TENDER FRAMES ORDERED FOR BRITAIN’S MOST POWERFUL STEAM LOCOMOTIVE.

Work started on distinctive boiler cladding of No. 2007 Prince of Wales

The project to build new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales is delighted to announce that it has placed a £142,500 order with I D Howitt Ltd of Crofton, West Yorkshire, for the assembly of the locomotive’s tender frames. Ian Howitt was a major contractor during the construction of No. 60163 Tornado, working both at Darlington Locomotive Works and in his own workshops and was responsible for the assembly of the almost identical tender frames for Tornado from 2005 to 2007.

The class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikado’ locomotives were the most powerful passenger steam locomotives to operate in the UK, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route.  Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt in 1943/44 and scrapped by 1961. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (registered charity and builders of famous new 100mph steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado) is building the seventh member of this class over seven years at an estimated cost of £5m. The project will demonstrate how the design can be fully realised through use of modern computer design techniques, enabling the new locomotive to deliver its full potential hauling passenger trains at high speed across today’s national network.

No 60163 Tornados’ frame right way up (22/02/07) (C) Nigel Facer

The Trust had planned to start the tender frames this year, and to this end has already ordered the remaining steel castings for the new locomotive from William Cook Group (the Trust’s principal sponsor) with delivery due in July 2017. Apart from the three engine crossheads, 58 of the 61 castings on the latest order are for the tender.

Once Ian Howitt has made progress with manufacturing the fabricated drag boxes and has machined the castings, the fully machined tender frame plates (presently in store at Darlington Locomotive Works) will be moved to Crofton for assembly. It is expected that the frames will be delivered to Darlington Locomotive Works in late 2018.

In parallel with the assembly of No. 2007’s tender frames, the Trust has started work on the distinctive boiler cladding for the new locomotive. In contrast to the method used to assemble Tornado’s boiler cladding, this will be done by building a ‘skeleton’ which will enable the Trust to make the entire cladding before the actual boiler is delivered. This postpones the need for the boiler to be at Darlington Locomotive Works by at least six months. Once the boiler cladding is finished and primed, it will be dismantled and stored pending fitting to the boiler in 2020.

Boiler Cladding Assembly..P2 (C) A1 Steam Trust

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and well over 800 people have already signed up to the ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer per week’ (£10 per month or more) covenant scheme since its launch.  In addition to this core scheme, funds have been raised through The Founders Club (over 360 people have donated £1,000 each – target 100 people, now closed), The Boiler Club (around 120 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), The Mikado Club (over 135 people have pledged £1,000 each – target 160 people/£200,000), Dedicated Donations (over £200,000 from existing supporters sponsoring a variety of components) and the sponsorship of the locomotive’s distinctive front-end by The Gresley Society Trust. This means that the project has already received pledges of over 45% (including Gift Aid) of the £5m needed to complete the new locomotive by 2021.

Other recent progress includes:

  • Frames: the hardened tender rubbing plate has been permanently fitted to the drag box and the inside of drag box and surrounding frame area has been finish painted along with the underside of the footplating under the cab
  • Wheelsets: assembly of the crank axle is imminent at South Devon Railway Engineering (SDRE); the Cartazzi and pony truck axles and all the crank pins have just been received at Darlington Locomotive Works from Unilathe of stoke on Trent
  • Smokebox: the smoke lifting screen beading is now fully fitted; a volunteer has made a nice job of polishing out the remaining machining and smithing marks on the door hinges and centre boss
  • Sandboxes: the original class P2 locomotives were fitted with gravity sanders for the leading coupled wheels and steam sanders for the driving (second) coupled axle – no back sanders were fitted; with No. 2007 likely to do significant work in reverse, mostly on heritage railways, haulage of substantial loads over significant gradients running tender first is likely to happen; all will now be air operated as per Tornado; Ian Matthews has assembled and fitted the leading and forward driving sandboxes and fitted them to the frames, and now has the kits for the back sandboxes
  • Fittings: the superheater header has arrived at Darlington Locomotive Works
  • Brake & spring gear: orders have been placed with I D Howitt Ltd at Crofton for brake hangers and spring gear details
  • Design: in addition to producing drawings for detailed manufacture of sandboxes, spring hangers and boiler cladding, details are being refined to finalise the design of the pony truck frame.

P2 Roadshows

We continue to promote the P2 Project as widely as possible and have already held four P2 Roadshows in London, Peterborough, Doncaster and York. All were very well attended and resulted in substantial donations and sign-ups on the day, with more coming in over the following weeks. The presentations run from 11:00hrs to 13:00hrs on each of the days listed below, no booking is required, admission is free and open to existing supporters and interested members of the public:

  • Saturday 13th May 2017 – Darlington Locomotive Works, Darlington
  • Saturday 17th June 2017 – Newcastle Mining Institute, Newcastle
  • Saturday 1st July 2017 – Edinburgh Jury’s Inn, Edinburgh
  • Saturday 14th October 2017 – Dundee Heritage Trust Discovery Point, Dundee
  • Saturday 25th November 2017 – Aberdeen Jury’s Inn, Aberdeen.

These presentations are open to anyone wanting to know more about the project and we are encouraging our existing supporters to bring along interested family and friends.

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:

“The order for the tender frames and the starting on the boiler cladding for No. 2007 Prince of Wales mark two significant milestones in the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive. We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since construction started only three years ago. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity, well over £1m has been spent on construction, over £1.3m donated and over £2.3m pledged.

“We are confident that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales in 2017 having reached over 80% of our fundraising target for The Mikado Club and we remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive in 2021. However, to maintain this rate of progress we need to raise more than £700,000 per year, which given the nature of the regular donation scheme becomes more challenging as each year passes. We would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a monthly covenantor or joining The Mikado Club. It’s time to get on board! This year will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales gathers pace.”

Notes: 

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company (P2SLC) has been established to build a new Gresley class P2 Mikado, No. 2007 Prince of Wales, at its Darlington Locomotive Works. Fitted with additional water capacity and the latest railway safety electronics, No. 2007 will be fully equipped for tomorrow’s main line railway. The Gresley class P2 2-8-2s were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK.  They were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley for the London & North Eastern Railway to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Six class P2s were built in 1934-36 but sadly the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt by his successor Edward Thompson into ungainly 4-6-2s in 1943/4 and scrapped by 1961.

The P2SLC is a subsidiary of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, (a registered charity), the builders and operators of world-famous 100mph new steam locomotive No. 60163Tornado which was completed in 2008 – the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in Britain since 1960 and the first to be paid for by public subscription. The new Gresley class P2 will like Tornado be numbered as the next in the series – No. 2007. It is estimated that the new class P2 will cost around £5m to build over a 7-10 year period.  As with Tornado, funds will be raised through regular monthly donations, donations dedicated to specific components and commercial sponsorship.

For details of how to help visit www.p2steam.com, email enquiries@p2steam.com or call 01325 460163.

For more information please contact:

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director, on 07710 878979 or mark.allatt@p2steam.com