The project to build Britain’s most powerful express passenger steam locomotive today announced that it had agreed a £350,000 order for a state-of-the-art electrical system for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.  The electrical system, based on that fitted to No. 60163 Tornado, includes systems that generate and store electricity, together with lighting and instrumentation systems.  Also included are all current railway safety and communication systems, plus new systems that will soon be needed on the Network Rail main line.

The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK. They were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley in the 1930s to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt by his successor Edward Thompson into ungainly class A2/2 4-6-2 ‘Pacifics’ in 1943/4, and scrapped by 1961. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (A1SLT – registered charity and builders of famous new 100mph steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado) is building the seventh member of this class at its Darlington Locomotive Works (DLW) over seven years, at an estimated cost of £5m through its P2 Steam Locomotive Company subsidiary. 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.

In order to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales by 2021, the Trust needed start work on the electrical systems during the third quarter of 2018 and at its most recent board meeting, the Trustees reviewed the proposed system’s architecture, key equipment locations, wiring & interconnect, power generation & supply, essential lamps, systems and instrumentation.

The Electrical system for No. 2007 Prince of Wales will be based on that fitted to No. 60163 Tornado which has operated successfully for the past 10 years. It will be based on the following key principles:

  • Dual redundant power supplies
  • Electronic battery management
  • Steam turbine and axle-driven generators
  • All LED lighting
  • Structured trunking system for wiring
  • Military specification components for reliability
  • Optimised equipment locations for minimum wiring

The new system will improve on that fitted to Tornado, especially with regard to access and maintenance, and systems will be moved from the engine to the tender where practical. It will use the same tried and tested components for critical systems (including Huber + Suhner 4GKW Traction Cable for all wiring and AB MIL-C 5015 bayonet connectors). Conventional wiring will be used for power and lighting. A bus-based communication system is being considered for instrumentation, along with wireless connectivity where required.

The key elements include:

  • Electrical systems: battery boxes (under the cab), control panels (driver’s & fireman’s side roof), distribution boards (under the crew seats), steam turbo-generators (two located on fireman’s side running plate, (arranged to look like the feedwater heater on the original class P2 No. 2001 Cock O’The North) and tender alternator (behind and driven from the rear axle)
  • Existing railway safety systems: On-Train Monitoring Recorder (OTMR), Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) and Global System for Mobile Communications Railway (GSM-R)
  • European Train Control System (ETCS): European Vital Computer (EVC), Train Interface Unit (TIU), Juridical Recording Unit (JRU), Euroradio, Balise Transmission Module (BTM) and ETCS Batteries (if required) all in a new locker on front of tender with a filtered air supply for cooling; Balise Antenna (under engine); 2-3 Tachometers; 1-2 Doppler Radars; two GSM-R Data Radio Antennas (on rear of tender top); and Driver Machine Interface (DMI)
  • Wiring system: a structured stainless steel box trunking system, designed on 3D CAD, will be used for the main ‘spine’ trunks on engine and tender; most of the rest of the conduit will be flexible; visible conduit (e.g. in the cab) will be galvanised tube; an improved system for connecting the cab to the frames will be implemented
  • Power generation: a new design for an axle-driven alternator based on an off-the-shelf truck alternator is well underway (output around 160A at 27V DC (4.3KVA); the Trust’s own design of turbo-generator also underway (output around 25A at 27V DC (675VA) with two fitted with a £7,350 order for a first complete new turbine wheel placed with Durham Precision Engineering; there will also be a shore power supply fitted
  • Essential lamps: replicas of the distinctive class P2 lamps will be constructed and fitted with new LED luminaries inside (the P2s didn’t have Stones marker lamps, so will need a combined head, tail and marker lamp within the same housing); the rear of the tender will be equipped with recessed marker/tail lamps and lamp brackets/plugin points for headlamps if needed on heritage railways (or for a main line Plandampf)
  • Instrumentation system: drawbar horsepower measurement (effectively a dynamometer car), cameras, pressure sensors, temperature monitors and sensors to monitor important cambox parameters

The team, led by Electrical Director Rob Morland, includes Alan Parkin (power generation and 3D CAD design), John Moyce (instrumentation), Steve Sims (instrumentation) and Paul Depledge (implementation). The electrical part of the project will run from now through to 2021, in parallel with the mechanical engineering work.

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 delivered, Cartazzi and coupled wheelsets 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
  • Smokebox and cab substantially complete
  • Crosshead castings received
  • Boiler cladding trial fitted to engine frames
  • Tender frame construction under way, axlebox and other tender castings delivered from William Cook Cast Products, I D Howitt Ltd of Crofton near Wakefield commissioned to erect tender frame – many detailed parts made including front drag box and brake linkage, castings being machined
  • Nameplates and chime whistle delivered
  • Over £1.9m spent, £2.4m raised and £3.1m pledged of the required £5m.

Rob Morland, Electricals Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:

“The electrical system for No. 2007 Prince of Wales build upon that which has successfully operated on No. 60163 Tornado for the past 10 years. In that time there have only been a few minor component failures, and some water ingress issues, in a system which has over three miles of cable, 60 connectors and 250 separate wire runs. The new system will benefit from the experience of operating Tornado on the main line and heritage railways, particularly with regards to access and maintenance. It is also, as much as possible, future-proofed to enable Prince of Wales to operate seamlessly on the modern and future Digital Railway.”

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

“We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity, over £3m has now been donated or pledged.

“Our £350,000 investment in Prince of Wales’s electrical system is part of the Trust’s policy of enabling our new steam locomotives to work on the modern railway side-by-side with the latest diesel and electric traction. Although the initial investment will come from our general construction funds, we will be launching a dedicated funding campaign in due course. We remain confident that we are on-track for completion of new Gresley class P2 locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales in 2021.

“I 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 ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ Covenantor. 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 gathers pace.”

For more information about No. 2007 Prince of Wales, email enquiries@p2steam.com, call 01325 460163 or visit www.p2steam.com for more information.


Power supply panels,Essential Services Control Panel & Outside Frame LED Lighting fitted to “Tornado”. (C) Rob Morland.

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