Building the 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 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 4-6-2s in 1943/4, and scrapped by 1961.

As the builders of new main line steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has therefore decided to set itself a new challenge: to develop, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 Mikado steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use.

We will use the latest computer aided design and modelling techniques to realise the potential of the original design and estimate that No. 2007 Prince of Wales will cost around £5m to build over a 7-10 year period. The fundraising for the project got off to a racing start with the launch of The Founders Club in September 2013, beating its target by over 350% by the time it closed in July 2014. As with Tornado, funds will be raised for Prince of Wales through regular ‘a P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ donations from as little as £2.50 per week. In addition, specific workstreams for the new locomotive will be financed through The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler), The Mikado Motion (to fund forging and machining of the heavy motion) Club, The Cylinder Tender Club (recently launched to fund the construction the tender), Dedicated Donations (to fund specific components) and commercial sponsorship. The Founders Club (to get the project to the point of assembling the frames), The Mikado Club (to wheel the locomotive) and The Cylinder Club (to fund the design and manufacture the cylinder block) have all now closed having reached or exceeded their targets.

We have the expertise, the track record and a plan…. But this can’t happen without you.  You can see full details here – please share this with your friends!

Prince of Wales on its wheels – Mandy Grant

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

  • Frame: engine’s frame & cab substantially complete; cab side & spectacle window frames fitted; manufacture of pony truck frame complete, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) study being completed in collaboration with Ricardo Rail
  • Cylinders: 3D CAD design of the cylinder block complete; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study of steam flow through cylinder block undertaken to optimise steam flow through the cylinder block; Howco Group Plc have started work on the new cylinder block and William Cook Cast Products Ltd has delivered the steam port castings
  • Valve gear & camboxes: updated poppet valve gear design almost complete – approximately 40 manufacturing drawings produced; some components in manufacture; 3D printed scale model of cambox including basic internal parts produced for demonstration purposes
  • Smokebox & fittings: smokebox assembled and chimney fitted; CFD study underway to check smoke lifting performance of front end and to recommend modifications if necessary
  • Boiler: boiler design study completed & approved by TüV Sud notified body; forged foundation ring corners manufactured; superheater header cast & machined; boiler cladding manufactured; boiler order placed with DB Meiningen (DBM) for delivery in summer 2022; foundation ring forgings & regulator castings despatched to DBM; minor re-design of the banjo dome to suit P2 cladding completed by DBM; most components made & assembly of boilers underway; stuffing box casting and regulator cross shaft ready to be despatched
  • Fittings: many non-ferrous fittings being cast & machined; material for bespoke fittings delivered
  • Brakes: manufacture of brake rigging well advanced and spring gear underway; brake cylinders acquired and trial fitted; brake gear partially fitted
  • Wheelsets: crank axle re-designed to comply with modern standards & manufactured; all engine wheelsets complete & fitted to engine
  • Motion: heavy motion ordered from Stephenson (Engineering) Ltd; six coupling rods, inside connecting rod and strap and outside connecting rods forged; six machined coupling rods and two outside connecting rods at DLW & inside connecting rod and strap to be delivered 2021
  • Pipework: design well advanced, pipe and fittings procured & installation between frame well advanced
  • Electricals: significant progress on electrical system with design scrutiny under way; battery boxes built & fitted to frames; stainless steel conduit sections cut & bent as required and mostly fitted; prototype of new axle driven alternator testing ongoing
  • Tender: frame being assembled by ID Howitt; tank constructed at NVES & painted to undercoat at DLW; wheelsets returned from South Devon Railway Engineering, axles painted, ready to be balanced
  • Finishing: nameplates and chime whistle delivered.

Fundraising to date:

  • Our ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ Covenant scheme has attracted over 1,080 Covenantors to-date – now is the time to come on-board or to recruit a friend!
  • The Boiler Club now has 238 of its 300 supporters initial target (each donating £2,000) and is building up a head of steam – we must reach our 300 members target by spring 2022
  • The Tender Club now has 110 of its 250 supporters initial target (each donating £1,500) and is starting to gain traction – why not show a little Tender-ness and help us to reach 125 members before the frames are delivered!
  • The P2 Support Coach Appeal now has 61 of its 100 supporters initial target (each donating £1,000) to fund the acquisition and overhaul of a support coach for No. 2007 Prince of Wales – we have passed the half-way mark!
  • Having commissioned Howco Group Plc to fabricate the new cylinder block using steel castings supplied by William Cook Cast Products Ltd, we have launched The Cylinder Manufacturing Club to raise the required £250,000. The aim is to raise an initial target of £250,000 from 250 supporters each donating £1,000 plus Gift Aid (in up to eight payments of £125) – the first 41 members have already joined
  • Our newly launched mini-club, The Injectors Club has an initial target of 50 supporters (each donating £1,000) to fund the acquisition and manufacture of the live and exhaust steam injectors – 21 members have already joined
  • Our Dedicated Donation scheme has already raised over £440,000
  • The Founders Club, The Mikado Club, The Cylinder Club, The Motion Club, The Pony (Truck) Club, and The Turbogen Club have all now reached or exceeded their initial targets
  • Altogether this means that over £4m has been spent and more than £4m raised of the estimated £6m required to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales within the next two years, if Gift Aid is included.

Updated 20th March 2022