With the cessation of hostilities in France, a considerable quantity of light rail equipment, including Simplex Tractors, became available as War surplus, initially at Purfleet and later in France. Many of these were acquired by industrial concerns eager to exploit this modern form of traction. MRTC, although interested in purchasing the Purfleet locos to sell on, could not afford to buy a large quantity. Tom Dixon Abbott eventually bought a number with the offer for the company to purchase them from him as required. Many ex War Department Simplex Tractors also passed through the hands of dealers. One such was William Jones Ltd., with whom the company later bought 66 derelict Tractors from a site in France under a “pooling” arrangement, whereby each firm would overhaul half the Tractors and share the profit. Sales of pooled Tractors occurred from 1922 to 1929, when the pooling arrangement was cancelled.
The Locomotive Hire Business
In 1921, after enquiries from several customers, the first discussions over locomotive hiring took place. Hiring could be an attractive proposition for customers interested in assessing the new form of traction. Tom Dixon Abbott favoured the idea, but the company was not in a position to proceed for financial reasons. Instead, a hire business was set up as a separate concern, under the control of the Abbotts, and favourable purchase prices and credit terms were agreed. This business would in 1924 become Petrol Loco Hirers Ltd., and in turn this company, including its 103 locos, would be acquired by MRTC in 1930 for £12,400. As a result of the increase in locomotives being powered by diesel units, the company also decided to set up Diesel Loco Hirers Ltd. as a joint stock company with Petrol Loco Hirers Ltd., and this was done in 1935. In 1960, the name of Petrol Loco Hirers was changed as it was effectively defunct with no petrol locos having been built since 1941. The name change to Dumpahirers Ltd. in 1960 reflected the hire of another of the company’s products - the diesel dumper.
In 1920, the adjoining
Grosvenor works of Slogger Engineering became available and was purchased. This
completed the purchases of land and buildings, apart from the purchase of
adjacent cottages on Elstow Rd. and Grosvenor St. that Tom Dixon Abbott would
arrange to acquire as and when they became available and would rent out to
company employees. In c1921 the two factory buildings were joined together by an
arched roof, making one large building. The original laundry would have two
stories added on stilts due to the inability of the existing structure to
support the additional floors. An office block was built in 1938 on the front of
the laundry, and in 1952 a completely new building was erected at the rear of
the premises for the production of 9 Ton locos.
CLICK HERE for plan of the Elstow Road works.