Plan to build Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales hits big milestone
A major project to create a classic Sir Nigel Gresley steam locomotive is now two-thirds complete. The project to build new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No.
2007 Prince of Wales has now raised more than GBP4m of the estimated GBP6m required since the project was launched in September 2013. The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 “Mikados” were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK.
top stories from Burton and Swadlincote They were designed by South Derbyshire’s Sir Nigel Gresley, one of Britain’s most important ever engineers, in the 1930s for the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) to haul 600-tonne trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. He also designed the iconic Flying Scotsman and The Mallard trains.
However, the design was never fully developed and was adapted by Sir Nigel’s successor, Edward Thompson, into ungainly class A2/2 4-6-2 ‘Pacifics’ in 1943/4. They were scrapped by 1961. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust – a registered charity that built new 100mph steam locomotive No.
60163 Tornado – is building the seventh member of the class P2 at its Darlington Locomotive Works over 10 years. Unlike with the trust’s first new steam locomotive, significant development work has been required to ensure the new Gresley loco reaches its full potential. Mark Allatt, trustee, said: “Over the past eight years, the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has spent more than GBP4m on design and construction and raised over GBP4m of the estimated GBP6m required to complete No.
2007 over the next two years. “The trial fitting of the coupling rods and pony truck to the engine for the first time for the trust’s annual convention is a very significant milestone in the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive. “We still have another GBP2m to raise and so if you would like to see a new Gresley class P2 sooner rather than later, I’d encourage you to get on-board by becoming a donor for the ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ scheme, joining one of our fund-raising clubs or sponsoring a specific component through our dedicated donation scheme.”
2007 Prince of Wales at Darlington Locomotive Works. (Image: A1SLT)
How each part of the project is coming along
- Develop improved pony truck and frame design using VAMPIRE (R) modelling data to confirm ride characteristics – complete
- Investigate and confirm valve gear to be fitted; choices were improved Lentz/Franklin (selected), Walschaerts or British Caprotti – valve gear selected; design changes and manufacture under way
- Investigate and reduce risk of crank axle failure apparent on original class P2s – design study and manufacture complete
- Investigate and confirm design and method of construction of cylinders; cast versus fabrication – study complete and fabrication under way
- Use of modified diagram 118A Tornado boiler – under construction
- Use of class A1 type Timken roller bearings – complete
- Substitution of fabricated frame stays for original cast design – complete
- Modification of brake system from vacuum only to BR-type dual air/vacuum installation – being installed
- Incorporation of rocking grate and hopper ashpan – under construction
- Reduce overall height to comply with modern, more restricted, loading gauge – complete
- Fit modern comprehensive electrical system and safety equipment – being installed
Work to be done in the coming year
- Cylinder block installed into engine’s frame: delivery due spring 2022
- Fit boiler to engine frames: boiler delivery from DB Meiningen in summer 2022
- Fit wheels to tender frame: wheelsets to be balanced March 2022; tender frame delivery to DLW due spring 2022
- Design and install air pipework to tender: layout to be finalised and materials to be ordered
- Electrical circuit design: now that ETCS partner identified, final design for cab and tender can go ahead
- Steam and water pipework installation: special copper pipes and bronze bar for fittings delivered; manufacture of unique fittings
- Air pipework installation almost complete: air tanks to be funded; detailed design in cab to be completed; order materials and fittings
- Heavy motion fully delivered, coupling rods fitted: delivery of inside rod and strap in 2021 followed by pistons and rods in 2022
- Valve gear in manufacture: plan to manufacture a prototype
- Gearbox and reverser: create detailed drawings
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