Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen recently visited Darlington Locomotive Works, which is where new build Gresley class P2 steam locomotive, No. 2007 Prince of Wales is currently under construction. Famous new 100mph steam locomotive, Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado, was completed at Darlington Locomotive Works by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (a registered charity) in 2008.
No. 2007 Prince of Wales(P2SLC Image)
During the visit Mr Houchen was given a briefing on a The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s progress to-date and its ambitious plans for expansion.
Its current project is employing the latest computer-aided design and modelling techniques to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales. Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, the ‘Mikado’ hauled 600 ton trains between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and was the most powerful express passenger steam locomotive to run in the UK.
The Mayor heard first-hand the Trust’s plans for a larger base in Darlington where it would build and maintain its growing fleet of locomotives and rolling stock. The Trust also has ambitions to create a state-of-the-art charter train, from a set of locomotive-hauled Mark 3 carriages, which will be extensively refurbished and overhauled for its new role.
The Trust has over 2,500 supporters who raised the £3m needed to complete Tornado and are now raising £5m to build Prince of Wales. It also has the backing of leading British business including William Cook Cast Products, Cleveland Bridge and Virgin Trains East Coast.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen commented:
“This is a wonderful project taking place at the home of the modern passenger railway and we should be getting behind it.
“It was exciting to hear the Trust is looking to expand into a larger and better facility. It will be a fantastic thing to be able to take this project forward to the next level, even beyond completion of the Prince of Wales, which is an achievement in itself.”
Mark Allatt(right) & Ben Houchen.(P2SLC Image)
Mark Allatt, Trustee and P2 Project Director commented:
“One of the remarkable things about this project is the amount of money we’re putting back into local industry; around 70 per cent of the £5 million we’re spending on Prince of Wales is going to be spent with businesses in the local area.
“We’ve briefed the Mayor on our exciting plans for the future and he is fully supportive of what we are trying to achieve.”
Note: On 4th May 2017, residents of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees elected Ben Houchen (Conservative) as the first Tees Valley Mayor. The Mayor chairs the Combined Authority and works alongside the five Tees Valley Councils to improve the economy of the area, bring in new investment and create jobs. He has responsibility over transport, homes & communities, culture & tourism, skills & education, business growth & investment and devolution.
To find out more please visit http://www.teesvalleymayor.co.uk