|J.W.Watkins Esq.,||Liverpool St.Station.|
|London Midland Region,||3rd March, 1955.|
Diesel Light Weight Trains.
I have now had an opportunity of studying the copy of the joint report sent with your letter of the 22nd February and am in general agreement with the recommendations.
It is very much to be hoped that the new Paxman engine will perform satisfactorily in service but of course it has not been tried except on the test bench, and I think the firm really want to try it out with some sort of makeshift car before entering into a full-dress trial with cars and electrical equipment devised specifically to work with the engine. This should, however appear in the course of the negotiations which the technical officers can conduct with Davey Paxman Ltd. and B.T.H., and I would be quite content to leave that aspect of the matter in the hands of the Chief Mechanical & Electrical Engineers and Carriage & Wagon Engineers of our two Regions, of course in consultation with Mr.Clayton and Mr.Trask.
The report condemns the conception of what is called a 'mobile power house' for various reasons, of which the most telling seems to be that side corridors on the power car would be too narrow for passenger service. If it is really the case that the modern over-floor engine is still too large for side corridors of reasonable width to be provided, the difficulty would of course be overcome by placing the power car at the end of the set, so that passengers do not have to pass through it. This is, I understand, a common practice on the Continent and elsewhere.
While, therefore, I would not wish to restrain the full trials with the Davey Paxman under-floor 450 h.p. engine, we must recognise that it is still untried in service, and it might be as well to work up, at the same time, a design incorporating a power car to be placed at the end of the set, accomodating an over-floor engine, brake compartment and driving compartment.
In suggesting that investigations should continue in respect of the two alternative compartments I have in mind the desirability of providing sufficient power for electric heating and electrically operated air brakes. It may be that these matters are taken for granted by the technical officers, but I am sue you will agree that we must get away from steam heating and the vacuum-brake in designing these inter-city sets.