P2 Progress.(David Elliott) &  2007 Cylinder Cover Castings.(Gemma Braithwaite)

Significant Progress on Cylinder Block Design

The project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive is delighted to announce that the first components for the cylinder block for No. 2007 Prince of Wales have been delivered. The three cylinder cover castings which were made from Spheriodal Graphite Iron were produced by H. Downs & Sons foundry in Huddersfield from a pattern produced by John Hazlehurst of Swineshead near Boston. In the meantime, work continues on the redesign of the original Gresley class P2 No. 2001 Cock O’The North’s monobloc cylinder casting to a welded fabrication incorporating the improved version of the Lentz rotary cam poppet valve gear developed by the Franklin Company in the USA in the mid-1940s. No. 2007’s cylinder block design will also include improvements along the lines of famous French railway engineer André Chapelon to increase maximum power and improve economy.

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 No. 2007’s new cylinder block includes:

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

Manufacture of the new cylinder block includes:

  • 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 the Trust has completed the conceptual design of the cylinder block and it is expected that an order will be placed for its fabrication in the first quarter of 2019 for delivery before the end of 2019.

The delivery of the three cylinder cover castings coincides with the money spent to-date on the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales passing the £2.1 million mark – 42% of the estimated £5m total required. In March 2018, the Trust announced that The Cylinder Club, established to pay for the cylinder block, had reached its 100 members target and pledges of £100,000 plus Gift Aid. The funding of the cylinder block will help to ensure that the project remains on schedule for completion in 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, axleboxes 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; engine wheelset assembly complete, balance weights manufactured and fitted, tender axles delivered
  • 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; order placed with DB Dampflokwerk Meiningen to update the design to incorporate modifications and improvements fitted toTornado’s boiler over the last 10 years
  • Study into ride and suspension completed using rail industry standard Vampire® software; Finite Element Analysis completed on re-designed crank axle to ensure it 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; connecting and coupling rods ordered and manufacture started
  • Boiler cladding assembly jig built, cladding crinolines and hoops rolled and fitted to jig, cladding sheets made and trial fitted to the engine’s frame
  • Tender frame construction under way, axleboxes and other tender castings delivered from William Cook Cast Products; tender tank procurement process underway
  • Nameplates and chime whistle delivered.

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high with almost 900 people having 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, 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 to each pledge £1,000 each achieved – now closed), The Boiler Club (over 165 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), The Mikado Club (the target of 200 people to each pledge £1,000  reached – now closed), Dedicated Donations (over £265,000 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 – £2.5m and received pledges of £3.1m of the required £5m.

Over the next 12 months, the Darlington-based team aims to:

  • Complete the pony truck
  • Select the manufacturer and place the order for the boiler
  • Make substantial progress on the tender tank and frames
  • Finish the detailed design of the electrical system
  • Complete the overhaul of and fit two steam driven air pumps
  • Manufacture and take delivery of most of the coupling and connecting rods
  • Complete the cylinder block design with construction nearing completion
  • Start manufacture of the valve gear.

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

“We are delighted to announce that the first cylinder components for No. 2007 Prince of Wales, in the shape of the three cylinder cover castings, have been delivered to Darlington Locomotive Works having been cast by H. Downs & Sons Ltd of Huddesfield. This follows on from our announcement in March 2018 that The Cylinder Club, founded to pay for the cylinder block, had reached its 100 members target two months early. This meant 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 continues to work on the technical design of the cylinder block with the intention for placing an order for the fabrication in the first quarter of 2019 for delivery towards the end of 2019.

“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/or 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 3rd November 2018 – Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
  • Saturday 8th December 2018 – Hilton Leeds City Hotel, Leeds.