(P2SLT Image)

The Motion Club recruits 80 members and coupling & connecting rods are in production

The project to build Britain’s most powerful express passenger steam locomotive today announced The Motion Club, which was launched in April 2018, had raised over £100,000 of its £210,000 objective and welcomed almost half of its 175-member target. The Motion Club aims to raise £210,000 through 175 supporters each donating £1,000 (plus Gift Aid), in up to eight payments of £125, to manufacture the motion for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

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.

Outside Motion.(P2SLT Image)

In order to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales by 2021, the Trust needed to order the heavy motion this year. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters and the rapid uptake of The Motion Club, the Trust was confident enough to place the £181,000 order with Stephenson Engineering Ltd of Atherton, Manchester for the heavy motion in May. The order included the forging, machining and heat treatment of the nine heavy motion rods – intermediate coupling rod LH/RH, trailing coupling rod LH/RH, leading coupling rod LH/RH, outside connecting rod LH/RH and the inside connecting rod assembly (including strap, gluts and strap nuts and washers) – and the combined piston and rod. The motion is expected to be delivered in batches between December 2018 and December 2019, with the first items, the intermediate coupling rods, expected to be delivered towards the end of December 2018. Orders to follow for the detail motion parts include rod bushes, oil box covers and miscellaneous components.

Following the success of The Founders Club (to get the project to the point of cutting the frames – target surpassed and now closed), The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler – still open), The Mikado Club (to wheel the locomotive – target reached and now closed) and The Cylinder Club (to make the cylinder block – target reached and now closed), the Trust decided to establish The Motion Club to raise an estimated £210,000 required to manufacture No. 2007’s motion.

In return for supporting this appeal, special benefits for members of The Motion Club include:

  • Opportunity to buy ticket (seat already reserved) on one of the first trains hauled by No. 2007 Prince of Wales
  • Reasonable access to No. 2007 at all times
  • Opportunity to buy exclusive Motion Club badge
  • Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
  • First choice of other components to sponsor
  • Special Motion Club day with Tornado
  • Special limited-edition version (signed/numbered) of Stuart Black’s drawing of No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

The work involved in designing and manufacturing the motion includes:

  • Redesign of coupling and connecting rods to use modern material (pre-war nickel chrome steel alloy proved prone to fracture)
  • Incorporation of late-pattern BR-type continuous white metal lined crank pin bearing bushes
  • Use of the late-A1 design of inside connecting rod which overcame the tendency for the original design of inside connecting rods on LNER ‘Pacifics’ to big-end failure
  • Open die forging of six coupling rods, two outside connecting rods and the inside connecting rod and strap
  • CNC machining of all rods
  • Manufacture of oil box lids, coupling rod knuckle pins, nuts and washers and bearing bush keys
  • Casting of leaded gunmetal and phosphor bronze castings of crank pin bearing bushes
  • Machining and white metalling of bearing bushes
  • Fitting oil box tops
  • Assembly of bearing bushes to rods
  • Polishing rods.

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, pony truck and coupled wheelsets complete
  • Preliminary discussions held with boiler manufacturers. Forged foundation ring corners manufactured; start made on boiler fittings with castings for combined injector steam and delivery valves, steam stand and valves, 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 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 and 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 £2m spent, £2.4m raised and £3.1m pledged of the required £5m.

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. Recently, we have focused on the wheeling of No. 2007 and completing the boiler cladding.

We now want to turn our attention to the motion which is our next major design and manufacturing challenge. Given the level of support The Motion Club has received in just three months, we are confident we can raise the additional £110,000 needed to pay for the heavy motion, and remain 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 member of The Motion Club, The Boiler Club or 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.”

To become a member of The Motion Club, email, call 01325 460163 or visit for more information.