SPECIAL CHASSIS FOR NEWSPAPER WORK.
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What Newspaper Transport Entails. The Difficulty of Obtaining Suitable Vehicles. A Fleet Engineer's Specification.
MHE transport of newspapers, par
ticularly that of the evening papers, occupies a distinct province of its own, and the difficulties encountered are often vastly greater than is the case with the conveyance of any other class of goods met with in normal circumstances. The strain of such work is enormous and the ordinary type of private car Or light commercial vehicle cannot he expected to stand up to it for lengthy periods.
In one well-known make of vehicle which has been employed on this work the clutches last five weeks and thee brakes six weeks before renewal of the friction facings are necessary. This rapid wear is due to a combination of circumstances of which perhaps the most important, and one which cannot possibly be avoided, is that'in the case of evening papers the peak-load times occur during the peak period of traffic, i.e., between the hours of 4.30 and 6.30, end as evening papers containing essential new can easily become stale within five minutes it is absolutely necessary that the papers should be carried as rapidly as possible.
The result is that constant resource has to be made to the brakes, gears and clutch, and as only rapid acceleration permits a vehicle to forge ahead after a traffic block, engines are raced. clutches slipped and gears changed rapidly and often violently.
Unlike the treatment accorded to transport media in other classes of goods carrying, the vehicle is a_ secondary consideration, the factor of vital importance is getting the news to its destination, never rdind how much stress is put upon the vehicle. Reliability is of the utmost importance, for a breakdown means practically a dead
loss, as the load becomes almost valueless.
• In this comection a few notes on the policy in respect of its newspaper transport adopted by the Evening Standard Co., Ltd., at the instigation of the garage manager, Mr. T. D, Botterill, M.I.E.C., will no doubt be of interest.
When Mr. Botterill first took charge of the garage he found a heterogeneous fleet and, after six months of experimenting with various makes of vehicle, he came to the conclu_ sign that there was nothing on the market to meet all the requirements of the work, the chief of these being accessibility, ability to withstand the strenuous conditions of usage, the capacity for very
rap i d acceleration, powerful braking, a fairly high maximum speed and twin pneumatic tyres on the rear wheels, so that a puncture in one tyre does not hold up the vehicle. It was considered essential that the engine and gearbox should be separate units, and in this lay the chief difficulty, because makers of chassis which appeared suitable in other respects, practically g1.1 build their engines and gearboxes together in unit form, and it was finally decided ix evolve a special specification, as follows:— Engias.—Capable of developing not less than 22. b.h.p. at 1,250 r.p.m. Cylinder head and base chamber to be easily removable. The magneto to be a
wheel brakes. Scintilla, driven through a flexible coupling, and the carburetter a Zenith or a Claudel-Hobson.
Clutch.-To be of the plate type, fabric-faced and easily adjustable.
Gearbox.—To provide four speeds and a reverse. The coupling between the gearbox and the engine to be n Hardy-type fabric joint. Propeller shaft to be connected by Hardy-type fabric joints at the back and front and to be protected by safety bridles at both ends.
Rear Axle.—This_ to be of the fully floating type, allowing the axle shafts and differential gear to be removed without necessitating removal of the
road wheels or j 4' ackine up ; the final drive to the hub cap being by either dowels or spigots.
Brakes.—No transmission brakes permitted, but both foot and hand brakes to act on drums on the rear wheels, and front-wheel brakes to be operated by the pedal in conjunction with one set of rear brakes.
Steering.—To • be of the Merles type with a column adjustable for rake and with an adjustable drop arm. The maximum turning circle not to exceed 40 ft.
Gitassis.—Dimensions to allow for the fitting of a body 7 ft. 9 ins, long. and 5 ft. 8 ins, wide; loading line not to exceed 2 ft. 9 ins. in height unladen. Wheels to be of the interchangeable steel-disc type with 820 mm. by 120 ram. s.s. tyres. The essential feature of the chassis design is its power of acceleration--a speed of 25 m.p.h. in 30 seconds from a standing start with its full load being absolutely necessary. Another feature required is a 12-gallon petrol tank at the rear of the chassis, equipped with Autovac feed.
These requirements were placed before Messrs. McGillivray and Cates, the well-known commercial-vehicle agents, of 167, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W.C.2, an order for 13 chassis depending upon approval of the first produced.
The problem was then placed before 'Guy Motors, Ltd., of Wolverhampton, and we were recently afforded an opportunity of inspecting and trying out the first machine produced by this company. As a whole it is non-standard, but in detail, standard components, modified
• where necessary to suit the special requirements, are employed. The engine, for instance, is similar to that used in the standard 2-ton Guy ; it develops 22.3 b.h.p. at 1,000 r.p.m. and 30.4 b.h.p. at 2,000 r.p.m. The clutch is open and is of the single-plate type with a number of easily adustable, coil, compression springs. The four-speed gearbox is suspended from two tubular cross-members, the end brackets of which are securely bolted to the webs of the side memberS, of the frame.
The chassis is designed to carry a useful load of 1 ton, allowing 8 cwt. for the body, and although the first speed will be practically never' employed, the four speeds provided give less abrupt changes between the ratios. The final drive is by spiral-bevel gearing with a reduction of 5i to 1. Dowels are provided to take the drive of the bevel wheel, 'thus relieving the bolts from shearing stresses..
, The reason for the employment of fabric joints on the propeller shaft is that these are cheap, free from noise and easy to replace, whilst the two bridles reduce the risk of accident in the case of a joint breaking down at speed ; there is a double flexible-fabric joint between the engine and gearbox, the rear joint being partially enclosed by the clutchbrake ring. Rebury, Alford and Alder brakes are employed on the Clayton front axle.
It will be realized that, owing to its arduous work, the engine cooling must be particularly efficient, and a .radiator of much larger capacity is utilized in
this special Guy. It is also important that the appearance of the vehicle should be good, and, consequently, the ordinary commercial type of radiator is not employed; a honeycomb type with a plated casing, bearing on the front the words Evening Standard, in addition to the name of the vehicle, being used, and the appearance is certainly greatly line proved thereby, the vehicle closely resembling a, private car.
The whole chassis is oil-lubricated. Tecalemit-Zerk nipples being fitted.
During a test it was found that the vehicle would accelerate to 25 m.p.h. in 25 secs. from a standing start and with its full load of 1 ton.
We had a run on the chassis and found it to be remarkably easy to control, extremely light on the steering and practically silent on all the gears, this being due, perhaps, to the finish—grinding of the teeth and the short, rigid shafts. The exhaust is also very quiet, and the silencer employed is The Priceless, made by Thomas Price, Ltd., of Blake Street, Bolton, although this make was not specially demanded.
The springing proved to be excellent, even with a light chassis. The springs are of Woodhead make, those at the front having the special reinforcing upper leaves and clips secured to the leaves themselves. There are no centre bolts.
The bodies, which are now under construction by the North London Engineering Co., Ltd., Cobbold Road, Willesden, London, N.W., will be kept very low, and as rear double doors have given trouble, roller-shutter doors will be used. The front of each body will be what is known as the taxicab type, there being a single seat for the driver and a space for a boy to hand out the papers.
The Evening Standard fleet is now actually undertaking two distinct tasks, for during the night a number of the vehiclits is used for carryine•' the Ikeily _Express from the printing offices to the railway stations. The vehicles are usually underladen during the day, but this compensates gomewhat for the congested traffic conditions and the need for extra speed. At night they sometimes carry something over their normal load, but traffic conditions are better and the speed can be greater.
Our thanks are due to the directors of the Evening Standard Co., Ltd., for their courtesy in inviting us to view the chassis.