The project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has appointed Daniela Filová as its Assistant Mechanical Engineer. This coincides with the money spent to-date on the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales passing the £1.5m mark – 30% of the estimated £5m total. Daniela’s appointment will help to ensure that the project remains on schedule for completion in 2021 and enable the Darlington-based team to complete the wheelsets, continue the boiler procurement, order the cylinder block, design & order the first motion parts, continue to progress work on the tender and commence the electrical design during 2018. Daniela joins the young female team working for The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust with Gemma Braithwaite as Office Manager and Sophie Bunker-James as Railtours Marketing Manager, proof that building and operating new steam locomotives is no longer just jobs for the boys!

Girl Power in front of No. 2007 Prince of Wales. From right to left, Daniela Filová, Gemma Braithwaite and Sophie Bunker-James. Credit A1SLT

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 100mph new steam locomotive No. 60163Tornado) 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.

Daniela, who is from the Czech Republic, has relocated to Darlington to be part of the team building Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive. She has a background in intellectual property and has also run her own live steam model engineering and manufacturing business, Daniela also has considerable experience in the use of the Solid Works 3D Computer Aided Design software used by on the project and has already put this to good use, producing the manufacturing drawing for the cylinder covers.

It was anticipated at the outset of the project that extra resources would be required as the build developed and the decision was taken by the Trust in September 2017 to recruit an Assistant Mechanical Engineer to expedite production of manufacturing drawings. Daniela Filová was appointed following a recruitment process carried out in collaboration with Teesside University.

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 (almost 140 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), The Cylinder Club (almost 90 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 raised – including Gift Aid – £1.8m and received pledges of £2.8m of the required £5m.

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, steam stand and superheater header
  • Study into ride and suspension completed using rail industry standard Vampire® software; finite Element Analysis completed on re-designed crank axle to ensure 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 delivered
  • 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 delivered from William Cook Cast Products
  • Nameplates and chime whistle delivered

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

“We are delighted to welcome Daniela Filová to the team building new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales at Darlington Locomotive Works. Daniela joins the young female team working for The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, proof that building and operating new steam locomotives is no longer just jobs for the boys or even old men! Now is the time to get on board this ground-breaking project and help the Trust to raise the £5m needed to ensure its completion in 2021.”

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust will be holding a series of roadshows about the project to build new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales across the UK in 2018. 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 presentations will start promptly at 11:00hrs and run until 13:00hrs on each of the days listed below and are open to existing supporters and interested members of the public:

  • Saturday 10th February 2018 – The Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough
  • Saturday 3rd March 2018 – The Principal 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 Conference Centre, Manchester
  • Saturday 8th December 2018 – Hilton Leeds City Hotel, Leeds.

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