19 JUNE 1926, Page 16


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—You refer to the " discovery that oil is cheaper and better than coal, not only for marine engines, but for the furnaces of locomotives " as having been proved—or confirmed—by recent experience in this country.

Is not this a misleading presentation of the case ?

So far as this country is concerned oil was first used on any considerable scale many years ago by the G.E.R. in order to make use of the residues from the company's gas plant. It has subsequently been used on special occasions—as the present—but speaking generally it has not, so far, been cheaper than coal for home locomotives and I doubt whether it is so to-day. In the case of marine engines important factors other than those of calorific value affect the problem and vitiate your comparison.—I am, Sir, &c.,