FIVE YEARS OF PRINCELY PROGRESS!(A1SLT)

P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ covenanted donations to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales break through £200,000 per year

 

On this day five years ago, a momentous moment in the history of the project to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales occurred – the formal start of the construction of Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive. On Saturday 19th July 2014 this event was marked by the dedication of the engine’s frames by Darlington’s member of Parliament Jenny Chapman MP and the then Major of Darlington Councillor Gerald Lee. Since then the giant locomotive has started to take shape in Darlington Locomotive Works and is now over 40% complete and on target for completion within the next three years.

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.

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive become a reality sooner rather than later is high. Since its launch in late September 2013 fundraising for the project to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales has made rapid progress with over 930 supporters already signed up to the ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer per week’ (£2.50 per week) covenant scheme. Over the duration of the project this is estimated to be worth over £1.3m of the £5m needed to complete Prince of Wales.

We have over 930 covenantors donating over £205,000pa

  • The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler through 300 supporters each donating £2,000) has reached 178 members with almost £450,000 donated
  • The Motion Club (to fund forging and machining of the heavy motion through 175 supporters each donating £1,000) has reached 141 members with over £175,000 donated
  • The Tender Club (recently launched to fund the construction the tender through 250 supporters each donating £1,500) has reached 25 members with almost £50,000 donated
  • The Dedicated Donations scheme (to fund numerous components) has raised around £350,000 to-date with new parts being frequently made available for sponsorship
  • The Founders Club (to get the project to the point of assembling the frames raised £450,000 from 350 supporters), The Mikado Club (to wheel the locomotive raised £250,000 from 200 supporters and The Cylinder Club (to fund the design and manufacture the cylinder block raised £120,000 from 100 supporters) have all now closed having reached or exceeded their targets.

Progress building Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive continues at Darlington Locomotive Works and includes:

• Engine’s frames erected; all major engine frame stays, brackets, horn blocks, axle boxes and buffers cast; around 1,000 driven bolts fitted to the frames

• All engine wheelsets complete; materials for tender wheelsets delivered

• Boiler design study commissioned, and forged foundation ring corners manufactured and machined; start made on boiler fittings with castings for combined injector steam and delivery valves; regulator castings delivered; superheater header cast and machined; boiler cladding manufactured and trial fitted to frames; boiler order (for an heir and a spare) placed with DB Meiningen for delivery in July 2021

• 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

• Cab erected and cab side and spectacle window frames fitted; engine footplating and splasher kits delivered and permanently fitted to frames

• Smokebox assembled and trial fitted to the frames; chimney cast and fitted

• Tender tank and frames construction under way, axlebox and other tender castings produced by William Cook Cast Products

• Significant progress on design and manufacture of pipework and electrical system

• Many non-ferrous fittings are being cast and machined

• Nameplates and chime whistle delivered

• Over £2m spent, £2.6m raised and £3.3m pledged of the required £5m.

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

“Just as laying the keel is the formal recognition of the start of a ship’s construction, the dedication of No. 2007 Prince of Wales’ frames five years ago marked the formal start of construction of Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive. 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 £3.3m has now been donated or pledged and passing £200,00pa donated through our ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ covenanting scheme is a remarkable achievement in such a short time.

“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 ‘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 Tender Club, email enquiries@p2steam.com, call 01325 460163 or visit www.p2steam.com for more information.

No. 2007 Prince of Wales at Darlington Locomotive Works– Credit: David Elliott/A1SLT
Christening No. 2007 Prince of Wales_Jenny Chapman, MP, Gerald Lee, Former Mayor of Darlington – Credit: Lawrie Loveless/A1SLT