We are constantly seeing new innovative floor plan ideas from the coach manufacturers. In the coming weeks we will touch on one or two of these, but today let’s look at the midship entry. While we are used to seeing the near midship entry on gasoline powered “A” class coaches, there have been some offerings on the larger diesel pushers. A far as the gas rigs, the entry door could not be located ahead of the passenger seat due to the front axle placement. The axle’s position is dictated by the front engine’s weight. This meant the door would have to be located aft of the front seats toward or at the midships. This basically has been unchanged over the years and remains so today.
So why did rear engine diesel coaches opt for the front door design? Well, first off, they could, as the front axle could be located considerably further from the coach front and actually even aft of the driver’s position. This also would copy the commercial city bus look with the main entrance within control of the operator. Additionally it would not use, or cut up, valuable basement storage entry.
Through the years however, several coach makers have offered midship entry doors in large diesel pushers, Newell, for one. This was probably done for a number of reasons including a growing demand by some buyers. So just what did this design provide and what were the trade-offs?
On the plus side, the mid entry provided easier access from the galley (kitchen for those landlubbers) to the outside. It also leaves the front passenger side far less crowded and has a stationary floor, no screen door and generally larger windows with far less view obstruction. The passenger seat could also be located further forward more inline with that of the driver. Less wind noise is still another benefit as there was no sealed opening that may have occasion to make sounds.
On the negative side, the midship entry chops up or reduces valuable living space on some floor plans. In comparison, the front entry essentially does not take up real living space and is also much narrower on many floor plans. The midship entry also is more prone to squeeking while the coach is in motion. This is due to its location near the center of the frame where the normal frame flexing is at its greatest. Basement access at the midship door area can also be a challenge. Additionally, as crazy as it sounds, the perceived look of the gas like looking entry was, and is, an issue for some die hard DP fans.
I guess the bottom line is really the floor plan. Whether the door is up front or located midship is probably not relevant. Like they say in real estate, it’s all about “location, location” except in this case it’s all about “floor plan, floor plan”
With Just a Point of View Lug_Nut