The project to build new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales continues to make rapid progress, with the locomotive’s ‘face’ now complete, only three years since its launch in 2013. Over 240 supporters, family and friends attending The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s annual convention in Darlington on Saturday 1st October witnessed a sight not seen since No. 2001 Cock o’the North was rebuilt in 1937.
The incredible sight of a P2 front end, last seen nearly 80 years ago – Mandy Grant
The class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikado’ locomotives were the most powerful passenger steam 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 1943/44 and scrapped by 1961. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is building the seventh member of this class over seven years at an estimated cost of £5m. The project will demonstrate how the design can be fully realised through use of modern computer design techniques, enabling the new locomotive to deliver its full potential hauling passenger trains at high speed across today’s national network.
Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and 800 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.
In addition, funds have been raised through The Founders Club (over 360 people donated £1,000 each – target 100 people), The Boiler Club (over 110 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), The Mikado Club (over 100 people have pledged £1,000 each – target 160 people) and Dedicated Donations (over £170,000 from existing supporters sponsoring a variety of components). The Gresley Society Trust is also funding the construction of the distinctive front-end. This means that the project has already received pledges of well over £2m (including Gift Aid) of the £5m needed.
Progress over the past three years includes:
Frame plates for engine and tender rolled, profiled and machined
Engine frames erected at Darlington Locomotive Works with most frame stays permanently fitted
Footplate angles and plates profiled and fitted, splashers made
All 20 wheels for engine and tender cast and machined ready for pressing onto axles
Engine tyres, axles and material for crank pins delivered
Engine hornblocks, axleblocks and cannonboxes cast and machined, roller bearings delivered
Contract placed to assemble wheelsets
Over 1,000 fitted and driven bolts and nuts delivered, over 630 fitted
Cab built, all glazings and window frames procured
Preliminary discussions held with boiler manufacturers, forged foundation ring corners manufactured
Vampire study into ride and suspension and finite element analysis of crank axle completed with redesigned components to comply with modern standards
Assessment and Notified Body appointed to oversee certification, preliminary meeting held with ORR
Smokebox, chimney and smoke lifting plates manufactured with sponsorship from The Gresley Society Trust
Well over £2.0mm already pledged
Nameplates and chime whistle delivered!
The plan for the next 12 months includes the following, costing around £500,000:
Completion of wheelsets and fitting to frames
Finish cab and smokebox
Complete design, make and fit outside motion brackets
Finish re-design and fabricate pony truck frame
Make and fit spring hanger brackets and spring gear
Make and fit brake linkage
Complete design for valve gear
Place order for cylinder block
Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The past three years have seen dramatic progress toward our aim of completing new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales by 2021. No. 2007 is already at the stage Tornado was eight years into the project. At our convention over £40,000 was donated to the Trust towards the upkeep of Tornado and the construction of Prince of Wales by our supporters”.
“Now is the time to get on board this ground breaking project and help the Trust to raise the £5 million needed to ensure its completion in 2021.”