The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4 (August 1, 1933)
Our London Letter
Road And Rail Transport.
The question of the relationship between railway and road transport is undoubtedly one of the most important issues at the present time. At this year's gathering of the International Railway Congress at Cairo, Egypt, the view was expressed that it was the duty of Governments to pass legislation to provide for the equalising of charges between the two methods of transport, and to put the whole problem of railroad transport upon a more equable footing.
In Britain, following the issue of the Salter Report, provision is being made for the better regulation of the movement of freight by road. Heavy commercial trucks are being subjected to greatly increased taxation, and heavy freight generally is being encouraged to pass by rail instead of by road. Across the Atlantic, an expert committee appointed by the United States Government has made recommendations for the regulation of road transport on much the same lines as those come to in Britain; while throughout the European continent active steps are being taken to remove the undoubted hardships suffered by the railways in respect of preferential treatment given to the road carriers.
That there is a place for road transport in every land is freely admitted. Road transport, however, should be subjected to suitable regulation, not only in fairness to the railways, but also in its own and the public interest. It is for everyone's ultimate good that this move should be made, and on this account legislation such as is being enforced in Britain, and such as is contained in the New Zealand Transport Licensing Act, is especially welcome. In England great strides have been made in railroad co-ordination, and one of the most successful moves has been the acquisition by the railways of established private road transport undertakings and their operation as part of the railway machine. In some cases the railways have purchased the road transport systems lock, stock and barrel; in other instances merely substantial financial control has been acquired. What is aimed at by the railways is door to door service, embracing both rail and road movement, and including all the facilities such as storage, warehousing, railhead distribution, and the like, for which the railways are admirably equipped. There is no desire to wreck road transport; it is simply a matter of seeking a suitable adjustment as between rail and road movement.
An important step forward in railroad co-ordination is found by the British railways in the increasing employment of containers for various types of freight. Both open and covered containers, capable of movement either by rail or road, are utilised in large numbers for the transport of miscellaneous merchandise, while recently the London, Midland and page 18 Scottish line developed a special container for the carriage of household furniture. Under this arrangement furniture is packed in the container by experts at the sender's address, and conveyed, at most moderate charges, by through rail and road service to the new home. A special feature is a reduction by one-third in the passenger fares to the new home town for all members of the family when the furniture is dispatched by the rail container service.
This year new containers for the transport of fresh meat have been introduced on the Southern Railway. These have interior floors of sheet metal, while suspended from the roof are rows of sliding steel hooks, capable of holding nearly eighty sides of beef or carcases.
New Carriages for Holiday Traffic.
In England, the summer holiday season is now at its height, and to cater for the needs of the vacationist the railways have introduced many fine new passenger carriages. Noteworthy additions to the British carriage stocks are thirty-eight new all-steel Pullmans purchased for the London-Brighton services of the Southern line, and 278 new passenger carriages put into traffic on the London and North Eastern system.
New methods of construction have been embodied in the Southern carriages, especial attention being paid to lighting, insulation and ventilation. Each carriage has a length of 68 feet 8 inches, and the total height from top of rail to roof is 12 feet 5 inches, with a total width of 9 feet. Twenty-three of the carriages each accommodate 12 first-class and 16 third-class passengers. The carriages are also equipped with a kitchen and pantry. The other fifteen Pullmans comprise first-class cars with kitchens, and third-class parlour cars. All cooking is performed by electricity. The 278 new carriages on the L. and N.E. line comprise restaurant and buffet cars, and first and third-class main-line day carriages. Five complete new train sets are included, each composed of ten day cars and two buffet cars, capable of seating 600 passengers. Alternatively, each set may be divided and operated as two distinct trains, each accommodating 300 passengers, with buffet car.
The Art of the Carriage Painter.
The art of the passenger carriage painter has made wonderful strides during page 19 the past few decades. The beautiful exterior finish given the modern passenger carriage is a decided asset in influencing traffic, while the various paints and processes employed in exterior carriage decoration give assurance of long life and ability to stand up to the most severe weather conditions.
While at Derby, experiments have been in progress with the idea of increasing the durability of carriage paint, at the Swindon works of the Great Western line research has produced a novel type of apparatus for purifying the interiors and upholstery of rolling-stock. The apparatus takes the form of a steel cylinder, 85 feet in length and 16 feet 6 inches in diameter, furnished with a track upon which the carriages to be treated are run in without dismantling in any degree. The cylinder is then sealed by means of an air-tight door, and the temperature inside raised to 120 deg. F. by steam-heating pipes, these completely encircling the carriage. A pump withdraws the air from the cylinder, until a vacuum reading of 28in. of mercury is reached. For six hours this temperature and vacuum are maintained, ensuring complete purification. Thus in addition to being perfectly cleaned, the vehicle is thoroughly fumigated.page 20