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Notes and news — October 1997

Mail Rail extension

It is proposed the extend the existing Post Office Railway tunnels by the construction of a new five-mile long tunnel from Paddington to an interchange depot at Willesden. The system would be used to distribute goods on pallets from Willesden (near the south end of the M1) to Oxford Street stores and thereby reduce lorry congestion in the West End. The cost estimate is 70,000,000. Bob Carr

Gas buses are alive and well in Northampton

A fleet of about six buses powered by environmentally friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) is currently operating about the town of Northampton (GLIAS Newsletter 168, p4). These vehicles are of the low floor type with a kneeling device which lowers the front entrance to kerb level to allow wheelchairs, pushchairs and the elderly easy access. The buses are fitted with an identifying tag which gives them priority at most traffic lights. It is reported that a gas bus has also been seen in Southampton. Do members know of any other examples?

Of course gas buses are reminiscent of the vehicles modified to run on solid fuels such as coke or charcoal using a gas producer which were operated during World War II when petrol or diesel fuel became scarce. Some older GLIAS members may remember seeing these in operation. What kind of modification had to be made to the carburettor etc and did the engines so used suffer any ill effects from running on gas? Once petrol or diesel was available again gas-propelled vehicles disappeared from the streets pretty quickly so what were their disadvantages? Bob Carr

Europe's earliest

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GLIAS visit to Wilkinson Sword

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William Webster: Father and Son

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GLIAS visit to Tunnel Refineries

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Early coal gas experiments

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© GLIAS, 1997