The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced that it has received pledges for more than two-thirds of the £5m required to complete new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales. The Trust also announced that it has recently made substantial progress with the new locomotive’s boiler, heavy motion and tender. The new class P2 is now almost 45% complete and on target for steaming within the next three years.
The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK. They were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley in the 1930s to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt by his successor Edward Thompson into ungainly class A2/2 4-6-2 ‘Pacifics’ in 1943/4, and scrapped by 1961. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (A1SLT – registered charity and builders of famous new 100mph steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado) is building the seventh member of this class at its Darlington Locomotive Works (DLW) at an estimated cost of £5m through its P2 Steam Locomotive Company subsidiary. 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.
Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive become a reality sooner rather than later is high. Since its launch in late September 2013 fundraising for the project to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales has made rapid progress with around 930 supporters already signed up to the ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer per week’ (£2.50 per week) covenant scheme. Over the duration of the project this is estimated to be worth over £1.5m of the £5m needed to complete Prince of Wales.
Recent developments have seen:
- The start of construction of the two new diagram 118a boilers at DB Meiningen as part of the £1m order by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for a boiler for No. 2007 Prince of Wales (for delivery in July 2021) and a spare boiler for both No. 2007 and No. 60163 Tornado (due to be delivered in September 2020 and fitted to Tornado at her next overhaul during autumn 2020)
- The forging of the first heavy motion – two middle coupling rods – by Arthur Stephenson Engineers Ltd of Atherton, is to be machined over next 2-3 months with the rest of the heavy motion following over the next 12 months
- Substantial progress has been made on the tender with the erection of the tender frames by ID Howitt of Crofton (now around two-thirds complete and expected to be delivered to Darlington in the new year), the construction of the tender tank by North View Engineering Solutions Ltd of Darlington (now around half complete and expected to be delivered to DLW in before the end of year) and the assembly of the four tender wheelsets at South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd in Buckfastleigh (now substantially complete and expected to be delivered to DLW in November)
Prince of Wales’ boiler, October 2019 – DB Meiningen/A1SLT
The middle coupling rod forgings – Richard Pearson
The tender frames at Ian Howitt’s works – A1SLT
Tender tank progress – David Elliott