As funding pledges for new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales pass the £1m milestone less than ten months after its launch, a new ‘be-spoke’ fundraising campaign has been launched – sponsor a driving wheel spoke. The new scheme will initially be open only to those who joined The Founders Club which funded the project’s dramatic racing-start and its new ‘P2 for the price of a pint’ monthly covenantors and is part of a broader Dedicated Donation scheme where supporters can sponsor a variety of components.
Dedicated Donations will initially only available to members of The Founders Club and Covenantors. In addition to being able to sponsor one or more of the 18 spokes of the 6ft 2in driving wheels for either £600 (or £25pm for 24 months) supporters have the option to sponsor a range of different components from a ‘Drag box wing plate LH rolling and profiling’ at £50 to a ‘6ft 2in driving wheel casting and proof machining’ at £12,000 (or £200pm for 60 months). Supporters who subscribe to the scheme will have their names inscribed on the official roll of honour at Darlington Locomotive Works listing the components sponsored, receive a certificate recording the sponsorship and copy of the drawing of the component. New components available for sponsorship will become available as construction progresses.
Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch less than ten months ago. With over £1m pledged we are now at the stage we were with Tornado some five years into the project.
“We are hopeful that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales towards the end of 2015 and we remain on-track for completion in 2021. However, to maintain this progress we need to continue to raise in excess of £700,000 per year. We are therefore taking the opportunity of the frames dedication to launch the Dedicated Donation scheme.
“This major fund-raising initiative is a unique opportunity for supporters to have their name associated with a component of No. 2007 and the funds raised will help to ensure that Prince of Wales will be completed within the next seven years. Just as with the similar scheme that helped to fund the construction of Tornado, supporters who subscribe to the scheme will have the satisfaction of pointing to the part of the locomotive they paid for when No. 2007 enters service.
“With the dedication of No. 2007’s frames, the ordering of all of the wheels and the casting of the first driving wheel, no-one can now doubt that we really mean business. 2014 will see further major announcements as the construction of Prince of Wales gathers pace.”
The first wheel casting was delivered to the Works in time for the dedication weekend – Graham Langer
During a hugely successful weekend over the 18th – 20th July, VIPs, Founders, Covenantors and the general public were all able to view the tremendous progress being made with the construction of No. 2007, Prince of Wales. In addition to the work previously recorded here, two stretchers had been added to the frames as well as the buffer plank. The dedication of No. 2007 Prince of Wales’s frames on Saturday 19th July at Darlington Locomotive Works in the presence of 200 of the project’s supporters and sponsors as well as the Darlington Member of Parliament, Jenny Chapman, and the Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Gerald Lee, marked the formal start of construction of Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive.
Before the crowds arrived – No. 2007’s frames dominate Darlington Locomotive Works – Graham Langer
One of the newly fitted frame stretchers, fabricated rather than cast – Graham Langer
David Elliott, the Mayor and Mayoress, Mark Allatt, Jenny Chapman MP and her son, Dan – Graham Langer
The Mayoress, the Mayor Councillor Gerald Lee, Peter Townend and Mark Allatt – Graham Langer
The frame dedication day video by Ted Parker
With the frames for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales now in place at Darlington Locomotive Works and all eight driving wheels ordered and in the process of being cast at William Cook Cast Products (WCCP) of Sheffield, the fundraising for this mammoth project continues at pace. Key to its ongoing success is raising awareness beyond the core railway enthusiast community, securing support and donations from the wider general public. In an ambitious move for a new build steam locomotive project, The Trust have secured the services of a 40ft mobile billboard to help not only spread the message and drive funding, but secure a mutually beneficial relationship with one of the countries longest serving road hauliers as haulage partner, namely L Hunt & Sons of Basingstoke.
The trailer is designed to have a working life covering the duration of the seven year anticipated build for No. 2007 Prince of Wales. During that time, it will cover hundreds of thousands of miles and be visible to millions of motorists and pedestrians across the country. Forming part of L Hunt & Sons haulage fleet, the trailer will be put to work immediately, but will be used for the first time by The Trust to transfer the driving wheels from William Cook Cast Products in Sheffield to Darlington Locomotive in the next few weeks.
Derrick Hunt, Managing Director for L Hunt & Sons commented, ‘We are delighted to be a partner of this amazing project! The road haulage industry was largely blamed for taking freight off the rails following WWII, contributing in part to the demise of steam. As one of the countries longest serving road hauliers, its great to be in a position to help put steam back on the main line for the public to enjoy’. Derrick added, ‘We are looking forward to playing our part in not only making sure the trailer is as visible as possible on the highways of Britain, but assisting where and when we can in the transport of parts to Darlington Locomotive Works for the production of No. 2007 Prince of Wales. Over the years we’ve moved many heritage items, including the world’s oldest caravan to Buckingham Palace in 2007, so we are honoured to be able to add this significant Royal connection to our own varied and 118 year delivery history’.
Mark Allatt said, ‘We are keeping our foot well and truly on the throttle of our fund raising for No. 2007 Prince of Wales. The trailer is specifically designed to raise awareness of this project, using Tornado as proof of our credibility and pedigree, driving the public to our website to find out more’. Mark added, ‘A clear demonstration of how two industries can work together for mutual benefit, we are seeking partnerships from similar industry leaders to help make No. 2007 Prince of Wales a reality’.
Photos by Tim Beere