Links forged between Britain’s largest warship and most powerful steam locomotive

‘Bond of Friendship’ announced between new Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales and new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales

The Royal Navy and The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust are delighted to announce a ‘Bond of Friendship’ between new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales and new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier under construction for the Royal Navy. She is the seventh Royal Navy ship to have the name HMS Prince of Wales. Construction of the ship began in 2011 and she was formally named on 8th September 2017 at Rosyth Dockyard by The Duchess of Rothesay (The Duchess of Cornwall). HMS Prince of Wales will be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019 and will be fully ready for frontline duties from 2023. Along with sister-ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Prince of Wales is the largest ship ever to be built for the Royal Navy, with a displacement of around 65, 000 tonnes and length of 920 feet. The ship will carry a crew of up to 1,600 men and women and up to 40 aircraft, including the F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter.

HMS Prince of Wales and some of the ship’s company at Rosyth – MoD

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 (registered charity and builders of famous new steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado) is building the seventh member of this class over seven to ten 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.

At The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s 25th Annual Convention in Darlington, the ‘Bond of Friendship’ was cemented by the exchange of gifts – from the Royal Navy to the Trust the crest of HMS Prince of Wales and from the Trust to the Royal Navy the painting ‘Dream Team’ by renowned railway artist Chris Ludlow featuring both No. 2007 Prince of Wales with No. 60163 Tornado.


Lt Cdr David Wright presents David Champion with the crest and receives a print in return – Mandy Grant

Upon receiving the painting, Lt Cdr David Wright, commented, “It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself and the Ship’s Company at the beginning of what we trust will be an exciting and beneficial Bond of Friendship between both No. 2007 Prince of Wales and HMS Prince of Wales. We have just officially been named by the Duchess of Rothesay, our Lady Sponsor, and I understand that you have just passed a significant milestone with the completion of the first wheelset which must be a very proud moment for all of those involved.

“As we take our first tentative steps in the life of a brand new Ship’s Company, we are extremely keen to foster a strong connection with No. 2007 Prince of Wales locomotive and ensure that the relationship between HMS Prince of Wales and The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust flourishes. Bonds of Friendship are extremely important to the Royal Navy and we are eager to explore ways in which we can develop our links over the coming years.

“Construction continues apace at Rosyth and we are pleased to say that many of the lessons identified in the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth have helped to accelerate HMS Prince of Wales’ build schedule. With the hull nearing completion, we are now looking towards a launch early in the New Year. We look forward to hearing how you have found building your second locomotive and implemented the lessons learned from No. 60163 Tornado.

Receiving the crest, David Champion, President, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, added, “The Bond of Friendship with HMS Prince of Wales, the largest and most powerful ship ever built for the Royal Navy, is a momentous occasion, and as we shadow each other’s build over the next few years, there are a number of parallels between the Royal Navy and The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.

“First, we both have a ‘can do’ attitude, delighting in tackling the seemingly impossible with a well thought out strategy and courage. Second, while we cannot match the dedication of the RN who, in the worst case will give their lives in the defence of the country, there are a number of us in the Trust who have given large parts of our lives in the pursuit of the Trust’s goals. Third, HMS Prince of Wales is being built in the historical stamping ground of the original Gresley class P2s. Fourth, after your experience of the building Lot 1 (the magnificent and identical HMS Queen Elizabeth), you have found that building Lot 2 is going quite a bit faster, we have found that with our Lot 2 also! Fifth, and lastly, the Trust was set up in 1990 to achieve its goals by the pursuit of best professional practice and excellence, a sentiment that equally applies to the Royal Navy.

“Both HMS Prince of Wales and No. 2007 Prince of Wales truly represent the best of British engineering, albeit they are designs from very different eras. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to be building a relationship with the Senior Service and the Ship’s Company of HMS Prince of Wales. Just as we have with our first new steam locomotive, No. 60163 Tornado and the Tornado Force at RAF Marham, we look forward to many joint activities over the coming years. And with No. 2007 Prince of Wales due for completion in 2021 and HMS Prince of Walesexpected to be commissioned in 2020, one day soon we will hopefully see our No. 2007 Prince of Wales standing on the Forth Railway Bridge, its chime whistle saluting HMS Prince of Wales as she glides gracefully under.”