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It is a question that often comes up amoungst "friends at the pub" on a Sunday evening... I have often proposed some ideas and my normal general argument goes something like this.

It will be based on the last great technological design leap in locomotives -the Golwe. It should have a Kylchap exhaust system and it should have a deep de Porta "producer gas" firebox burning pulverised coal. Possibly it would employ compounding in the classic "de Borres" or "Smith" methods and it would have a very high degree of superheating. Caprotti valve gear and roller bearing on all surfaces, along with pulse pressure oil feeds to all journals. The stoking would be automatic and there would be some form of automatic water treatment (TIA etc).

After all this -do we simply throw in the towel and build a bigger "Argentina" (?)

Terry's points about "Leader" are well founded, but in my view "Leader" suffered from the basic problem of its designers obsessions... Riddles knew enough about "OVB" to give the guy enough rope to see if the concept could possibly work ,(and it didn't), once in the UK, and once in the Irish Republic -where it burned Peat(!) If "OVB" had kept to the design he originally submitted to Missenden while they were still the Southern Railway then possibly he could have got the double bogied "Stretched Merchant Navy" to have worked. This assumes he ditched the chain drive timing system for the valves, made sure the boiler lagging didn't keep catching fire, etc etc!!! The problems with Number One Bogie on "Leader" could be traced to two root causes. The asymmetric chain drive (my favourite), or the test fault where they reversed the bogie without stopping it first, (Martyns favourite). Some people have put forward the problem is due to the differences in expansion of the sleeves, (Pip's favourite).

Could Leader ever have been made to work -er no...


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