In honour of Prince Charles’s 65th Birthday, Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive is to be named after the heir to the throne

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company (P2SLC), the builder of Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive, is delighted to announce that the name of its new Gresley class P2 2-8-2 steam locomotive will be ‘Prince of Wales’. The new steam locomotive is being named in honour of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, to coincide with his 65th birthday celebrations and The Queen has kindly approved the use of His Royal Highness’s name for the locomotive.

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company is a subsidiary of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (a registered charity), the builders and operators of No. 60163 Tornado, the world-famous new steam locomotive completed in 2008 and officially named by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York station on 19th February 2009.

The mission of the P2SLC is to develop, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 steam locomotive for main line and heritage railway use. These 2-8-2 locomotives were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK, 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 in 1943/4. The P2SLC is building the 7th member of this class and will demonstrate how the design can be fully realised through use of modern computer design and modelling techniques, enabling it to deliver its full potential hauling passenger trains at high speed across the national network. It is estimated that £5m will be needed to build No. 2007 over 7-10 years, with funds being raised through public subscription. The formal launch of the project will take place in February 2014.

There have been many steam locomotives named after The Prince of Wales over the years. These included Gresley class A3 No. 2553 (later No. 60054) Prince of Wales, sister locomotive to No. 4472 Flying Scotsman, which was named by HRH The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) on a visit to Doncaster Works on 11th November 1926. This locomotive was scrapped in 1964.

Mark Allatt, Chairman, The P2 Steam Locomotive Company, commented:

“HRH The Prince of Wales has been a fantastic supporter Tornado and along with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall formally named the new locomotive in 2009. Since then, Tornado has hauled the Royal train on no less than three occasions on behalf of Prince Charles, so we are only too delighted to be able to confirm the name for No.2007 in his honour. It is well known HRH has a passion for our heritage and a particular interest in steam, but also the skills and craftsmanship required to build a steam locomotive from scratch. It is a clear demonstration that the UK can still turn its hand to quality heavy engineering, making use of modern techniques design and construction techniques whilst engaging and inspiring a new generation that nothing is beyond the realms of possibility.”