A DINOSAUR APPEARS IN DARLINGTON!(The P2 Steam Locomotive Company (P2SLC))


The project building new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales is delighted to announce that work has started on the manufacture of the new locomotive’s distinctive boiler cladding at Darlington Locomotive Works. In contrast to the method used to assemble No. 60163 Tornado’s boiler cladding, the project is using a different technique for Prince of Wales. Work is now well under way on building the dinosaur-like skeleton (unofficially named ‘Craig the Cretaceous’) to support the cladding sheets.

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, builders and operators 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.

Progress to-date on the boiler cladding has included the frame design and fitting of the crinoline rings and handrail batons to the jig. It will enable the Trust to make the entire cladding before the boiler itself is delivered. This postpones the need for the £½m 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 newly delivered boiler in 2020.

Boiler Cladding.(P2 Project Images)

A variety of boiler cladding related components are available for current supporters to sponsor through the Trust’s Dedicated Donations Scheme, ranging from a ‘wash out door escutcheon’ at £70 each and a ‘crinoline ring half’ at £120 each to the ‘fire hole mask plate’ at £500 and a ‘cladding sheet rear firebox corner’ at £800 each. Supporters who subscribe to the scheme will have their names inscribed on the official roll of honour at Darlington Locomotive Works listing the components sponsored, receive a certificate recording the sponsorship and copy of the drawing of the component.

Supporters wishing to sponsor one of the above items – or another component on Prince of Wales – should contact the Trust’s Dedicated Donations team ondedicated.donations@p2steam.com. The Dedicated Donations scheme is open to current A1 and P2 Covenantors and members of The Founders Club, The Boiler Club, The Mikado Club and The163 Pacifics Club. Different payment options may be available upon request, please contact us to discuss.

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and well over 830 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 160 people have pledged £1,000 each – target now raised from160 to 200 people and £200,000 to £250,000), 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.

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

“Darlington’s new dinosaur – ‘Craig the Cretaceous’ – is playing a vital role in resurrecting part of Britain’s long-lost railway heritage through the building of the seventh Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales at Darlington Locomotive Works. This initiative is a unique opportunity for supporters to be associated with a highly visible component of No. 2007 and the funds raised will help to ensure that Prince of Wales will be completed on schedule. Just as with the similar scheme that helped to fund the construction of now world-famous Tornado, supporters who subscribe to the scheme will have the satisfaction of pointing to the part of the locomotive they paid for when No. 2007 enters service. 2017 will see further major announcements as the construction of Prince of Wales gathers pace.

“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 £1.4m donated and over £2.4m pledged.

“We are confident that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales in winter 2017/18 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 and taking part in our Dedicated Donations scheme. This year will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales continues to gather pace.”