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.
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Prince of Wales on its wheels – Mandy Grant
Progress building Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive continues at Darlington Locomotive Works and includes:
- Frames: engine’s frames and cab substantially complete; cab side and spectacle window frames fitted; manufacture of the pony truck frame at North View Engineering Solutions Ltd (NVES) approaching completion
- Cylinders & valves: 3D CAD design of the cylinder block and valve gear substantially complete; weld details and assembly order being finalised, manufacturing drawings of cylinder block under way; updated poppet valve gear design almost complete; components in manufacture
- Smokebox & fittings: smokebox assembled, and trial fitted to the frames; chimney fitted
- Boiler: boiler design study completed and approved by TüV Sud notified body; forged foundation ring corners manufactured; superheater header cast & machined; boiler cladding manufactured; boiler order placed with DB Meiningen for delivery in 2021; foundation ring forgings and regulator castings despatched to Meiningen; minor re-design of the banjo dome to suit the P2 cladding has been completed by DBM; most components made and assembly of boilers under way
- Fittings: many non-ferrous fittings are being cast and machined
- Brakes: work is well advanced on manufacture of brake rigging and spring gear is also well underway
- Wheelsets: crank axle re-designed to comply with modern standards and manufactured; all engine wheelsets complete and fitted to engine
- Motion: all heavy motion ordered from Stephenson (Engineering) Ltd; first six forgings completed, with machining of middle coupling rods complete – next pair of rods underway
- Pipework: design well advanced and installation under way
- Electricals: significant progress on electrical system with system architecture design frozen, electrical trunking layout design almost complete, battery boxes built and fitted to frames, stainless steel conduit and junction/access boxes procured, individual conduit sections cut and bent as required, prototype of new axle driven alternator to be tested shortly; GSMR radios acquired
- Tender: frames being assembled by ID Howitt at Crofton; tank constructed at NVES and painted to undercoat at DLW; wheelsets returned from South Devon Railway Engineering to DLW
- Finishing: nameplates and chime whistle delivered
- To-date, over £2.5m has been spent and more than £3.0m raised of the required £5m.
Over the next 12 months, the Darlington based team aims to:
- Complete the pony truck
- Make substantial progress on the tender tank and frames
- Finish the detailed design of the electrical system
- 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.
FUNDRAISING PROGRESS TO DATE (updated 15th February 2021)
- Our ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ Covenant scheme has attracted over 940 Covenantors to-date
- The Boiler Club now has 215 of its 300 people target
- The Tender Club (92/250 people each donating £1,500) is starting to gain traction
- The Turbogen Club (28/40 people each donating £1,000), our newest mini-club, is generating interest
- The P2 Support Coach Appeal (39/100 people each donating £1,000), founded in August 2020 to fund the acquisition and overhaul of a support coach for No. 2007 Prince of Wales, has got off to a great start
- The Motion Club has reached its initial target (175 people each donating £1,000) and will remain open until all the heavy motion is delivered
- The Pony (Truck) Club reached its initial target of 20 supporters (each donating £1,000) and will remain open until the pony truck is fitted. We have decided to extend the club by a few members to cover the considerable certification costs associated with the modified pony truck design
- In addition, our Dedicated Donation scheme has already raised over £400,000
- 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, 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
- Over £2.5m spent and £3.8m raised of the estimated £5m required.