A new steam locomotive fit for a prince.

Project to build Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales has raised 50% of its £5m target

We are delighted to announce, on the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales, that the campaign to raise £5m to build the new locomotive has passed the half way point. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust – also the builders, owners and operators of  No. 60163 Tornado – has now spent over £2m on construction of the new locomotive and received over £2.5m in donations with over £3.1m pledged.

The news that the project to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales has raised £2.5m of the required £5m comes five years after the announcement that Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive would be named in honour of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, to coincide with his 65th birthday celebrations – HM The Queen kindly approved the use of His Royal Highness’s name for the new locomotive. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s first new steam locomotive, Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado, was completed in 2008 and officially named by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York station on 19th February 2009.

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HRH The Prince of Wales names Tornado in 2009 – Neil Whitaker

There have been many steam locomotives named after The Prince of Wales over the years. These included Gresley class A3 No. 2553 (later No. 60054) Prince of Wales, sister locomotive to No. 4472 Flying Scotsman, which was named by HRH The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) on a visit to Doncaster Works, where the original Gresley class P2s were designed and built, on 11th November 1926. This locomotive was scrapped in 1964.

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high with almost 900 people having already signed up to the ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer per week’ (£10 per month or more) Covenant scheme since its launch.  In addition, funds have been raised through The Founders Club (over 360 people have donated £1,000 each – target 100 people, now closed), The Cylinder Club (the target of 100 people to each pledge £1,000 each achieved – now closed), The Boiler Club (over 165 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), The Mikado Club (the target of 200 people to each pledge £1,000  reached – now closed), Dedicated Donations (over £315,000 from existing supporters sponsoring a variety of components) and the sponsorship of the locomotive’s distinctive front-end by The Gresley Society Trust. This means that the project has already raised – including Gift Aid – £2.5m and received pledges of £3.1m of the required £5m.

Progress building Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive continues at Darlington Locomotive Works and includes:

  • Frame plates for engine and tender rolled and profiled; engine’s frames erected at Darlington Locomotive Works; all major engine frame stays, brackets, horn blocks, axleboxes and buffers cast (44 in total); over 1,000 fitted and driven bolts ordered and delivered, approximately 800 now fitted to the frames
  • All 20 wheels for engine and tender cast and proof machined; engine wheelset assembly complete, balance weights manufactured and fitted, tender axles delivered
  • Preliminary discussions held with boiler manufacturers and forged foundation ring corners manufactured and machined; start made on boiler fittings with castings for combined injector steam and delivery valves; order placed with DB Dampflokwerk Meiningen to update the design to incorporate modifications and improvements fitted to Tornado’s boiler over the last 10 years
  • Study into ride and suspension completed using rail industry standard Vampire® software; Finite Element Analysis completed on re-designed crank axle to ensure it complies with modern standards; assessment and notified body appointed to oversee certification – first site visit made
  • Cab erected and cab side window frames fitted; engine footplating and splasher kits delivered and permanently fitted to frames
  • Smokebox door pressed, details made and door completed; door frame manufactured, smokebox delivered and erected; chimney cast and fitted
  • Crosshead castings delivered; connecting and coupling rods ordered and manufacture started
  • Boiler cladding assembly jig built, cladding crinolines and hoops rolled and fitted to jig, cladding sheets made and trial fitted to the engine’s frame
  • Tender frame construction under way, axleboxes and other tender castings delivered from William Cook Cast Products; tender tank procurement process underway
  • Nameplates and chime whistle delivered
  • Over £2m spent, £2.5m donated and over £3.1m pledged.

Over the next 12 months, the Darlington based team aims to:

  • Complete the pony truck
  • Select the manufacturer and place the order for the boiler
  • Make substantial progress on the tender tank and frames
  • Finish the detailed design of the electrical system
  • Complete the overhaul of and fit two steam driven air pumps
  • Manufacture and take delivery of most of the coupling and connecting rods
  • Complete the cylinder block design with construction nearing completion
  • Start manufacture of the valve gear.

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “HRH The Prince of Wales has been a fantastic supporter of Tornado and along with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall formally named the new locomotive in 2009.  Since then, Tornado has hauled the Royal Train on no less than three occasions on behalf of Prince Charles, so we were only too delighted to be able to name No.2007 in his honour.  It is well known HRH has a passion for our heritage and a particular interest in steam, but also the skills and craftsmanship required to build a steam locomotive from scratch.  It is a clear demonstration that the UK can still turn its hand to quality heavy engineering, making use of modern design and construction techniques whilst engaging and inspiring a new generation that nothing is beyond the realms of possibility.”

“The past five years have seen dramatic progress towards our aim of completing new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales by 2021 and there could be no more appropriate occasion than HRH The Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday to announce that our fundraising has passed the halfway point. 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.”

No. 2007 Prince of Wales outside Darlington Locomotive Works – Mandy Grant