“We want eight and we won’t wait”- Let’s make a ‘Mikado’
The Mikado Club was founded in March 2016 to wheel the engine with an initial target of raising £200,000 plus Gift Aid from 160 supporters each donating £1,000. This was extended in May 2017 to 200 supporters raising £250,000 plus Gift Aid in order to also wheel the tender. The Mikado Club closed in May 2018 having achieved its target. However, for those wishing to donate to the project, The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler), The Motion Club (to fund the manufacture of the heavy motion) and The Tender Club (to fund the construction of the tender) are all still seeking members.
When achieved, it was the first time for over 70 years that one of these iconic class of locomotives has stood on its wheels – the last original Gresley class P2 No. 2003 Lord President was rebuilt into an ungainly Thompson class A2/2 Pacific in December 1944.
It was the eight driving wheels that made the six original Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ unique in the UK.
The Whyte notation for classifying steam locomotives by wheel arrangement was devised by Frederick Methvan Whyte in the early twentieth century. In the notation a locomotive with one leading axle (two wheels) in front, then four driving axles (eight wheels) and then one trailing axle (two wheels) is classified as 2-8-2 and commonly referred to as a ‘Mikado’. The name ‘Mikado’ originated from a group of Japanese type 9700 2-8-2 locomotives that were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works for the 3ft 6in gauge Nippon Railway of Japan in 1897. In the 19th century, the Emperor of Japan was often referred to as “the Mikado” in English and the Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Mikado had premiered in 1885 and achieved great popularity in both Britain and the USA.
Following the success of The Founders Club (to get the project to the point of cutting the frames) and The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler), the Trust decided to establish The Mikado Club to raise an estimated £200,000 required to wheel No. 2007 this year.
If the project to complete No. 2007 Prince of Wales within three is to remain on schedule the engine needed to be wheeled in 2018. The Trust therefore set itself the challenge of raising £200,000 through The Mikado Club from 160 supporters each donating £1,000 (plus Gift Aid) to the project in up to eight payments of £125 by standing order. This estimate excludes the components already ordered or delivered such as wheels, tyres, axles, bearings and cannon boxes some of which are still available to sponsor as Dedicated Donations.
In return for supporting this appeal, special benefits for members of The Mikado Club included:
- Reserved seat on No. 2007’s first main line train
- Reasonable access to No. 2007 at all times
- Exclusive Mikado 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 Stephen Bainbridge’s new painting of No. 2007 Prince of Wales at Darlington station
- Special Mikado Club day with Tornado
Work involved wheeling the engine to create the first standard gauge ‘Mikado’ since 1945 included:
- Machining axle and cannon box castings, manufacturing roller bearing details
- Boring eight coupled wheel bosses to finished size
- Assembling bearings and cannon box onto pony truck axle
- Assembling bearings, cannon and axle boxes onto plain coupled axles
- Trial fitting coupled axles to frame
- Pressing Cartazzi wheels onto axle, fitting & machining tyres and fitting bearings & axleboxes
- Pressing plain coupled wheels onto axles, fitting and machining tyres
- Assembling crank axle, fitting bearings & axleboxes, pressing wheels onto crank axle, fitting and machining tyres
- Finish machining crank bosses & boring crank pin holes and machining & fitting all crank pins
- Trial fitting wheelsets to frames at DLW.
A huge thank you to everyone who supported this special fundraising appeal.