Cylinder block fully funded.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust launched The Cylinder Club to raise £100,000 from 100 supporters each donating £1,000 (plus GAD) in up to eight payments of £125 by standing order to pay for the redesign and manufacture of the new steam locomotive’s cylinder block in October 2017 and reached its target two months early.  This coincides with the money spent to-date on the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales passing the £1.6m mark – 30% of the estimated £5m total. The funding of the cylinder block will help to ensure that the project remains on schedule for completion in 2021 and enable the Darlington-based team to complete the wheelsets, continue the boiler procurement, order the cylinder block, design & order the first motion parts, continue to progress work on the tender and commence the electrical design during 2018.

The work involved in designing and manufacturing the new cylinder block includes:

•       Convert the original class P2 one-piece casting into a welded fabrication including Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to check for structural integrity

•       Improve the layout of the valves to reduce the clearance volume (which affects cylinder efficiency)

•       Re-route the steam and exhaust passages to physically separate them to prevent incoming steam from heating the outgoing exhaust

•       Increase the size and improve internal streamlining of steam passages along Chapelon lines to increase maximum power and improve economy

•       Reduce the overall width of the cylinder block to provide Prince of Wales with the widest possible route availability on the main line.

Manufacture the cylinder block including:

•                 Producing the welded fabrication

•                 Stress relieving

•                 Grit blasting and painting with high temperature paint

•                 Machining

•                 Fitting cylinder liners and valve seats

•                 Manufacturing and fitting cylinder and valve covers

•                 Hydraulic testing the assembly.

To date we have completed the conceptual design of the cylinder block and it is expected that the Trust will place of order for the fabrication of the new cylinder block in 2018 for delivery in Summer 2019.

Meanwhile, in Darlington Locomotive Works, there has been considerable progress towards the wheeling of No. 2007 Prince of Wales, which was delayed due to a supplier error to the plain axles resulting in their scrapping and replacement by supplier but at the expense of a six-month delay. In recent weeks we have fitted the bearing to all the plain axles. Over the next few weeks all the components for the wheelsets will be sent to South Devon Railway Engineering to prepare for the tyres to be fitted to the wheels, wheels to be fitted to the axles and the fitting of the crank pins which should result in the wheeling of the engine in May 2018.

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “We are delighted to announce that The Cylinder Club has reached its 100 members target two months early. This means that this critical part of No. 2007 Prince of Wales is now fully funded through the £100,000 plus Gift Aid donated by our supporters. Our engineering team is now working on the technical design of the cylinder block with the intention for placing an order for the fabrication in October 2018 for delivery in summer 2019.

 “In the meantime, fitting of the bearings, means that our fundraising efforts are now focused on recruiting the last 20 members for The Mikado Club to fund the wheeling of the locomotive, each donating £1,000 plus Gift Aid to the project, with the intention of wheeling the engine in May 2018.

“Now is the time to get on board this ground-breaking project and help the Trust to raise the £5m needed to ensure its completion in 2021.”