locomotive at a safe distance from any building, place or storage of inflammable goods, or much frequented highway, or for the repair of tires, under suitable precautions. "This Regulation shall apply to premises on which petroleum spirit is kept for the purpose of, or is being used on, light locomotives, whether such premises are licensed or not, unless the Local Authority see fit, in the case of licensed premises to grant an exemption by a special term of the licence.
"15. Petroleum shall not be allowed to escape into any inlet or drain communicating with a sewer."
The Orders of the i8th March, 1903 (No. 225), and the i I th February, 1905 (No. 113), differed from the new Order in only one other material respect, and that was that they did not so fully set out the permission which is now given to any Government Department to act independently of any Order • of the kind. It is laid down for the future, that any such department may keep or use motor spirit according to such regulations as may be made by the Department concerned. A minor alteration, the legal construction of which remains to be seen, is embodied in Regulation No. to, where the word "conspicuously" is substituted for the word "legibly" in the previous Order in regard to the manner in which vessels containing spirit, and not forming part of a light locomotive, shall be marked.
-Users of commercial motors will be the first to admit the importance of the above-quoted new regulations, Nos. 14 and 15 of the Order, and there is no reason why their observance should impose any hardship in the great majority of cases. Where spirit is kept in larger quantities than, 66 gallons in any one store-house, which is the maximum 'quantity allowed under the Order, although there may be Iwo or more store-houses in the same occupation providing they are not situated within zo feet of one another, it is necessary to apply to the local authority for a license under the Petroleum Act of 187/, when certain of the provisions of the Order under notice do not apply.
The Convenience of our Readers.
The convenience of our subscribers and other supporters is the guiding consideration in our arrangements for the forthcoming R.A.C. trials: Some thousands of those who regularly take this journal each week, if not the majority of the readers who peruse our normal weekly issue of 8,000 copies each, will certainly take the opportunity to visit either -a point on a line of route or one of the eight exhibitions. We are now able to announce that, by arrangement with the Royal Automobile Club, official cards of admission to view the competing vehicles at Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, and Bedford, will be placed at the disposal of " THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR" for issue, free of charge, to interested parties who care to apply to the Editor. We invite such applications, which should not fail to specify the town or towns, according to the list which has appeared in our diary during July and August. No admissions will be granted at towns other than those where exhibitions are to be held.
The unique alphabetic register of places at which some-or all of the machines will stop or visit, and the analyses in detail, which, with our " class" maps, occupy no less than six pages of thisissue, should prove very helpful to anybody who may be desirous to know exactly where and when, and to what extent, the participating commercial motors will come their way. We have anticipated the feelings of chagrin and disappointment which must have been experienced by so many, but for our present action in providing them with this easy means to settle their plans, for the average type of announcement in local papers has merely been to the effect that "the commercial motor trials of the Royal Automobile Club will pass through this district on the . ." No interested spectator will now have an excuse, if he goes to the wrong spot for a passing observation of a particular class; say, upon some well-known steep hill, only to discover that the vehicles which he wanted to seeare elsewhere : neither is there likely to be complaint, and this is really important, that " no more than six motors came through, in
stead of the 6o which I expected." It may do infinite harm to the general cause of commercial motoring if a series of disappointments are caused to people who have remembered only the broad statement that the competitors are to enter their locality, and who have prepared themselves for an impression on a grand scale. We trust, therefore, that local papers will give due prominence to the fact that the several classes take several roads, and that the whole cannot come together except near the termini of stages. There will then he no widespread sense of disgust or failure, such as will remain if, after great expectations have been raised, only a few machines straggle along a village High Street. It is admitted that the casual spectator can seldom be a buyer of a utility vehicle, but it would take years to overcome the idea, were it once to take mot, that " all the rest had broken down !" We have .accordingly decided that, apart from our extensive arrangements for the introduction of this journal to new business circles in the larger villages and towns, that immediate and careful steps shall be taken to let the tradesmen of the smaller villages know the facts about the propertions of the caravan that will travel by their shop windows on specified dates.
The first of our six, special, trials numbers* will he published next Thursday, and, without counting the expense, we intend that these shall contain a continuous report of the organisation arrangements and the competition throughout. The writer will keep in personal touch with this journal's travelling, staff bureau, which will, as promised, be established in a specially-built motorbus for the whole of the five weeks, and he looks forward, with most pleasurable anticipations, to the opportunities that will be afforded for his meeting a large number of gentlemen who are debating the question of the hour—the substitution of mechanical for animal power in road-conveyance undertakings.
The addition of a motor-ambulance service promises, as we pointed out last week, to become a popular departure with many local authorities, and one that will attract public notice very shortly. The unequalled despatch. which is disclosed by the City of London's records, where the densest traffic has to be threaded, is no less remarkable than the economy in respect of long-distance trips which is shown by the Metropolitan Asylums Board's accounts. The example of Liverpool and Chelsea, as regards the purchase of steam wagons, was quickly followed by numerous other councils, and these vehicles have generally yielded satisfactory financial results, as well as furnishing a check upon horse charges. Next came the use of the motor towerwagon; self-propelled fire-engine plant followed; and now we find all-round indications of alertness on the part of various committees and their officers. The motorvan for parcel traffic in conjunction with tramway systems, the break-down wagon for the same department or for that of the water engineer, the motor lorry for stores' collection and distribution, and the large or small passengervehicle for inspection and routine trips, are now enjoying an increasing vogue. Nothing has vet come up to the motor as a means of enabling head cfficiats to get round their out'side Works, and this facility of visitation has clearly saved 'enormous sums of money for the ratepayers. The whole of the foregoing uses were set forth, with examples, in our issue of the 26th April, 'goo, copies of which number were specially addressed to some 3,000 officers of county, municipal, and urban councils throughout the United Kingdom, and we are pleased to know that not a few subsequent resolutions in favour of the adoption of the utility vehicle were caused by its contents. The designs and construction of motors for the varied needs of a municipality have now reached such degrees of comparative excellence, that every additional machine put on the road becomes an effective " salesman " for the vendor. The fact that snore than one city council has authorised the establishment of a separate motor department, for the due supervision and maintenance of its road motors, testifies to the hold which the business vehicle has already established for itself, as much as to the intended and imminent extensions of their spheres of application.
The Sheffield Accident.
The accident which occurred at Sheffield on Sunday night last has given rise to the usual storm of indignant writings in the Press, but we think that there is room for a little congratulation on the fact that this serious mishap is only the second that has occurred since public, self-propelled, passenger vehicles became so popular in Great Britain. It is nearly fourteen months ago, that the catastrophe at Handcross Hill caused a virtual panic amongst patrons of motorbus services in country districts, and the absence of any considerable accident until this present occasion really constitutes valuable testimony to the practical safety of the modern road motor, which type of vehicle is widely used, in some of the hilliest districts of Cornwall and Scotland, every day, apart from the more obvious carriage of millions of people per week in London.
We are sorry to have to remind ultra-sentimentalists that a percentage of accidents is inevitable, but there is no other commonsense view, and this opinion is borne out by experience with older forms of passenger transport, whether by road, rail, or sea. It is only because the public at large is not yet thoroughly accustomed to the motor vehicle, that such artificial publicity is given to a disaster of this kind when it does occur. We feel, in common with all responsible supporters of commercial motoring, that the fullest enquiry is to be courted and welcomed in any such instance, because the result can only be to bring to light the exceptional circumstances. The facts of the case, so far as they are obtainable from authentic local sources, are given on page 609, and it will be gathered from those reports that excessive road camber was the prime cause of the side-slipping. It can only be settled in evidence before the coroner, whether part of the blame can be held to lie elsewhere than with the construction of the roadway, and we are naturally obliged to withhold anything in the way of direct comment until the verdict of the coroner's jury is published. It must suffice, therefore, that we now express our deep condolences with the relatives of the deceased, and our sincere regret that valuable lives have been lost in association with a pleasure trip by motor char-A-banes. Efforts to damn the future of such work by motor jobmasters will not succeed, although the temporary anxieties of the situation may cause some to hesitate in respect of contemplated developments. Rapid transport must have its toll, as well as its vogue, and we fear it is too much to expect immunity for the motor coach.