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 & valves: 3D CAD design of the cylinder block & valve gear substantially complete including weld details & assembly order; requests for quotations sought; detailed manufacturing drawings of cylinder block almost complete; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) study of steam flow through cylinder block undertaken to optimise steam flow through the cylinder block; updated poppet valve gear design almost complete; some components in manufacture
  • 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 2021; 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
  • Fittings: many non-ferrous fittings being cast & machined
  • Brakes: manufacture of brake rigging well advanced and spring gear underway
  • 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, and machining of other rods underway
  • Pipework: design well advanced, pipe and fittings procured & installation underway
  • 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; prototype of new axle driven alternator to be tested shortly
  • Tender: frame being assembled by ID Howitt; tank constructed at NVES & painted to undercoat at DLW; wheelsets returned from South Devon Railway Engineering
  • Finishing: nameplates and chime whistle delivered
  • To-date, over £3.4m has been spent and around £3.9m raised of the estimated £5m required.

Fundraising to date:

  • Our ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ Covenant scheme has attracted over 985 Covenantors to-date; we still hope to reach 1,000 regular supporters by the end of July 2021 as this is the 60th anniversary of the scrapping of the last of the former P2s – now is the time to come on-board or recruit a friend!
  • The Boiler Club now has 227 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 the end of 2021 at the latest
  • The Tender Club now has 105 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 by the end of August
  • The P2 Support Coach Appeal now has 53 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!
  • 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 – the first members have already joined
  • The Motion Club has passed its initial target of 175 with 178 supporters (each donating £1,000) –it will remain open until all the heavy motion is delivered
  • The Turbogen Club has reached its initial target of 40 supporters each donating £1,000
  • The Pony (Truck) Club has passed its initial target of 20 with 32 supporters (each donating £1,000) – it will remain open until the pony truck is fitted to the engine
  • 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 & manufacture the cylinder block raised £120,000 from 100 supporters) have all now reached or exceeded their initial targets
  • Over £3.4m spent and around £3.9m raised of the estimated £5m required.

Updated 1st June 2021