Prince of Wales ready for wheeling in spring 2018

Three new plain coupled axles for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales are expected to arrive at Darlington Locomotive Works from South Africa via Unilathe (where they have been finish machined) in early January; they are the replacements for those which were manufactured in early 2017, but had their keyways machined incorrectly by the supplier.

The assembled crank axle is already at Darlington, along with all of the engine’s axleboxes. The final frame stay consisting four spring brackets has also recently been delivered and permanently fitted, paving the way for the wheeling of the frames in the spring. 

In a modification to the original class P2 design, the new locomotive is to receive roller bearing axleboxes as fitted to No. 60163 Tornado. However, unlike No. 60163 whose wheelsets were complete before they were placed under the frames, the opportunity will be taken to trial-fit the axles and axleboxes into the horn guides to check clearances, before the axles are sent to South Devon Railway Engineering for the wheels to be pressed on.

The trailing Cartazzi wheelset has already been assembled by SDRE and is at Darlington Locomotive Works along with the pony truck axle, while the tender axles have been manufactured by Firth Rixon of Rotherham and delivered to Unilathe at Stoke on Trent for machining. A representative of Timkin is expected in DLW on 3rd January to oversee the fitting of the axleboxes to the bearings on crank axle and the bearings and axleboxes to cartazzi axle. The tender tyres have been delivered from Ringrollers in South Africa and all of the tender castings including axleboxes have now been completed and are expected to be delivered in the next week.

Two Finnish air pumps of a similar type to the German and Swedish ones on Tornado have also recently been acquired as part of a batch of components sourced from David Buck which includes a set of Gresley class V4 tyres for The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s proposed third new build project. These air pumps were obtained from stock in Finland and have not suffered the deterioration experienced with pumps removed from locomotives in scrapyards. They will be sent to Meiningen for overhaul in the near future and on their return, they will be part of a pool of air pumps used on all of the Trust’s locomotives.

Fundraising for No. 2007 Prince of Wales continues to make good progress, with 840 ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ covenantors now on-board. The Mikado Club fundraising campaign to raise £200,000 for the wheeling of the engine and tender has now reached 180 of its 200 members target with each member pledging £1,000 plus Gift Aid. The Cylinder Club, launched at the Trust’s 2017 convention to raise £100,000 to pay for the new cylinder block, has already reached two-thirds of its 100 members target (with each member pledging £1,000 plus Gift Aid) and the order for the first components for the cylinder block is expected to be placed in the first week of January 2018. To date, over £1.3m has been spent, £1.7m raised and £2.7m pledged of the required £5m to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

The project’s objectives for 2018 are to:

  • Complete No. 2007’s wheelsets
  • Continue the boiler procurement
  • Order the cylinder block
  • Design and order the first motion parts
  • Progress work on the tender
  • Commence the electrical design.

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The past four 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 nine years into the project. 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, over £2.7m has now been donated or pledged. 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 ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ covenantor or supporting one of our targeted fundraising clubs. It’s time to get on board! 2018 will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales gathers pace.”