Significant progress in construction of tender for
Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales

The project to build Britain’s most powerful express passenger steam locomotive today announced that it had made significant progress in the construction of the tender for a new £5m Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales. The tender frames currently under construction by I D Howitt of Crofton, Wakefield are now fully erected, the baseplate for the tender tank being manufactured by North View Engineering Solutions of Darlington is now complete and the final of the four tender axles has arrived at Darlington Locomotive Works from Unilathe of Stoke-on-Trent. Our financial appeal to raise £450,000 through The Tender Club has also already raised £50,000.

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.

The construction of the new 60-ton tender will take a major step forward over the week, when the tender tank baseplate will be sent from North View Engineering Solutions of Darlington to ID Howitt of Crofton for pre-fitting to the tender frames. The completed tender tank is scheduled to be delivered to Darlington Locomotive Works in September, by which time we also expect to have the tender frames on site. In parallel, the four tender axles, eight 4ft 2in wheels (manufactured by our principal sponsor William Cook Cast Products Ltd) and other associated components will be dispatched to South Devon Railway Engineering for the wheelsets to be assembled. They too are expected to have arrived at Darlington Locomotive Works in September.

If the project is to remain on schedule to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales within the next three years, the Trust needs to take delivery of the tender frames and tank in autumn 2019. Following the success of The Founders Club (to get the project to the point of assembling the frames), The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler), The Mikado Club (to wheel the locomotive), The Cylinder Club (to fund the design and manufacture the cylinder block), The Motion Club (to fund forging and machining of the heavy motion) and the Dedicated Donations scheme (to fund numerous components), the Trust decided to establish The Tender Club to fund the construction No. 2007’s tender. The aim of The Tender Club is to raise £450,000 from 250 supporters each donating £1,500 (plus Gift Aid) to the project in up to 15 payments of £100 by standing order.

In return for supporting this appeal, special benefits for members of The Tender 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 Tender Club badge
  • Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
  • First choice of other components to sponsor
  • Special Tender Club day with Tornado
  • Special limited-edition print of Stephen Bainbridge’s ‘Locomotives of the Future’ painting

The tender for No. 2007 Prince of Wales is based closely on the tender built for A1 class No. 60163 Tornado. The original P2 tenders were to the 1930s non-corridor design built for the new A3 Pacifics being built at that time.

The water capacity of the original design was 5,000 gallons, which at a typical consumption of 45 gallons per mile would provide a range between water stops of 80 miles (with as safety margin). The tender for Tornado was re-designed to increase the water capacity to 6,250 gallons which increases the range to about 110 miles. The additional water capacity is at the expense of a reduction in coal capacity from 9 tons to 7½ tons.

The tender tank will be a fully welded structure made from weathering steel (as used on motorway bridges and the Angel of the North) to provide improved resistance to corrosion. The main visible differences with the new tender, when compared to that of Tornado will be the curving inwards of the side sheets at the front to match the shape of the cab sides, and the extensive use of half round beading along the front and top of the sides and the top of the back of the tank.

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:

“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.

“We have now turned our attention to the tender which is our current major manufacturing challenge. Significant progress has been made with all three key parts of the tender – the wheelsets, the frames and the tender tank. We now need to raise a further £400,000 through The Tender Club over the next few months. This will allow us to remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive within the next three years.

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

Photo captions: No. 2007’s tender frames at I D Howitt – Credit: Nigel Facer/A1SLT

No. 2007’s tender wheels and axles ready for dispatch to South Devon Railway Engineering – Credit: Richard Pearson/A1SLT