Update on the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive

The project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive will be holding a number of roadshows in 2018 with the first at the London Transport Museum on Saturday 13th January 2018. Following on from the roadshow in London, there will be a showing of ‘Tornado – the 100mph steam engine’ and ‘Absolutely Chuffed: The Men Who Built A Steam Engine’, along with guest presenter Tom Ingall, who was the Director, Producer and Narrator of these documentaries. Entrance into both the P2 Roadshow and the special viewing is free. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced that it will be holding a number of presentations on the project to build new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales in 2018.

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 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.

The first Roadshow is at The London Transport Museum, where all attendees will receive complimentary access to the Museum Galleries on the day, followed at 14:00hrs by a viewing of ‘Tornado – the 100mph steam engine’ and ‘Absolutely Chuffed: The Men Who Built A Steam Engine’. Entrance to both the roadshow and the special viewing is free.  Each presentation will feature key Trust personnel including Mark Allatt (P2 Project Director) and David Elliott (Director of Engineering) and will cover the background to the project, progress to-date, future plans and details of how to get involved. The presentation will start promptly at 11:00hrs until 13:00hrs on each of the days listed below and are open to existing supporters and interested members of the public:

  • Saturday 13th January 2018 – The London Transport Museum, London
  • Saturday 10th February 2018 – The Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough
  • Saturday 3rd March 2018 – The Principle Hotel, York
  • Saturday 7th April 2018 – Darlington Locomotive Works, Darlington
  • Saturday 19th May 2018 – Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield
  • Saturday 9th June 2018 – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
  • Saturday 8th September 2018 – Derby Conference Centre, Derby
  • Saturday 3rd November 2018 – Manchester – venue to be confirmed
  • Saturday 8th December 2018 – Hilton Leeds City Hotel, Leeds.

 Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and over 840 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 (well over 130 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), The Mikado Club (over 180 people have pledged £1,000 each – extended target of 200 people/£250,000), The Cylinder Club (over 65 people have pledged £1,000 each – target 100 people), Dedicated Donations (over £220,000 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 £2.7m – 54% (including Gift Aid) of the £5m needed to complete the new locomotive by 2021.

Progress building Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive continues at Darlington Locomotive Works and includes:

  • Frame plates for engine and tender rolled and profiled; engine’s frames erected at Darlington Locomotive Works; all major engine frame stays, brackets, horn blocks, axle boxes and buffers cast (44 in total); over 1,000 fitted and driven bolts ordered and delivered, approximately 800 now fitted to the frames
  • All 20 wheels for engine and tender cast and proof machined; roller bearings for all engine and tender wheelsets and engine axles (including crank axle), tyres and crank pins delivered, tender axles, tyres ordered and first wheelset complete
  • Preliminary discussions held with boiler manufacturers and forged foundation ring corners manufactured and machined; start made on boiler fittings with castings for combined injector steam and delivery valves
  • Study into ride and suspension completed using rail industry standard Vampire® software; finite Element Analysis completed on re-designed crank axle to ensure locomotive complies with modern standards; assessment and notified body appointed to oversee certification – first site visit made
  • Cab erected and cab side window frames fitted; engine footplating and splasher kits delivered and permanently fitted to frames
  • Smokebox door pressed details made and door completed, door frame manufactured, smokebox delivered and erected; chimney cast and fitted
  • Crosshead castings ordered
  • Boiler cladding assembly jig built, cladding crinolines and hoops rolled and fitted to jig, cladding sheets procured, rolled and being fitting to the jig
  • Tender frame construction under way, axlebox and other tender castings ordered from William Cook Cast Products
  • Nameplates and chime whistle delivered
  • Over £1.3m spent, £1.7m raised and £2.7m pledged of the required £5m.

The projects objectives for 2018 are to:

  • Complete No. 2007’s wheelsets
  • Continue the boiler procurement
  • Order the cylinder block
  • Design and order the first motion parts
  • Progress work on the tender
  • Commence the electrical design.

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

“The past four years have seen dramatic progress toward our aim of completing new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales by 2021. No. 2007 is already at the stage Tornado was nine years into the project. We are holding a series of free roadshow presentations in 2018, starting in London at the London Transport Museum, to promote the £5m project and at each we will cover the background to the project, our progress to-date, future plans and details of how to get involved. These presentations are open to anyone interested in the project and we are encouraging our existing supporters to bring along interested family and friends.”

“Now is the time to get on board this ground breaking project and help the Trust to raise the £5 million needed to ensure its completion in 2021.”