First heavy motion components delivered

We are happy to report that the first completed heavy motion – two intermediate coupling rods – has been delivered to Darlington Locomotive Works only seven years after the launch of the project to build a new P2. The fundraising campaign to raise the £210,000 needed to pay for the manufacture of the heavy motion has also made good progress, with £170,000 already donated.

In May 2018 the Trust placed a £181,000 plus VAT order with Stephenson (Engineering) Ltd of Atherton, Manchester for the heavy motion. The order included the forging, machining and heat treatment of the nine heavy motion rods – intermediate coupling rod LH/RH, trailing coupling rod LH/RH, leading coupling rod LH/RH, outside connecting rod LH/RH and the inside connecting rod assembly (including strap, gluts and strap nuts and washers).

The intermediate coupling rods at DLW – A1SLT

In April 2018, we launched a new appeal to raise the funds to manufacture the motion for No. 2007 Prince of Wales. The Motion Club was established with the aim of raising £210,000 from 175 supporters each donating £1,000 (plus Gift Aid) to the project in up to eight payments of £125 by standing order. The appeal started well and in just seven weeks it had already reached over a quarter of its target. Within three months, we had recruited over 140 members, with around £170,000 pledged.

In return for supporting this appeal, special benefits for members of The Motion Club include:

  • Opportunity to buy ticket (seat already reserved) on one of the first trains hauled by No. 2007 Prince of Wales
  • Reasonable access to No. 2007 at all times
  • Opportunity to buy exclusive Motion Club badge
  • Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
  • First choice of other components to sponsor
  • Special supporters’ day with Tornado
  • Special limited-edition version (signed/numbered) of Stuart Black’s drawing of No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

You can find out more about how to join The Motion Club here.

Mark Allatt, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “We are delighted with the support the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch seven years ago. With over £2.5m spent and more than £3.0m donated to-date, we remain on-track for completion within three years. However, to maintain this progress we need to raise £700,000 per year and we are still seeking to recruit members of The Motion Club in order to complete the funding for the heavy motion and ‘price of a pint of beer a week’ covenantors to support on-going construction at Darlington Locomotive Works.

“Unfortunately, a lack of resources at our supplier has been compounded by the social distancing requirements of working during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has prevented the forging of further heavy motion beyond the four coupling rods, which have since been heat treated. However, delivery of the first two coupling rods is a major milestone and we anticipate Stephenson (Engineering) delivering the heavy motion over the next year as each rod takes around 100 hours to machine.

“We are following Government guidelines with regards to Covid-19 and, whilst our office-based staff are now working from home, our workshop staff are continuing to work at Darlington Locomotive Works where they are taking all necessary precautions. However, as many of our supporters and volunteers are from vulnerable groups, the Works is currently closed to non-essential staff.”

Despite the impact of Covid-19, progress on the construction of our new Gresley class P2 ‘Mikado’ continues to move forward rapidly. The engine has reached the condition where it is recognisably a P2 and the structurally complete tender tank and tender wheelsets are now at Darlington Locomotive Works. Construction and assembly work continues on all fronts, including boiler, wheelsets, tender frame, heavy motion, pipework and electricals. Design work for the extensively modified and improved cylinder block is complete, with the focus now turned to adaptation of the Lentz rotary cam poppet valve gear to overcome deficiencies in the original design.