Pledges towards the building of new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales have already reached £2m in just two years since the launch of the project in September 2013. The new locomotive is already over one-third complete by weight. This rapid construction has been fuelled by the project’s successful fundraising campaigns which have seen pledges of 40% of the £5m required to complete Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive by 2021. In only 18 months  since the launch of the project’s  ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ (£10 per month) regular donation  – or covenant  – scheme, funds either already donated or pledged by Standing Order have already reached £2m.

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and almost 700 people have already signed up to the ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer per week’ (£10 per month or more) covenant scheme since its launch a year ago.  In addition to this core scheme, funds have been raised through The Founders Club (over 360 people have donated £1,000 each – target 100 people, now closed), The Boiler Club (almost 90 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), Dedicated Donations (£120,000 from existing supporters sponsoring a variety of components) and the sponsorship of the locomotive’s distinctive front-end by The Gresley Society Trust. This means that the project has already received pledges of £2m (including Gift Aid) of the £5m needed over the next seven years.

09301501 DLW David Elliott

Progress on the frames at the end of September – David Elliott

Construction progress to-date includes:

  • Frame plates for engine and tender rolled and profiled
  • Engine’s frames erected at Darlington Locomotive Works
  • All 20 wheels for engine and tender cast; eight 6ft2in driving wheels proof machined; engine’s tyres delivered
  • All major engine frame stays, brackets, horn blocks, axle boxes and buffers cast and machined – 64 in total
  • Roller bearings for all engine and tender wheelsets and engine axles and crank pins ordered
  • Over 1,000 fitted and driven bolts ordered
  • Preliminary discussions held with boiler manufacturers and forged foundation ring corners manufactured and machined
  • A start has been made on the boiler fittings, with castings for the two combined injector water and delivery valves ordered  from existing Tornado patterns
  • Vampire study into ride and suspension completed and Finite Element Analysis of crank axle to ensure locomotive complies with modern standards nearing completion
  • Assessment and notified body appointed to oversee certification
  • Cab sides, roof and cab side window frames ordered
  • Locomotive footplating delivered and being fitted
  • Smokebox door tooling complete and ready for pressing, doorframe ring and smokebox platework ordered
  • Chimney pattern and casting ordered
  • Nameplates delivered and chime whistle ordered!

The project’s use of the latest Computer Aided Design (CAD) technology means that the weight of all of the components now in existence can easily be calculated. The weight of the engine parts now in existence stands at 37.2 tons (39% of an estimated completed empty weight of 96 ton) and the tender at 4.8 tons (17% of an estimated completed empty weight of 28.4 tons) giving a figure of 34% for the whole locomotive by weight.

Engine 2007 30 9 15

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. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity £2m has now been donated or pledged which has been converted into over one third of the new locomotive being now in existence by weight. With No. 60163 Tornado’s overhaul now complete, our team at Darlington Locomotive Works has resumed the erection of No. 2007 Prince of Wales’s frames, fitting the frame stretchers, horn guides and other components manufactured by external contractors over the past few months.

“We are hopeful that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales next winter and we remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive in 2021. However, to maintain this rate of progress we need to continue to raise in excess of £700,000 per year, which given the nature of the regular donation scheme becomes more challenging as each year passes.

“I would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a monthly covenantor or joining The Boiler Club. It’s time to get on board! This year will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales gathers pace.”