Media contact
All media enquiries should be made to Mark Allatt at mark.allatt@p2steam.com or on 07710 878979.
Please note that this is not a general enquiries number and is for press use only. The general enquiries number is 01325 460163.

Links forged between Britain’s largest warship and most powerful steam locomotive

‘Bond of Friendship’ announced between new Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales and new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales

The Royal Navy and The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust are delighted to announce a ‘Bond of Friendship’ between new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales and new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

HMS Prince of Wales (R09) is the second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier under construction for the Royal Navy. She is the seventh Royal Navy ship to have the name HMS Prince of Wales. Construction of the ship began in 2011 and she was formally named on 8th September 2017 at Rosyth Dockyard by The Duchess of Rothesay (The Duchess of Cornwall). HMS Prince of Wales will be handed over to the Royal Navy in 2019 and will be fully ready for frontline duties from 2023. Along with sister-ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Prince of Wales is the largest ship ever to be built for the Royal Navy, with a displacement of around 65, 000 tonnes and length of 920 feet. The ship will carry a crew of up to 1,600 men and women and up to 40 aircraft, including the F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter.

HMS Prince of Wales and some of the ship’s company at Rosyth – MoD

The class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikado’ locomotives were the most powerful passenger steam locomotives to operate in the UK, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route.  Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt in 1943/44 and scrapped by 1961.  The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (registered charity and builders of famous new steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado) is building the seventh member of this class over seven to ten years at an estimated cost of £5m. 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.

At The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s 25th Annual Convention in Darlington, the ‘Bond of Friendship’ was cemented by the exchange of gifts – from the Royal Navy to the Trust the crest of HMS Prince of Wales and from the Trust to the Royal Navy the painting ‘Dream Team’ by renowned railway artist Chris Ludlow featuring both No. 2007 Prince of Wales with No. 60163 Tornado.

   

Lt Cdr David Wright presents David Champion with the crest and receives a print in return – Mandy Grant

Upon receiving the painting, Lt Cdr David Wright, commented, “It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself and the Ship’s Company at the beginning of what we trust will be an exciting and beneficial Bond of Friendship between both No. 2007 Prince of Wales and HMS Prince of Wales. We have just officially been named by the Duchess of Rothesay, our Lady Sponsor, and I understand that you have just passed a significant milestone with the completion of the first wheelset which must be a very proud moment for all of those involved.

“As we take our first tentative steps in the life of a brand new Ship’s Company, we are extremely keen to foster a strong connection with No. 2007 Prince of Wales locomotive and ensure that the relationship between HMS Prince of Wales and The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust flourishes. Bonds of Friendship are extremely important to the Royal Navy and we are eager to explore ways in which we can develop our links over the coming years.

“Construction continues apace at Rosyth and we are pleased to say that many of the lessons identified in the construction of HMS Queen Elizabeth have helped to accelerate HMS Prince of Wales’ build schedule. With the hull nearing completion, we are now looking towards a launch early in the New Year. We look forward to hearing how you have found building your second locomotive and implemented the lessons learned from No. 60163 Tornado.

Receiving the crest, David Champion, President, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, added, “The Bond of Friendship with HMS Prince of Wales, the largest and most powerful ship ever built for the Royal Navy, is a momentous occasion, and as we shadow each other’s build over the next few years, there are a number of parallels between the Royal Navy and The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.

“First, we both have a ‘can do’ attitude, delighting in tackling the seemingly impossible with a well thought out strategy and courage. Second, while we cannot match the dedication of the RN who, in the worst case will give their lives in the defence of the country, there are a number of us in the Trust who have given large parts of our lives in the pursuit of the Trust’s goals. Third, HMS Prince of Wales is being built in the historical stamping ground of the original Gresley class P2s. Fourth, after your experience of the building Lot 1 (the magnificent and identical HMS Queen Elizabeth), you have found that building Lot 2 is going quite a bit faster, we have found that with our Lot 2 also! Fifth, and lastly, the Trust was set up in 1990 to achieve its goals by the pursuit of best professional practice and excellence, a sentiment that equally applies to the Royal Navy.

“Both HMS Prince of Wales and No. 2007 Prince of Wales truly represent the best of British engineering, albeit they are designs from very different eras. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to be building a relationship with the Senior Service and the Ship’s Company of HMS Prince of Wales. Just as we have with our first new steam locomotive, No. 60163 Tornado and the Tornado Force at RAF Marham, we look forward to many joint activities over the coming years. And with No. 2007 Prince of Wales due for completion in 2021 and HMS Prince of Walesexpected to be commissioned in 2020, one day soon we will hopefully see our No. 2007 Prince of Wales standing on the Forth Railway Bridge, its chime whistle saluting HMS Prince of Wales as she glides gracefully under.”

Raising the pressure.

CAMPAIGN TO RAISE £600,000 FOR NO. 2007 PRINCE OF WALES’ BOILER STEAMS PAST THE HALF-WAY POINT

We are delighted to announced that pledges made to The Boiler Club fundraising campaign have already passed the half-way point. Launched in October 2014 to raise the £600,000 needed pay for the manufacture of the boiler, The Boiler Club now has over 130 members who have each donated or pledged £2,000 (plus Gift Aid) meaning that almost £330,000 has been raised so far for the boiler.

Following the success of The Founders Club, which was designed to get to the P2 Project to the point of cutting No. 2007’s frames, the Trust has decided to establish The Boiler Club to fund the construction of Prince of Wales’ boiler. The Trust set an initial target for The Founders Club of at least £100,000 from 100 ‘Founders’ but due to the overwhelming generosity of its supporters actually raised £450,000 (including gift aid) from over 360 donors. It is the Trust’s desire to leave No. 2007 Prince of Wales debt free upon completion and therefore its aim is to raise at least £600,000 for The Boiler Club from 300 supporters each donating £2,000 to the project (in up to 40 payments of £50 by standing order). In return for this commitment, members of The Boiler Club receive these special benefits:

  • Opportunity to buy ticket (seat already reserved) on No. 2007’s first main line train
  • Reasonable access to No. 2007 at all times
  • Opportunity to buy exclusive Boiler Club badge
  • Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
  • First choice of other components to sponsor
  • Special limited edition version (signed/numbered) of the first official painting of No. 2007 Prince of Wales with No. 60163 Tornado – ‘Dream Team’ by renowned railway artist Chris Ludlow
  • Special Boiler Club day with Tornado.

Mark Allatt, Trustee and P2 Project Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Reaching the half-way point in the funding of No. 2007 Prince of Wales’ boiler through The Boiler Club marks a significant milestone in the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive. It is our desire if possible to complete No. 2007 debt-free and so we launched The Boiler Club in October 2014 to raise £600,000 to fund Prince of Wales’ boiler.

“The boiler is the beating heart of a steam locomotive and to keep the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales on schedule for completion in 2021 we need to place the order for the boiler in 2018 for delivery in 2020. With this latest announcement, no-one can now doubt that we really mean business. The next few months will see further major announcements as the construction of the locomotive gathers pace. We are now appealing to those who want to be a part of this exciting project to become covenantors, sponsors and volunteers to help us maintain this momentum.”

No. 2007’s boiler in detail:

  • Use of diagram 118A Tornado boiler with detailed modifications to improve overhaul life
  • Interchangeable with Tornado boiler
  • Tornado boiler is 17in shorter than P2 boiler – No. 2007’s smoke box will be extended within the cladding
  • 250psi of No. 60163’s boiler will be retained to improve economy and increase maximum power

Tornado’s boiler is delivered – David Elliott

A new home fit for a P2!

FORMER STOCKTON & DARLINGTON RAILWAY SHED TO PROVIDE NEW BASE FOR TORNADO AND PRINCE OF WALES

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce plans for a new multi-million-pound main line connected base in Darlington. If its fundraising attempts are successful, the new site will be operational in time to play a central role in the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025.

At the heart of the new base will be the four-track Whessoe Road engine shed which was built by the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1861. Designed by William Peachey, it was one of the S&DR’s last developments before the company was absorbed by the North Eastern Railway in 1863. The shed went on to serve as a wagon repair and paint shop, before falling into disuse in the late 20th Century. Thought to be one of the oldest surviving engine sheds in the world, it will require major roof repairs and other remedial works before it can again house live steam locomotives.

The Trust also plans to build a purpose built, three-road workshop, complete with overhead cranes and educational facilities, where it can maintain and overhaul its locomotive and carriage fleet, as well as build additional locomotives, such as its planned third new steam locomotive, Gresley class V4 No. 3403. Other planned features of the new ‘Darlington Locomotive Works’ include a 70-foot diameter turntable and a carriage shed to house the Trust’s proposed BR mark 3 carriage-based charter train.  The site can be easily and relatively cheaply reconnected to the national network, the depot would be connected directly onto the existing head shunt/siding at the north end of the North Road Goods Loop, sited west of Network Rail’s North Road station on the line from Darlington to Bishop Auckland.

A key priority for the Trust is that the site is made publicly accessible on regular advertised open days. It has also identified a quarter to one-third of a mile long running line which could be used for limited steam-hauled passenger rides, running parallel to the Bishop Auckland branch, as well as its more important role as a basic test-bed for the Trusts new and overhauled locomotives. The site also has potential as an operational base should an idea from Darlington Borough Council to run steam hauled shuttle services between Darlington and Bishop Auckland come to fruition.  The land adjacent to the engine shed is currently used by a vehicle component recovery business and all the relevant land is owned by Network Rail. Encouraging discussions have been held with the tenant and Darlington Borough Council has already identified an alternative site for the operation to relocate to. The Trust has appointed Darlington-based lifelong railwayman Paul Bruce as its Whessoe Road project director.

Graeme Bunker-James, Trustee and Operations Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Our long-awaited new base will be somewhere that both Tornado and Prince of Wales can truly call ‘home’. We hope that we will be able to operate the world’s newest steam locomotives from the world’s oldest active main line engine shed – a true ‘Top Shed’ of the north!  The intention is to open the Whessoe Road site as an operational base for the Trust soon after we complete the construction of Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales, which is scheduled for 2021/22 – and in good time to play a central role in the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025.”

The Trust has already held positive talks with Network Rail about the site and been visited by both its Chairman Sir Peter Hendy and Chief Engineer Jon Shaw. The Trust is also working with local stakeholders, including Darlington Borough Council, Ben Houchen (Mayor of the Tees Valley Combined Authority) and Jenny Chapman MP (Darlington) to explore funding options.  A consequence of the proposal is that the Trust will vacate the former S&DR carriage works on Hopetown Lane – just 100 yards south of Whessoe Road – that it has occupied for the past 20 years.

The 1861 locomotive shed at Whessoe Road – A1SLT

The proposed track layout at Whessoe Road – A1SLT

Convention draw results

The hugely successful raffle was drawn at the Convention and we are pleased to announce the winners (who will also be contacted):
1st prize – 22002 Mr Atkins
2nd prize – 36884 Douglas Blades
3rd prize – 19344 Miss J Sandles
4th prize – 28569 Angela Brinkrian
5th prize – 37379 Peter Beale
6th prize – 26475 Rob Dixon
7th and 8th prize – 01868 J Scott and 29607 Andy Weaver
5 x P2 Books – 28182 Kirkland, 25237 Foakes, 39700 Mary Fransella, 20956 Nigel Lukowski, 24881 J R Sylvia Steele
Congratulations to all our winners, commiserations to those who didn’t and thanks to all of those who took part! Total raised £8661.00!

Putting the horsepower into the new P2

£100,000 appeal launched to make the cylinder block for No. 2007 Prince of Wales

We are delighted to announce a new £100,000 appeal to make the cylinder block for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales. If the project is to remain on schedule to complete No. 2007 by 2021 we need to order the cylinder block in 2017. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has therefore set itself the challenge of raising £100,000 through The Cylinder Club from 100 supporters each donating £1,000 (plus Gift Aid) to the project in up to eight payments of £125 by standing order.

Following the success of The Founders Club (to get the project to the point of cutting the frames), The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler) and The Mikado Club (to wheel the locomotive), the Trust has decided to establish The Cylinder Club to raise an estimated £100,000 required to make No. 2007’s cylinder block.

In return for supporting this appeal, special benefits for members of The Cylinder 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 Cylinder Club badge
  • Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
  • First choice of other components to sponsor
  • Special Cylinder Club day with Tornado
  • Special signed print of John Wigston’s new painting of No. 2007 Prince of Wales alongside No. 2001 Cock o’ the North and No. 2002 Earl Marischal

David Elliott’s design for an improved, fabricated P2 cylinder block – David Elliott

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

  • Convert the original P2 class 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.

Mark Allatt 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 £2.6m has now been donated or pledged. Our team at Darlington Locomotive Works has been focused on creating and assembling the boiler cladding over the past few weeks.

“We now want to turn our attention to the cylinder block which is our next major design and manufacturing challenge. If we can raise £100,000 through The Cylinder Club over the next few months we are confident that we will be able to place the order for the cylinder block for No. 2007 Prince of Wales by the end of 2017 and remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive 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 member of The Cylinder Club or 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 member of The Cylinder Club, email , call 01325 460163 or visit www.p2steam.com for more information.

You can download the Cylinder Club leaflet here.

More Virgin apprentices at Darlington

As the project to build new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales starts to manufacture the cladding to fit around the boiler, a third group of engineering apprentices from Virgin Trains has joined the team in Darlington Locomotive Works to help with the construction of this iconic new steam locomotive.

As part of an on-going sponsorship agreement with Virgin Trains, apprentices are being given the opportunity to experience a different railway environment at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works where Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado was completed in 2008 and No. 2007 Prince of Wales is now under construction.

The third group of apprentices, Ondre Brooks, James Henshaw and David Harrison from Virgin Trains’ Bounds Green depot in London, have just completed a two-week-long stint with the Trust at DLW working on No. 2007 Prince of Wales. Over this period, they have worked with A1SLT staff, helping with the shaping and fabrication of the locomotive’s distinctive boiler cladding using the dinosaur-like former nick-named ‘Craig the Cretaceous’. More apprentices are expected to follow in the coming months.

John Doughty, Engineering Director for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, commented, “While we look forward to introducing our new Virgin Azuma train fleet from 2018, it’s important to promote and preserve the history and heritage of our east coast route. Our sponsorship of the Trust gives our apprentices the opportunity to experience a very valuable taste of the heavier side of railway mechanical engineering.”

Mark Allatt, Trustee and P2 Project Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The original Gresley class P2s worked the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route for the LNER in the late 1930s, a route now operated by Virgin Trains East Coast. We are delighted that apprentices from Virgin Trains is now working with us to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales at our Darlington Locomotive Works, true inheritors to the LNER’s combination of speed and style. We look forward to welcoming many more apprentices to DLW over the next few years.”

David Harrison uses the mag drill on the backhead cladding – David Elliott

James Henshaw tidies up with an angle grinder – David Elliott

Ondre Brooks at the workbench – David Elliott

Tees Valley Mayor visits Darlington Locomotive Works

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen recently visited Darlington Locomotive Works where No. 2007 Prince of Wales is currently under construction.  During the visit Mr Houchen was given a briefing on a The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s progress to-date and its ambitious plans for expansion.

The Mayor heard first-hand the Trust’s plans for a larger base in Darlington where it would build and maintain its growing fleet of locomotives and rolling stock. The Trust also has ambitions to create a state-of-the-art charter train, from a set of locomotive-hauled Mark 3 carriages, which will be extensively refurbished and overhauled for its new role.

The Trust has over 2,500 supporters who raised the £3m needed to complete Tornado and are now raising £5m to build Prince of Wales. It also has the backing of leading British business including William Cook Cast Products, Cleveland Bridge and Virgin Trains East Coast.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen commented, This is a wonderful project taking place at the home of the modern passenger railway and we should be getting behind it.  It was exciting to hear the Trust is looking to expand into a larger and better facility.  It will be a fantastic thing to be able to take this project forward to the next level, even beyond completion of Prince of Wales, which is an achievement in itself.

Mark Allatt, Trustee and P2 Project Director commented, One of the remarkable things about this project is the amount of money we’re putting back into local industry; around 70 per cent of the £5 million we’re spending on Prince of Wales is going to be spent with businesses in the local area.  We’ve briefed the Mayor on our exciting plans for the future and he is fully supportive of what we are trying to achieve.”

Bert Houchen and Mark Allatt at the works – A1SLT

First wheelset assembled for No. 2007

Work started on boiler cladding for Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales

We are delighted to announce that the first wheelset for No. 2007 has been assembled by South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh, Devon. The Cartazzi wheelset has had its wheels pressed onto its axle and its tyres are due to be shrunk onto the wheels within the next fortnight. This is a significant milestone in the £250,000 wheeling of the new locomotive.

Mark Allatt, Trustee and P2 Project Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The assembly of the first wheelset is a major milestone in the £250,000 wheeling of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales. We are hopeful that we will have completed the rolling chassis for the engine during next winter and we remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive in 2021. However, to maintain this rate of progress we need to continue to raise in excess of £700,000 per year, which given the nature of the regular donation scheme becomes more challenging as each year passes.

“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 covenantor or joining The Mikado Club to fund the wheeling. 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.”

The wheels being pressed on and the finished item awaiting tyres – Rob Le Chevalier

In other news work continued fabricating the boiler cladding, calculating the centre of mass for the wheels for balancing purposes and the assembly of a spring bracket stay at North View Engineering.

Ian Matthews and the apprentices roll the boiler cladding – David Elliott

Cladding sheets pile up at Darlington – David Elliott

Wheel centre of mass balancing in progress – David Elliott

A spring bracket stay is fabricated at North View Engineering – David Elliott

Virgin apprentices at Darlington

A second group of engineering apprentices from Virgin Trains has joined the team in Darlington Locomotive Works to help with the construction of Prince of Wales.
As part of a sponsorship agreement with Virgin Trains, apprentices are being given the opportunity to experience a different railway environment at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works where Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado was completed in 2008 and No. 2007 Prince of Wales is now under construction.
The second two apprentices, Scott Henderson and Andrew Patterson from Virgin Trains’ Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh, have just completed a week-long stint with the Trust at DLW working on No. 2007 Prince of Wales. Over this period, they have worked with A1SLT staff, helping with the shaping and fabrication of the locomotive’s distinctive boiler cladding using the dinosaur-like former nick-named ‘Craig the Cretaceous’. More apprentices are expected to follow in the coming months.
Speaking of the arrangement, John Doughty, Engineering Director for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said, “While we look forward to introducing our new Virgin Azuma train fleet from 2018, it’s important to promote and preserve the history and heritage of our east coast route. Our sponsorship of the Trust gives our apprentices the opportunity to experience a very valuable taste of the heavier side of railway mechanical engineering.”
VTEC apprentices Scott Henderson and Andrew Patterson bending cladding supports – David Elliott