by Phil Marsh

April 2014 - a big month for new-build steam locomotive projects

Published: 2nd May 2014

Gresley ‘P2’ 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales officially came into existence on St. George’s Day in st

The 21-ton steel frames for the new-build locomotive being constructed by The P2 Steam Locomotive Company were rolled at Tata Steel in Scunthorpe on April 23. Traditionally, a locomotive is identified by its frames hence the project to construct Prince of Wales took physical form on St. George’s Day 2014.

Formation of The P2 Steam Locomotive Company and launch of a ‘P2 Founders Club’ was officially announced at the September 21 convention of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. The latter built, owns and operates new-build A1 No. 60163 Tornado. Many of the same people are now taking the project to build P2 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales forward.

The Founders Club was considered a pre-launch phase of a project, the aim being to sign up at least 100 members donating £1,000 (in up to four £250 payments by standing order) to raise £100,000 to finance the initial stages of frame construction. The response was astounding.

The Founders Club now has 300 members who have each given £1,000 plus over 270 covenantors who came on board in the first month after that scheme was launched. The funds raised have enabled the start of the locomotive’s physical construction.

Celebrity Dart

While the ‘P2’ was deemed to have come into existence on April 23 when the main frame plates were produced, the first actual component to be made was the smokebox dart, produced on February 20 by TV presenter, James May, in Darlington Locomotive Works. This is in essence the key that locks the smoke box door.

£5million project – you can be part of it

The new locomotive, the seventh member of the class described as the most powerful passenger steam locomotives to operate in the UK, is to be built over the next seven years at a projected cost of £5million.

They said;

“Having already built one steam locomotive from scratch with Tornado, the levels of support and interest that have been generated towards Prince of Wales have been nothing short of sensational,” commented Mark Allatt, Chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity behind the project.

“With backing from HRH Prince of Wales, high profile celebrities such as James May, significant pledges made by members of The Founders Club and fantastic initial interest in becoming a monthly covenantor, our national presentation roadshow demonstrates to the wider public just how serious and committed we are in resurrecting this amazing steam locomotive.”

A series of fundraising presentations are being held around the country. The next is in Aberdeen on Saturday May 17 commencing at 11.00. The presentations are open to everyone interested in helping make the locomotive become a reality. Key members of the P2 team will present the background to the project, the history of the class, the plan to build the improved P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales and how members of the public can help pledge their support. Delegates are invited to register on the project website in advance at www.p2steam.com.

The original engines were built by the London & Northeastern Railway in 1937 but were not terribly successful. They were designed for use in Scotland but their long eight-coupled wheelbase rendered them unsuitable for Scottish routes noted for their tight curves.

The class was rebuilt into a more normal ‘Pacific’ 4-6-2 wheel arrangement in the war years giving the small fleet a far better operational range.

Outside cylinder cast for The Unknown Warrior

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company is not the only team taking giant strides forward in construction of new locomotives in this year of war anniversaries. On April 16 the first outside cylinder for the LMS-Patriot Project’s new-build ‘Patriot’ No. 45551 The Unknown Warrior was cast at Coupe Castings in Preston.

The casting was made from a polystyrene pattern produced by Premier Patterns of Smethwick using the same pioneering technique employed for production of the middle cylinder last year. The use of polystyrene patterns has radically reduced the cost of producing such castings – with the patterns costing around £1,700, each of the three cylinders for the new ‘Patriot’ are expected to be produced, and machined, at a cost of around £3,000. The second outside cylinder will be cast in May.

Following machining the cylinders will be fitted to the frames of The Unknown Warrior by Llangollen Railway Engineering, which is undertaking construction of the locomotive.

When will ‘Patriot’ be steaming?

The LMS-Patriot Project aims to complete construction of The Unknown Warrior for 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, if enough funds can be raised. Donations and sponsorship of parts can be made via The LMS-Patriot Project website or cheques can be sent to The LMS-Patriot Company Ltd, PO Box 3118, Hixon, Stafford ST16 9JL.second outside cylinder will be cast in May.

Following machining the cylinders will be fitted to the frames of The Unknown Warrior by Llangollen Railway Engineering, which is undertaking construction of the locomotive. The LMS-Patriot Project aims to complete construction of The Unknown Warrior for 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, if enough funds can be raised.

Donations and sponsorship of parts can be made via The LMS-Patriot Project website or cheques can be sent to The LMS-Patriot Company Ltd, PO Box 3118, Hixon, Stafford ST16 9JL.

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