P2 Frames and Cylinder Block Lentz-Franklin B Valves.(P2SLC Images)

Significant Progress on Wheeling of No. 2007 Prince of Wales

The project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive is delighted to announce that the cylinder block for No. 2007 Prince of Wales is fully funded and that considerable progress has been made on its redesign. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust launched The Cylinder Club to raise £100,000 from 100 supporters each donating £1,000 (plus GAD) in up to eight payments of £125 by standing order to pay for the redesign and manufacture of the new steam locomotive’s cylinder block in October 2017 and reached its target two months early.

This coincides with the money spent to-date on the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales passing the £1.6m mark – 30% of the estimated £5m total. The funding of the cylinder block 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.

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. 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 work involved in designing and manufacturing the new cylinder block includes:

  • Convert the original class P2 one-piece casting into a welded fabrication including Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to check for structural integrity
  • Improve the layout of the valves to reduce the clearance volume (which affects cylinder efficiency)
  • Re-route the steam and exhaust passages to physically separate them to prevent incoming steam from heating the outgoing exhaust
  • Increase the size and improve internal streamlining of steam passages along Chapelon lines to increase maximum power and improve economy
  • Reduce the overall width of the cylinder block to provide Prince of Wales with the widest possible route availability on the main line.

Manufacture the cylinder block including:

  • Producing the welded fabrication
  • Stress relieving
  • Grit blasting and painting with high temperature paint
  • Machining
  • Fitting cylinder liners and valve seats
  • Manufacturing and fitting cylinder and valve covers
  • Hydraulic testing the assembly.

To date we have completed the conceptual design of the cylinder block and it is expected that the Trust will place of order for the fabrication of the new cylinder block in 2018 for delivery in Summer 2019.

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 Cylinder Club (the target of 100 people have pledged £1,000 each – 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), Dedicated Donations (over £225,000 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.

Meanwhile, in Darlington Locomotive Works, there has been considerable progress towards the wheeling of No. 2007 Prince of Wales, which was delayed due to a supplier error to the plain axles resulting in their scrapping and replacement by supplier but at the expense of a six-month delay. In recent weeks we have fitted the bearing to all the plain axles. Over the next few weeks all the components for the wheelsets will be sent to South Devon Railway Engineering to prepare for the tyres to be fitted to the wheels, wheels to be fitted to the axles and the fitting of the crank pins which should result in the wheeling of the engine in May 2018.

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 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 received
  • 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

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

“We are delighted to announce that The Cylinder Club has reached its 100 members target two months early. This means that this critical part of No. 2007 Prince of Wales is now fully funded through the £100,000 plus Gift Aid donated by our supporters. Our engineering team is now working on the technical design of the cylinder block with the intention for placing an order for the fabrication in October 2018 for delivery in summer 2019.

“In the meantime, fitting of the bearings, means that our fundraising efforts are now focused on recruiting the last 20 members for The Mikado Club to fund the wheeling of the locomotive, each donating £1,000 plus Gift Aid to the project, with the intention of wheeling the engine in May 2018.

“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 is 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 7thApril 2018 – Darlington Locomotive Works, Darlington
  • Saturday 19thMay 2018 – Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield
  • Saturday 9thJune 2018 – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
  • Saturday 8thSeptember 2018 – Derby Conference Centre, Derby
  • Saturday 3rdNovember 2018 – Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
  • Saturday 8thDecember 2018 – Hilton Leeds City Hotel, Leeds.