To develop, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 Mikado steam locomotive for mainline and preserved railway use

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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.

The final steel castings for No. 2007 Prince of Wales have been ordered from William Cook Group of Sheffield. This fourth and final batch of 61 steel castings comprises three piston crossheads, the remainder being for the tender including horn blocks, spring safety brackets, tender axleboxes, spring hook brackets and buffer casings. In total 127 steel castings have been ordered for No. 2007 to-date of which 66 have already been cast and machined.

The William Cook Group (WCG) has been principal sponsor to The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust through its chairman Sir Andrew Cook CBE since 1994, providing all the steel castings for No. 60163 Tornado and No. 2007 Prince of Wales – including all the wheels – at preferential rates and on generous terms.

Meanwhile, at Darlington Locomotive Works, progress continues to be made on the frames, here are some highlights:

Design of leading sand boxes completed, kit ordered and assembly started.  Here Ian Matthews is seen with one of the completed sandboxes – David Elliott

Cartazzi spring hangers machined from flame cut profiles at Darlington Locomotive Works – Ian is seen milling one of the spring hangers – David Elliott

Cartazzi spring safety brackets completed – fabricated from profiles at DLW – David Elliott

Design of combined frame stay and four spring hanger brackets completed – David Elliott

Ian Howitt (who did extensive and diverse work on Tornado) has been contracted to start making brake parts, starting with the brake hangers. The two rear hangers are straightforward, however the front six hangers are of an unusual shape and were probably originally forged. The reason for the complex shape is the close spacing of the coupled wheels to keep the overall coupled wheelbase to a minimum. As a result the normal position for the brake hanger brackets between the tyres is not possible, so they are on the bottom of the frame plates and are inboard to clear the backs of the tyres. The hangers are forked design to overcome this problem – see the CAD below. Ian is machining these from thick flame cut profiles.

The brake hanger being machined at Ian Howitt Engineering – Ian Howitt

The rear brake hangers – Ian Howitt

The superheater header, cast by South Lincs Foundry at Spalding – David Elliott

The main design activity has been the leading sandboxes whose position between the smoke lifting plates and the smoke box making them a particularly awkward shape. The design has had to be developed from their outline on the general arrangement drawing as we do not have detailed drawings of the sandboxes.

David Elliott’s scheme for the front sandbox – David Elliott

After fitting the leading stay, the smokebox saddle and smokebox go back on – Bob Hughes

The cab footsteps, from profiles supplied and bent by S M Thompson Ltd of Middlesbrough – David Elliott

The small step on the footplate by the firebox in place – David Elliott

The pony truck pintle, machined and ready for fitting – David Elliott

A full set of roller bearing spacer, thrower, abutment and adjustment rings – Bob Hughes

Trunnion guides for the leading and driving coupled axleboxes – Bob Hughes

Close up of trunnion guides, superb machining – Bob Hughes

Milling a brake hanger bracket – Bob Hughes

Ian Matthews sets up the leading brake stay – David Elliott

Remarkable progress – all the major frame stays in place – David Elliott

Ian torques a nut on the last major stay to be fitted – David Elliott

Ian knocks home the last (for now) driven bolt – David Elliott

In other news, the beading on the smoke lifting plates has been fitted – David Elliott

Sponsor the boiler of Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive

Looking for something different for your train-loving Valentine? Hoping things will get hot and steamy this Valentine’s Day? Then how about supporting the construction of the boiler of Britain’s newest and most powerful express passenger steam locomotive – Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales. This huge boiler will generate 40,000lb (17½ tons) of steam per hour and at peak output requires 30 megawatts of coal (the equivalent of 15,000 boiling electric kettles).

Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers – especially lovers of steam. So why not treat your train-loving lover to membership of The Boiler Club – and get hot and steamy over something hot and steamy. 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 2017 for delivery in 2019. It is our desire if possible to complete No. 2007 debt-free and raise £600,000 to fund Prince of Wales’s boiler is critical to this.

Mark Allatt concluded, “With the success of The Boiler Club to date, 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

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and almost 800 people have 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 to this core scheme, funds have been raised through The Founders Club (over 360 people have donated £1,000 each – target 100 people, now closed), The Boiler Club (112 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), The Mikado Club (111 people have pledged £1,000 each – target 160 people/£200,000), Dedicated Donations (almost £200,000 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 received pledges almost 50% (including Gift Aid) of the £5m needed to complete the new locomotive by 2021.

 

For details of how to help visit www.p2steam.com, email enquiries@p2steam.com or call 01325 460163.

James May, TV presenter, media celebrity and steam enthusiast has made the appropriately named ‘slacking cock flange’ for No. 2007 Prince of Wales.  The TV presenter of Top Gear and The Grand Tour fame has already applied his engineering prowess in crafting the first component for No. 2007 when he last visited Darlington Locomotive Works in February 2013. Then he manufactured the smokebox door dart, the component at the front of the locomotive that secures the smokebox door shut (resembling the hands on a clock). Yesterday, using materials and tools at Darlington Locomotive Works, James created the more complex ‘slacking cock flange’ which connects the high-pressure hose (slacking pipe) to the boiler and controls the volume of water used to wash away coal dust on the footplate of a steam locomotive.

James May commented, “Not many man-made machines stir the soul, but a full-blown steam locomotive is right up there, and we invented it. However, over the decades we’ve lost so much of the talent, skill and knowledge needed to build them. That’s why it’s such a thrill to work alongside the team building No. 2007 Prince of Wales, determined to not only resurrect this monster from the past, but to improve it using modern wizardry to do so. It’s a real privilege to know that when Prince of Wales eventually roars past me at a station, I can proudly say along with many others that I helped build that… and it works!”

In the thirteenth series of BBC Top Gear in 2009, James May raced a Jaguar XK120 sports car against a Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle ridden by Richard Hammond and No. 60163 Tornado with Jeremy Clarkson on-board from London to Edinburgh in the ‘Great Race to the North’.

James is filmed by Tom Ingall for the BBC’s ‘Look North’ programme – Sophie Bunker-James

James checks his work on the slacking cock flange – Sophie Bunker-James

Flange for slacking cock flange being turned – Bob Hughes

Slacking cock flange body being bored ready for tapping 3/4″ BSP to take slacking cock – Bob Hughes

The part-finished slacking cock flange – David Elliott

AN AUDIENCE WITH THE PRINCE OF WALES COMING TO LONDON – Update on the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive.

The project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive will be holding the first in a series of roadshows at the London Transport Museum on Saturday 14th January 2017. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced that it will be holding a number of presentations on the project to build new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales along the route of the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburgh and all the way to Aberdeen during 2017.

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 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.

The first Roadshow is at The London Transport Museum, where all attendees will receive complimentary access to the Museum Galleries on the day. Each presentation will feature key Trust personnel including Mark Allatt (Chairman) and David Elliott (Director of Engineering) and will cover the background to the project, progress to-date, future plans and details of how to get involved. The presentations will run from 11:00hrs to 13:00hrs on each of the days listed below and are open to existing supporters and interested members of the public:

• Saturday 14th January 2017 – The London Transport Museum, London
• Saturday 18th February 2017 – The Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough
• Saturday 18th March 2017 – Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery, Doncaster
• Saturday 22nd April 2017 – York Railway Institute, York
• Saturday 13th May 2017 – Darlington Locomotive Works, Darlington
• Saturday 17th June 2017 – Newcastle Mining Institute, Newcastle
• Saturday 1st July 2017 – Edinburgh Jury’s Inn, Edinburgh
• Saturday 14th October 2017 – Dundee Heritage Trust Discovery Point, Dundee
• Saturday 25th November 2017 – Aberdeen Jury’s Inn, Aberdeen.


Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and 790 people have 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 to this core scheme, funds have been raised through The Founders Club (over 360 people have donated £1,000 each – target 100 people, now closed), The Boiler Club (well over 110 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people), The Mikado Club (105 people have pledged £1,000 each – target 160 people/£200,000), Dedicated Donations (over £180,000 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 received pledges almost 50% (including Gift Aid) of the £5m needed to complete the new locomotive by 2021.

Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The past three years have seen dramatic progress toward our aim of completing new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales by 2021. No. 2007 is already at the stage Tornado was eight years into the project. We are holding a series of free roadshow presentations in 2017, starting in London at the London Transport Museum, to promote the £5m project and at each we will cover the background to the project, our progress to-date, future plans and details of how to get involved. These presentations are open to anyone interested in the project and we are encouraging our existing supporters to bring along interested family and friends.”

“Now is the time to get on board this ground breaking project and help the Trust to raise the £5 million needed to ensure its completion in 2021.”

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has recently announced that it will be holding a series of presentations on the project to build new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales at venues along the route of the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburgh and all the way to Aberdeen during 2017. Each presentation will feature key Trust personnel including Mark Allatt (Chairman) and David Elliott (Director of Engineering) and will cover the background to the project, progress to-date, future plans and details of how to get involved. The presentations will run from 11:00hrs to 13:00hrs on each of the days listed below and are open to existing supporters and interested members of the public:

• Saturday 14th January 2017 – The London Transport Museum, London
• Saturday 18th February 2017 – The Great Northern Hotel, Peterborough
• Saturday 18th March 2017 – Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery, Doncaster
• Saturday 22nd April 2017 – York Railway Institute, York
• Saturday 13th May 2017 – Darlington Locomotive Works, Darlington
• Saturday 17th June 2017 – Newcastle Mining Institute, Newcastle
• Saturday 1st July 2017 – Edinburgh Jury’s Inn, Edinburgh
• Saturday 14th October 2017 – Dundee Heritage Trust Discovery Point, Dundee
• Saturday 25th November 2017 – Aberdeen Jury’s Inn, Aberdeen.

It is intended to avoid the very time consuming and expensive work required to balance Tornado’s coupled wheels. This was achieved by the traditional method of making weights to hang on the crank pins which represented the total mass of the rotating motion parts and a proportion of the reciprocating motion parts. Tornado’s wheels had cast in balance weights which are ‘adjusted’ by drilling holes in the back of the weights.

The actual dynamic balancing was undertaken with the assistance of Dowding and Mills (now Sulzer) at Middlesborough using their large electrical machinery balancing machine as no steam loco wheel balancing machines exist in the UK. One of our long term supporters who balanced large marine diesel engines in his youth kindly offered to produce the calculations for the overall balancing and a series of drawings to guide us as to where to drill the lightening holes. The readouts obtained from Network Rail ‘Wheelchex’ equipment which is installed in several places on main lines throughout the country to measure wheel forces (mainly to spot freight wagons with severe flats on wheels) show that the track forces produced by Tornado during testing are as predicted by the balancing calculations. The pictures below show the weights attached to the crank pins and the drive pulley required by the balancing machine, the holes drilled in the balance weights and the wheels being balanced.

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For No. 2007 we are intending to achieve balancing entirely by calculation and by using built up balance weights (crescent shaped plates riveted on both sides of the spokes with predetermined quantities of molten lead/antimony alloy poured into the cavities between the spokes and plates). This was standard GWR/LMS/BR practice. However instead of using a dynamic balancing machine to determine the precise amount of lead required, we intend to do this by calculation. The starting point is the centre of mass of the wheels. The 3D CAD models will predict where this is, however as the wheels are castings which rarely turn out precisely to the shape of the drawing, we need to use other methods to determine the centre of mass. One is to 3D scan the wheels to produce a solid model from which Solidworks 3D CAD can compute the centre of mass. To back this up we will also determine the centre of mass of each wheel in the plane of the wheel by balancing it on a knife edge on the back of the wheel boss and repeating this with the knife edge at 90 degrees.

As all the other components (tyres, crank pins, coupling and connecting rods, pistons, piston rods and crossheads) are fully machined to close tolerances, their masses and centre of masses can be computed accurately, as can any material removed from the wheel centres during tyre and crank pin fitting, the existing surfaces in these areas being already machined. This removed metal will cause the centre of mass to move slightly, but this displacement can be accurately calculated. The final check on hammerblow (the minimising of which is what balancing is all about) using the ‘Wheelchex’ equipment during the main line testing.

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