Two Autograph Letters Signed and one Typed Letter Signed (all three 'A. W. Pimm') on 'loco matters' to King.

Arthur Watson Pimm [A. W. Pimm] (b.1881), locomotive engineer and inventor [H. G. King of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers; Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd; Vickers; LNER; LMS Railways]
Publication details: 
Autograph Letters: 14 October and 18 December 1942. Typed Letter: 4 November 1942. All three from 5 Oakhill Road, Orpington, Kent.
SKU: 7335

Text of all three letters clear and entire. A well-written and well-informed correspondence relating to 'locomotive matters'. Letter One (14 October 1942): Manuscript. Foolscap, 4 pp. Good, on aged high-acidity paper. 'Knowing, and to some extent, at least, sharing' King's 'interest in loco matters', Pimm informs him that the Ministry of Supply 'have ordered 360 L.M.S. mixed traffics generally like the 227 that AW's [Armstrong Whitworth] bill as their last order'. Pimm's 'chief' has told him 'that lately he met some steel foundrymen & asked one of them if he had got the order for the castings. The man asked, in return, how many tons were there on the 227 A.W.'s "mill". My chief, who was estimator at Scotswood [Armstrong Whitworth headquarters], said 'about 22 tons', and the other man went on, 'well, as these engines there are 4 tons, a pair of driving-wheels & some miscellaneous castings, the trailing drivers are <?> - 17 tons tensile - and the tender wheels were to have been solid C.L., chilled on the tread'. Pimm comments on this statement, and on the news of another order. Paragraph on 'two Scotswood men'. Two paragraphs discussing 'the future of steam on railways' and whether 'in this Country the diesel-electric can compete with it for main line & passenger work' ('the prime cost of diesel electrics is higher than its advocates admit, the maintenance is higher and the cost of spares is ruinous'). Full-page discussion of valve-gears. Recounts an anecdote relating to 'Blacklock, chief loco technical man at Scotswood'. Ends by discussing the relative merits of Pacifics ('the best engines the L.N.E.R. had for that district, bar none') and Atlantics ('they won't steam on Scotch coal'). Letter Two (4 November 1942). Typewritten. Foolscap, 3 pp. Good, though lightly creased and aged. Lengthy and informed discussion of 'the locomotive building firms'. Armstrong Whitworth 'had a plant much less antiquated than the rest of the plants in the country. It was bought after the last war, though lately for want of funds it was not renewed it was certainly the least obsolete of all'. Explains, 'in confidence', how the 'Loco. builders [...] kept going before the war': the smaller firms 'tendered for everything, 200 ton engines for Australia, and such like. The large firms protested, pointing out that the small firm couldn't execute the order and therefore shouldn't tender, but the small firm took up an attitude of offended dignity, saying how do you know what we can and cannot do. You don't want anybody to expand, you would keep all the best things for youself. So they continued to tender and to draw their share.' Comments on 'Gresley Pacifics' and 'the old S.W. engine men'. Letter Three (18 December 1942): Manuscript. 8vo, 2 pp. 'Can you not ease off a little. I know another H. G. officer, mang. Director of a firm, who I am sure is doing far too much, but he is so far in, so to speak, that he can't withdraw, or feels that he can't.' Gives reasons for his distrust of 'railway building costs'.