In Public Service.
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Proposals and Purchases.
Camberwell Borough Council Ls purchasing a 30 h.p. laeyland combined watering and material van, at £760.
Darlington R.D.O. finds that motor haulage compared with horse haulage is saving it '15 per cent. per annune
Barnsley Town Council has received L.G.B. assent to a loan of 13065 for the purchase of a motor wagon and tar-sprayer. I /nblin Corporation notifies (page 50 of advertisements) its requirements in respect. of a petroldriven water wagon and of a petroldriven or electrically-driven sweepmg; machine.
The Highways and Works Committee .of the Southend-on-Sea wn Council is purchasing a second-hand chassis, at a sum not exceeding £400, for adaptation as a motor watering. cart.
Guiseley U.D.C, has called for a report in respect of motor equipment for its fire brigade.
Preston Town Council, by 19 votes to Pi, has resolved to purchase two Merryweaithet fire-engines with reciprocating pumps. Chester Town Council hopes shortly to remove the stigma which rests upon the district in respect of fire-brigade measures. Chester has for years been on the black list of insurance offices. The brigade is a voluntary organization, but it is now to be se-constituted, and a motor fire engine is to be purchased at an estimated cost of 11000.
New Registration. Potts Garage, Ltd. (X3000), to take over the business of taxicab proprietor now carried on by A. Potts at 3, Back Ridley Villas, Newcas ths
The receipts of the National Steam Car Co., Ltd., for the week ended 21.,A J tine, 1914, were £5099. This shows an increase of £1640 over tho corresponding period of last sear.
The receipts of the Tramways (M.E.T.) Omnibus Co., Ltd., for the week ended 20th June, 1914, were 210,121 and for the Gearless Omnibus Co., Ltd., 2.50iS. These show an increase of ,c.',1371 and a decrease of i!52 tespectively as against the corresponding period of last year.
Various Motorbus Bills.
Thanks to the activities of the Roads Improvement Association, and to other representations which have been made to members of the Cabinet, the Government has decided to refer to a Joint Committee of both Houses numerous Bills in which proposals have already got past the House of Commons in respect of local taxation upon publicservice vehicles. The Middlesex County Council has been added to this list, and as a matter of fact its provisions cause before the Select Committee of the House of Lords yesterday (Wednesday).
We are highly gratified to find that the isolated attempts of local authorities to gain powers under which they can establish the equivalent of the toll gates of old are likely to be checked. The Middlesex proposal passed its third leading in the House of Commons on the 24th ult., and its backers thought that all was well.
The War Department has now issued an oftleial communique in respect of the trials of subsidy-typo lorries which took place in April and May last. These trials were sufficiently reported in our pages at the time.
The official intimation states that
the certificate has been gransled to Commercial Cars, Ltd., Dennis Bros., Ltd., and Leyland Motor's, Ltd., for the three-ton models. In the case of Dennis Bros., Ltd., m:Itilst the final worm-gear transmission is approved, the issue of the certificate only concerns vehicles whieh are fitted with a particular engine. The question of granting a certificate to another competitor —either Maudsla.y or Thornycroftis stated to be still under consideration. The Leyland and the Thornycroft companies already hold W.O. certificates for vehicles constructed with the double-reduction final transmission.
The Mechanical Transport Com
mittee expresses satisfaction that no accidents occurred on the narrow roads which had to be traversed in order to reach some of the steop hills, and that no damage was done to the road surfaces even of the narYOW lanes and by-ways. It points out that the cubic capacities of the engines varied between 5501) ex. and 6590 c.c., whilst even on the hottest days the radiators proved themselves amply effective for the demands made upon them. It adds that the gear ratios that were used by the Committee were not found in every vehicle, and that they will have to be changed in certain cases. The Committee is also satisfied that a brake on the propeller shaft is more effective in service than a side brake operating on the road wheels. The average fuel-consumption performance was 54 gross ton-miles per gallon for the whole trial, and the best result, over a 200-mile test, was 63 gross ton-miles per gallon.
Concerning the announcement of
results, the report states: " When arranging for these trials to be held, the firms who were carrying out the negotiations with the War Department were very anxioasi that no figures should ne published which. could in any way be taken as show
ing competitive results. pursu esnce of the agreement, it is therefore regretted that detailed results cannot be given to the Press." For exclusive repasts of the actual trials we refer our readers to issues Nos. 477-480. In the heart of mountainous Wales.
We shall now proceed to indicate the manner of distribution of the L.N.W.R. Co.'s entire fleet of motor vehicles, neat to deal first with those of them which are engaged in the goods and parcels-carrying branches of the company's activities, and then with those which act as accessories in various capacities to the passenger-conveying facilities of the company.
The Present Arrangement of Depots.
As organized at present, the principal centres of the Motor Department are at London, Watford, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Mold, Llandudno, and Holyhead. But, of course, the whole scheme is now in process of development, and it is to be expected that alterations will take place in the near future which will result in the increase of the importance of certain centres, and the establishment of new ones altogether. Already new garage buildings are being erected or are in contemplation at Watford, Bettws-y-coed, Holyhead, and other centres, and at certain of these there will be efficient first-class repair equipment in the shape of machine tools and other useful plant. The company has, at the time of writing, 112 motor vehicles in its service, and, in addition, 8 others are already on order. Of these, four are steam and 116 petrol-propelled. Of the total fleet, 34 are engaged in passenger traffic, 62 are goods lorries or parcel vans, and there are also two motor broughams and two two-seaters for staff use.
Tests of a Number of Types.
Examination of the list which we append will show that. the company has adopted the sensible policy of putting to its own tests, in practical service, vehicles produced by quite a number of the principal British makers of commercial-motor vehicles, and, in order to do this effectively, and to give the machines as good a chance as possible, it will be noticed that the types have, on broad lines, been concentrated in certain districts.
Thus we find there are fleets of Commercar singledeckers in London, and of single and double-deckers throughout the North. Wales passenger services ; there are Albion vans at Euston and other depots in 010
Dealing Principally with the Vehicles Employed on Goods Service.
or near London, and at Oxford ; there is a fleet of Daimler double-deckers in the Watford service ; there are also Leyland double-deckers at the same centre ; Leyland goods vehicles in Manchester and elsewhere ; there are parcelears at Bushey, Pinner, Hednesford and Willenhall, and a large fleet of Thornyeroft 2%-toriners at Birmingham, and some at Liverpool, Cardiff and elsewhere ; there are Podens at Liverpool, Birmingham and Holywell : and there are Karriers in the Leeds district.
It may be interesting to summarize this distribution of types generally, and in the list which follows we show the classes of work upon which the machines are at present engaged, and their district centres.
The vehicles which at the moment am i on order, and expected for early di-livery, consist of eight Leylands, forrr with torpedo char-a-bancs bodies and four with rear-entrance, observation-ear bodies of a new type;. two new Thornyerofts and two Omni= parcelears are listed above.
Large Goods Developments.
it will be seen that the L.N.W.R. Co. is probably doing more in respect of the development of its goods traffic by motor vehicles than is any other railway -company in this country, a fact which, we imagine, is not fully realized by the majority of other users of commercial motors, and certainly not by the public at large. We are, hence, enabled in this instance to draw particularly interesting distinctions between the two problems of goods and passenger traffic by motor haulage, and to indicate the relative successes which attend the two branches of development in actual practice.
Passenger Traffic Finance.
First of all, it is tolerably evident that the use of motors in the passenger work of a great railway may often be justified solely on the score of the development of goodwill in certain districts. The inhabitants in a great many areas look solely to certain railway companies to afford them facilities for transit both for passengers and for goods. Hut in not a few instances, not only with this company but with others, it has been found almost impossible, on the score of expense, or perhaps for other reasons, to do as much for these districts as the directors would desire, with the Facilities at hand before the commercial motor became something more than an interesting, and at first a very expensive, experiment.
The Chance of the Remote District.
On the arrival of the practicable, self-propelled vehicle of industrial type, however, they were not slow to realize that, once the experimental stage had been passed with this new class of mechanism, in much the same way as it had been passed successfully by the locomotive, it. would be possible to afford isolated arid often remote districts adequate facilities which they had without doubt long sought. So that, even in cases where the profits arising from passenger carrying by motor vehicle have not been such as would tempt private companies looking to their fare receipts for their sole source of possible dividend, the railway company is able to step in and, as part of its uni. verSal scheme for the provision of travelling facilities, to weld on to one or other ef its terminal points or intermediate centres a system of proper road-vehicle service.
Creating a Goodwill.
We do not mean, of course, to suggest that the L.N.W.R. Co. is maintaining services over routes at a definite loss, but what we would urge upon the attention of our readers is the fact that a concern of this magnitude and importance is often satisfied with a return which is represented not solely by a profit of a few pence per mile run for eA motor vehicle, but which additionally yields the advantage of creating a goodwill in distrias which it may rightly regard as more or less its own by prescriptive right., as well as of bringing in outlying traffic to the main trunk routes railroad.
L.N.W.R. and Competing Services.
That is approximately the situation in regard to the development of many of the passenger motor services of the L,N.W.R., and instances of this policy are available in North Wales, for example, which afford striking contrast to the activities of local char-k-bancs-owning concerns, which, for obvious reasons, concentrate upon the catering for the pleasure-seeking class of visitors, and which tarry them from the big seaside and similar resorts through to the beauty spots of North Wales, totally disregarding the wayside requirements of outlying villages and hamlets. Which class of service is the more important from the social point of view is not a difficult matter to decide.
The Goods Have to Make Good.
Now, the problem with regard to goods-carrying by motor on the part of a railway company is an entirely
different (me, and here we find that the self-propelled vehicle has to make good of itself in no uncertain way. It has to demonstrate by actual performance that it is capable not only of competing with existing facilities by horsed vehicle from terminal points, but that it can and does enable the company to expedite its carrying services, and to handle goods more effectually under certain circumstances than was in any way possible with existing and older-established methods.
Testing by Substitution.
So that, although the passengercarrying branch is in itself a very interesting one, and certainly a, mire picturesque one, the success of the motor vehicle in the goods branches of a railway is of far more consequence to the progress of the industry as a whole. The method adopted, on the L.N.W.R., to test the possibility of installing motor vehicles at any point in the goods organization at the present time is definitely to allocate one or more machines to a certain district which the goods experts consider is likely to prove a useful experiment, to take off the corresponding number of horses and vans which it should be able to supplant, and to leave it to the motor to prove itself. Carefully-observed costs and many other statistics are compiled, and at the end of a certain pre-determined period of considerable length, if the vehicle has shown a certain ratio of profit and advantage, that service is definitely established as a motor one.
Without entering into any special details of such experiments, we may permit ourselves to say that one experiment of this kind showed that one vehicle could displace three and a half horses and show a saving of .2110 in a month ; another vehicle could displace six horses and four
lorries ; and yet another five horses and three wagons, with a comparable monetary saving.
Free Goods or Passengers?
Before passing to more particular details of the goods branch of our present investigation, we may mention an amusing conclusion at which we, as outside critics, arrived in the course of our recent tour of inspection of the L.N.W.R. Motor Department. On almost all of the passenger-carrying routes, other than those which are more or less metro, politan, we came to the conclusion that the gross weight of each passenger with parcels must be very greatly in excess of anything which an urban service has to carry. The village passenger rightly or wrongly regards it as his—or more generally her—prescriptive right to carry, as free hand luggage, as many and as bulky parcels as he or she can conveniently smuggle on to the bus, to the no small inconvenience of those few passengers who happen to be solely on pleasure bent, unhampered by additional baggage.
A Facetious Suggestion.
So pronounced was this aspect of the passenger-carrying problen1 by single or double-deck car in North Wales, that we were tempted to suggest to Mr. Dingley, the head of the Motor Department, and to other of the company's officials, that it might be economical to substitute for some of the petrol-driven motorbuses a line of steam wagons, and, instead of, as hitherto, carrying passengers at a, minimum rate of—shall we say2d., with a very large number oi parcels free, to carry goods at a minimum .rate of 3d. and let the passengers travel free. The sug gestion, however, was not considered seriously by those to whom it was offered !
More Goods Than Parcels.
The Goods Department. of the L.N.W.R. is employing motor vehicles at present principally for the carrying of goods rather than for parcels from the fast passenger-train traffic, although, of courae, considerable development is taking place in the use of motorvans for the distribution of parcels, notably in London and the suburbs in the vicinity of some of the larger centres. Elsewhere, too, there are experiments and successful ones, being carried on with mixed loads of goods and parcels, and occasionally, as in Birmingham, when the parcel traffic becomes exceptionally neavy, some few of the goods vans are turned on to this traffic to relieve the pressure. Experience is also being gained in connection with the possibility of delivering, from outlying residential districts, parcels brought to stations by passenger trains, and thence taken to private residenees and shops by parcelears.
Curzon Street Depot.
At the present time, Birmingham is the centre at which the greatest development has taken place in the employment of motor vehicles for goods-carrying. The great CurzonStreet organization satisfactorily employs a fleet of 16 vehicles in this class of work. One is a Eoden and the others are all of Thornycroft design, a number of the latter being of the 21-ton type, which the company appears to be finding most satisfactory for this class of work. It is a simple machine, and carries a. load which can be economically distributed without the necessity of its compiling a high mileage with small balances of loads or even einvty.
It seems to suit the conditions of Birmingham admirably so far as our own observations went, although, under certain circumstances, we can imagine that threetanners could be employed with equivalent satisfaction.
It is at Birmingham, a course, that the principal inferences as to the possibilities of goods vehicles, for railway service can be drawn, and here we find that, as elsewhere, it is the mileage factor which is the most important one of the whole problem. In London a fleet of Albions operates in connection with express parcels, service it supplies to and collects from Euston and other depots, which are sufficiently far away to render this course an economical and satisfactory one.
Collating Bulk Loads.
In Birmingham, however, it is not a question of collecting from depots ; it is found that the motorvan has won its place on account
of its ability to distribute from the goods depot at Curzon Sreeet to outlying districts up to about five miles away and in all cases at a greater distance than two miles, but primarily are they useful for the collection of small batches. of goods for certain destinations from the other great depots at Aston and Monument Lane, in order to collate loads in sufficient bulk at the Curzon Street headquarters, where the most adequate facilities exist for their handling.
After Seven o'clock.
This particular class of work becomes most importantafter about 7 p.m. on all week days. Earlier in the day's proceedings the machines. are allocated to certain areas in and around Birmingham ; they collect and deliver goods from factories, works and shops in their respective areas in connection with the Curzon Street yard. It is in this class of work that it has been found that these smaller 2i-ton types of machines are most suitable for Birmingham conditions. Much of the delivery has to be done from the pavement, and, therefore, a comparatively short overall length is important. Another feature is that many of the weighbridges in private owners' yards are not of sufficient length to accommodate bigger machines. In the case of metal dealers and factors, of which there are so many in Birmingham, bigger machines might in certain cases be usefully employed, and, of course, Curzon Street itself, and the company's other depots, are equipped with big weighbridges.
Deliveries to Suburbs.
During the day the depot deliveries to suburban areas are in full swing at Birmingham, and
this is mostly a new class of work. It .saves duplicate handling, and relieves congestion in suburban goods yards. The vehicles run right up to the loading bays, and take loads from the railway wagons direct out to the suburbs, instead of leaving them for accumulation in sufficient bulk to carry out in trucks when trains are available to take the latter.
These vehicles are worked in double shifts: the first men book on at 4.30 a.m. and finish their first shift at 3 p.m. ; the second shift conies on at 2 p.m. and finishes -.it 12.30 a.m., so that it will be seen that the machines are worked at top pressure.
Preference for Old Drivers.
All the motorvan drivers used to be in charge of horsed vans. It is perhaps queer that many of the railway's clients regard its motor delivery askance when they first come in contact with it, and they are not inclined to allow new men the same facilities as they would extend to older servants of the company, who obviously are famdiar with the special characteristics of each customer's deliveries, and who know their way about the various premises, and, what is still more important, especially in suburban districts, who know the addresses so well.
The difficulty to which we have drawn attention in earlier numbers of THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR of finding suburban houses in long, newly-bnilt roads. of which the only individual indication is perhaps "The Limes" or "The Lawns," has been encountered in no small measure in connection with the pareel-carrying branches of the company's activities. Each van carries a man loader ; the driver is in charge on the round. The men work 54 hours a week,
and the whole yard and goods organization shuts down entirely on Sundays.
We may quote here a single example showing bow the motorvan is able to tackle goods delivery in an entirely new way, from an instance which came under our own notice when we were at Birmingham. There was a load of butter and soap for Erdington at Curzon Street Ordinarily there is only one train available a day for such traffic to that district, and the goods normally, after that has left, would have to be kept until the next clay. Now, with the motorvan, it is at once transferred and delivered direct to the consignee at Erdington. So satisfactory has
this work become, that the position of the berth into which the goods are concentrated for that particular district has been shifted, in order that the motors can get quickly into it and out of it. The old way would have necessitated the load from Erding ton being concentrated in bulk in the Erdington berth, then transferred to the truck, unloaded at Erdington and recarted, and then only when it was possible to send it forward by goods train. Another advantage of this class of work is that it is possible, under. certain circumstances, if' it become necessary, to hold a load up for 5 while, and yet to deliver to the consignee earlier than would have been otherwise possible.
(To be continued.)