BENZOLE DELIVERY BY A STANDARDIZED FLEET.
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The Experience of a Newcastle Fuel-producing and Distributing Company who are Comparative Newcomers to the Sphere of Mechanical Haulage.
ONF, CAN roughly divide commercial motor vehicle users into two sections—those who recognized the advantages of mechanical road-transport in the early stages, when the industry was, more or less, in its infancy, and those who have, since the war, turned their attention to the motor vehicle as a means of colving—and generally with
complete succass—lheir transport difficulties.
The Newcastle Benzol Co., Ltd., come in the latter category, and from the standpoint of actual length of experience with motors they are comparative newcomers to the circle of mechanical transport users. It was only after the coming of decontrol that the company took definite steps in the task of building up their road transport fleet, having previously relied almost entirely on. the railway as a means of distribution. Nevertheless, they have very definite ideas as to their requirements, and just how motors should fulfil these require, merits, and the highly successful results which have been obtained from the Albions in the service of the company indicate that they have found a make of vehicle which is well-fitted to meat these needs.
The Newcastle Benzol Co., Ltd., are, of course, extremely well known in the North of England as the, producers of Bla.ydon benzole and Blavdon benzole mixture—motor fuels which are being used in increasing quantities by all classes of road users. The company have been in operation sins:001908, and were, indeed, one of the earliest distributors of benzole for motor vehicle pur. poses in the country. Their depot. at Blaydon-on-Tyne is admirably situated from the standpoint of accessibility, and forms an ideal centre for distribution pprposes, being quite close to the city of Newcastle, and, at the same time, sufficiently far away from it to obviate any waste of running time in negotiating crowded streets and dense traffic.
That the company' a distribution area Is42
now embraces the whole of the counties of Northumberland and Durham, as well as a large section of North Yorkshire and the Lake District, is due almost entirely to the rapid delivery which can be guaranteed by u.sing motors in preference to other forms of transport, for with reliable vehicles the producers are able to assure customers of a. more regu
lar and efficient service, which, ef course, has had much to do with the continued growth of their business. It was in 1919 that the company laid the foundation of the present standardized fleet. In May of that year they took delivery of two 3-ton Albions, after having carried out a number of experiments which were made with a view to ascertaining the; most suitable type of vehicle for their transport needs. These vehicles were supplied by Cawthorn, Ltd., of College Avenue, Newcastle, who
are the conoessionnaires for Albion vehicles in the counties of Northumberland and Durham.
These original two vehicles have to date each covered something like 40,000 miles during the four years they have been in commission, and during that period repairs effected to them have been so exceptionally low as to be almost negligible. Furthermore, they have per formed their work with an entire absence of breakdowns, which are at times so disconcerting to users whose business is built up on reliability, and have, Shove all, been operated at a uniformly economical figure over the whole four years
It was this happy combination of factors which inducedthe company to standardize on Albions when, early this ear, they found their business developing to such an extent as to render additional . vehicles imperative. In common with ether •concerns engaged in a like class of. work, the Newcastle Benzol Co., Ltd.-; have found vehicles of front three to" four. tons capacity, best suited to perform their transport, duties, and, accordingly, during • the past foul, months they have; purchased three '4,tonners, 'also through Messrs. Cawthorn, and thereby demonstrated their faith in Albions to, provide a cheap and completely efficient service.
The two 3-tonnera are so constructed that they can be used either for conveying motor spirit in balk or in drums and tins. Each vehicle is provided with convertible bodies, and ean be em ployed carrying a 500-gallon tank, which can be fixed in position in a very short space of time, or 2,9 an ordinary platform vehicle, in which case the high drop sides and backboard render it admirably adapted for the carrying of drums and tins. Two of the 4-tonners are reserved solely for executing orders coming within the latter category, whilst the third vehicle has a permanently fixed 1,000-gallon tank body, and is used, of course, only for bulk delivery
It might be of interest to deal briefly with some of the outstanding details of this tank wagon, for it possesses a number of interesting and useful features. It consists, in the first place, of a three-compartment tank, the Centre section . accommodating: 500 gallons of Spirit, and the remaining tanks 250 gallons each.
The pipe connections are so arranged that one or all compartments can be discharged from the same point and to either side of the vehicle. A special plug and seating attachment, operated from the top of the tank by a screw valve, prevent the possibility of a, leakage which might result from damage to any of the delivery cocks. There are two platforms on the near. side of the vehicle, one of which carries a. length of piping, whilst the other, above it, is for enabling..ready access to be given to the top of the tank.
' :Mention Might also be made of the ;bodywork of the other vehicles, all of which has been carried out by the ,Albion Co. on the instructions of the 'Users. The company atfich the greatest importance to quick loading, and, with the idea of obviating any • unnecessary delay, special features are incorporated in the design of the bodies. Whilst the sides of the vehicles are high, each is provided with a detachable gate with quick-acting fittingsto hold it perfectly. rigid when the vehicle is travelling. A hinged gate is also provided at. the rear that.. the wagon can f)e loaded or unloaded from the ;sides or the rear in. the 'minimum time, and drums and tins of Motor spirit can thus be handled with greater facility.
The lorries operate over a district contained within a ratline of about 100 Miles from Newcastle and their Performances for punctuality over both the long and short journeys, together with the fact that they have provided a
means for accelerating delivery, have converted the inana.tieme.i.: of the company into enthusiastZ adherents to road transport, and keei. .44-vocate.s of the merits of Albion vehicles.
On the point., of fuel consumption, it might be stated that most exacting experiments have been carried out by the company with the dual object of ascertaining the quality of their own products and the capabilities of the vehicles, and in each ease the results have been most satiafactory. The vehicles are run entirely on Blaydon benzole mixture, which consists of equal parts of Blaydon benzole and a special: grade of petrol, and average figures -show that 25-:30. per cent, greater mileage can be obtained -with their own product than with petrol.
With petrol the normal consumption figures on the 4-tonners are in the vicinity of one gallon for six miles' running, whilst with Blaydon benzole mixture the same quantity of fuel produces a figure of 7.75 miles, with a corresponding increased mileage on the smaller vehicles.
To sum up, the company are completely satisfied with the results secured from the use of motor vehicles. In addition to economical running and reliability, the durability of the vehicles in service was another important factor which influenced the decision of the company to place their recent order with the Albion Co. Due consideration was also given to the advantage of the inter-changeability of spare parts which accompanies standardization, and in all directions the company consider that they have made a profitable investment.
The value of a smart and well-maintained fleet, too, has also been taken into consideration, and whilst it is difficult to express the advertising value of the vehicles in terms of £ a. d., this factor is of much more importance than many owners appreciate. Finished off in light azure blue, each vehicle has the name of the company blazoned on the sides in white, each .letter having a red edge, which brings out the wording in a prominent and distinct manner.
The fleet is housed at a most roomy and well-appointed garage at the Blaydon depot, and the vehicles are maintained in a high state of mechanical efficiency. Each machine is examined daily before leaving the garage, and frequent and regular overhauls are made in order to prevent any deterioration of the vehicles and the service which they give.