Road transport

Theme Convener: George Williams

In our country, where a very comprehensive railway system developed before the general application of the internal combustion engine, road transport is, even now, largely complementary to rail. How it dovetails into the railway system is illustrated by the first display in this section – a haulage vehicle at the loading bay of a railway platform. Quick turn-round of rolling stock is an essential to efficient operation, and this largely depends on the success of mechanical handling as between truck and road vehicles. The new pallet system is demonstrated here.

A characteristic of modern British production in commercial vehicles is design for a very great variety of needs. This is illustrated by full-sized and model vehicles displayed on the terraces of this Pavilion. Here, too, are road vehicles propelled by electricity and by the so-called diesel compression-ignition engine, which has grown out of the work of the British engineer Herbert Akroyd Stuart.

Britain claims the largest production of bicycles and motorcycles in the world. These grew from the early cycle, powered versions of which preceded the motor car. Samples of the best of modern production are exhibited near a display of the early history of mechanically propelled vehicles in Britain

In addition to what has been shown of contemporary production of haulage and public transport vehicles, the main contribution of the modern British motor industry has been in the small and economic private car, with ample accommodation, and a small but highly efficient engine. The industry is equally famous for a few luxury private vehicles, but these compete in a different field.

Among these small, economic cars there is a very wide variety of types. For this reason the exhibits in this Pavilion will change frequently to give fair display to all of them. At any one time, however, the visitor will be able to see a light-medium saloon, a medium-large saloon, a convertible, and a typical British sports car.

British roads developed their trends and personalities long before the arrival of the motor car. It is no wonder, then, that this newcomer soon began to cry out for far-reaching changes in them. As an example of what is being done on a wide scale lo meet these modern needs, the new scheme for linking the industrial centres of South Wales with the Midlands is presented in model form. Part of the scheme is a new bridge over the River Severn. The designing of this has been the subject of intensive research at the National Physical Laboratory, a summary of which is here displayed. Around the model of the bridge is acknowledgment of the importance of the work of modern bridge designers and engineers.

Science is playing an increasing part also in road design, construction and traffic control. This will be shown both on the terrace and within the Pavilion. Here, too, are displays of road safety measures.

A car well designed and well produced has a very satisfactory and effortless appearance. But within it is a vast amount of research and engineering skill which has to be seen to be believed. This is made plain on the upper floor of the Road section in this Pavilion, which the visitor can reach by following up the ramp where the modern cars are displayed. The most topical of these is the first private vehicle to be propelled by gas-turbine power.

Here, too, for the enthusiast (and there are many) is a special display of British achievement in motor racing and record breaking.