2007 Prince of Wales.(A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Image)

The project to build new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales is delighted to announce that Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd, Darlington-based global leaders in technology based engineering, construction and steel fabrication services, is to assemble the locomotive’s tender tank.

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.

Cleveland Bridge has agreed to build the new locomotive’s tender tank on very beneficial terms.  They have agreed to fabricate the tender tank, the construction of which is like a lightweight box girder structure, from weathering steel plate as well as shot blasting and primer painting the finished structure. The construction of the tender will take an estimated two years, with a break part way through the process for the tender tank base plate to go to the workshop of I D Howitt in Crofton, West Yorkshire to be trial fitted to the tender frames. This is the same process that was used for the tender built for No. 60163 Tornado.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has agreed to provide a number of Cleveland Bridge apprentices with the opportunity to assist in building No. 2007 Prince of Wales,providing them with experience in a different engineering environment.  Overall, the sponsorship by Cleveland Bridge is significant to the project and enables us to bring forward the construction of the tender by at least 12 months.

Cleveland Bridge Apprentices. (Cleveland Bridge Image)

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.

Other recent progress includes:

  • Wheelsets: assembly of the crank axle has been completed by South Devon Railway Engineering (SDRE) and it is in the process of finish machining by Unilathe of Stoke on Trent;  The Cartazzi axle, wheels and tyres are with SDRE  for assembly
  • Smokebox: the smoke lifting screen beading is now fully fitted
  • Sandboxes: the original class P2 locomotives were fitted with gravity sanders for the leading coupled wheels and steam operated forward sanders for the driving coupled wheels. No backward sanders were fitted. No. 2007 is likely to do significant work in reverse, mostly on heritage railways, but from time to time hauling substantial loads over significant gradients on the main line running tender first. The leading and forward driving sanders have been altered for air operation (as perTornado) and new backward sandboxes and fillers have been designed. All six sandboxes and fillers have been assembled and fitted to the frames
  • 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
  • Boiler Cladding: The boiler cladding has been modified from the original design to reflect minor changes in the specification of No. 2007, including reducing the overall height of the locomotive by one inch to comply with the “go anywhere” national network loading gauge. A skeleton frame is being manufactured to enable the cladding to be made prior to delivery of the boiler. This enables the Trust to put off ordering the boiler by six months and still maintain the anticipated completion date.

Chris Droogan, Managing Director of Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd, commented:

“At Cleveland Bridge we are very conscious of our 140 years of heritage, building many of the most iconic structures in the world including the Victoria Falls Bridge, Bosphorus Bridge, Tsing Ma bridge in Hong Kong, Jiangyin Bridge over the Yangtze, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Thames Flood Barrier, Queen Elizabeth II bridge at Dartford and most recently the Forth Replacement Crossing. Engineering Excellence is at the core of everything we do, and are delighted to support The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in its project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive as they share our commitment to new and higher standards of excellence.”

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

“We are pleased to welcome Darlington-based and world leading Cleveland Bridge as a sponsor of No. 2007 Prince of Wales. Their sponsorship of the construction of No. 2007’s tender and secondment of apprentices to Darlington Locomotive Works to work on the engine, will help the Trust to maintain the progress necessary to complete the new locomotive by 2021.

“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 2017 having already reached 100% of our initial 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 continues to gather pace.”