We have a Mikado!


The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust today announced that we had fitted the pony truck wheelset to new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales meaning that a main line ‘Mikado’ was in existence in Great Britain for the first time since 1945. The rear Cartazzi wheelset was fitted in early 2018 and the eight 6ft 2in driving wheels in July 2018.

The Whyte notation for classifying steam locomotives by wheel arrangement was devised by Frederick Methvan Whyte in the early twentieth century. In the notation a locomotive with one leading axle (two wheels) in front, then four driving axles (eight wheels) and then one trailing axle (two wheels) is classified as 2-8-2 and commonly referred to as a ‘Mikado’. The name ‘Mikado’ originated from a group of Japanese type 9700 2-8-2 locomotives that were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the 3ft 6in gauge Nippon Railway of Japan in 1897. In the 19th century, the Emperor of Japan was often referred to as “the Mikado” in English and the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Mikado had premiered in 1885 and achieved great popularity in both Britain and the USA. Although the most numerous wheel arrangement globally, only eight standard gauge ‘Mikados’ operated in Great Britain, two Gresley class P1 freight locomotives (introduced in 1925 and both scrapped in 1945) and six Gresley class P2s (introduced in 1934 and all rebuild by 1944).

The work involved wheeling the engine to create the first standard gauge ‘Mikado’ since 1945 include:

Machining axle and cannon box castings, manufacturing roller bearing details

Boring eight coupled wheel bosses to finished size

Assembling bearings and cannon box onto pony truck axle

Assembling bearings, cannon and axle boxes onto plain coupled axles

Trial fitting coupled axles to frame

Pressing Cartazzi wheels onto axle, fitting & machining tyres and fitting bearings & axleboxes

Pressing plain coupled wheels onto axles, fitting and machining tyres

Assembling crank axle, fitting bearings & axleboxes, pressing wheels onto crank axle, fitting and machining tyres

Finish machining crank bosses & boring crank pin holes and machining & fitting all crank pins

Trial fitting wheelsets to frames at DLW.


We have a Mikado! – David Elliott

The wheeling of No. 2007 Prince of Wales was funded by 200 members of The Mikado Club of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust who each donated £1,000 plus gift aid towards the project. The total cost of the wheeling, including all components, is estimated at around £400,000. A selection of wheeling-related parts – including a 6ft 2in driving wheel at £12,000 – are still available for sponsorship under the Trust’s Dedicated Donations scheme.

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, 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, over £3m has now been donated or pledged.

“The fitting of all of the wheels to the engine and therefore creating the first standard gauge ‘Mikado’ in Great Britain since 1945 marks a significant milestone in the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales. Thanks to the dedication and generosity of our supporters, we remain confident that we are on-track for completion of new Gresley class P2 locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales in 2021.

“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. 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.”

To become a monthly Covenantor, email ">, call 01325 460163 or visit www.p2steam.com for more information.