Coinciding with St George’s Day, a new fire-breathing dragon was born in the rolling mills of Tata Steel in Scunthorpe yesterday. The dragon in question is no lightweight but the 21 ton steel frames for a new steam locomotive which will eventually weigh around 170 tons is a significant step in the construction of Prince of Wales. The rolling of the frames, traditionally the point at which the locomotive is deemed to exist, comes hot on the heels of TV presenter James May making the first component – the smokebox dart – in Darlington Locomotive Works on Thursday 20th February 2014. Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive become a reality sooner rather than later has been high, with 300 members of The Founders Club each having given £1,000 and over 270 covenantors already on board in the first month since launch of the scheme – with many more enquires to contribute to ‘a P2 for the price of a pint’ per week – or £10 per month.
The steel billet passes through the second stage rollers at Scunthorpe – Tim Beere
Mark Allatt, Chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity behind the project said, “Having already built one steam locomotive from scratch with Tornado, the levels of support and interest that have been generated towards Prince of Wales have been nothing short of sensational! With backing from HRH Prince of Wales, high profile celebrities such as James May, significant pledges made by members of The Founders Club members and fantastic initial interest in becoming a monthly covenantor, our national presentation roadshow demonstrates to the wider public just how serious and committed we are in resurrecting this amazing steam locomotive from and annals of history. With the first part fabricated, courtesy of James May, we are thrilled to be able to have reached the milestone of rolling the substantial pieces of metal that make up the locomotives frames at Tata Steel today – and being able to declare that No. 2007 Prince of Wales now exists. The fact it coincided with St George’s Day makes the occasion even more special!”