Published: 15th October 2014
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which is building a new Gresley P2 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales through its P2 Steam Locomotive Company subsidiary, has launched a new sponsorship appeal to finance the wheelsets. People can sponsor one or more of the 18 spokes of the 6ft 2in driving wheels for either a £600 donation, or £25 per month for 24 months. Other options range from sponsoring a Drag box wing plate (£50) to a complete 6ft 2in driving wheel casting (and proof machining) at £12,000 (or £200 per month for 60 months).
Supporters who subscribe to the scheme will have their names inscribed on the official roll of honour at Darlington Locomotive Works listing the components sponsored, receive a certificate recording the sponsorship and a copy of the drawing of the component. New components available for sponsorship will become available as construction progresses.
The new Gresley P2 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales officially came into existence on St. George’s Day, April 23 2014 when the frame plates were rolled at Tata Steel in Scunthorpe ( http://www.rail.co.uk/rail-news/2014/april-2014-a-big-month-for-new-build-steam-locomotive-projects/ ). The frames were ceremonially dedicated on July 19 at Darlington Locomotive Works in Hopetown Lane, Darlington in the presence of project supporters, sponsors as well as Jenny Chapman MP (Darlington) and the Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Gerald Lee. Construction of the new P2 is expected to take seven years at an estimated cost of £5million.
Since the project was launched in late September 2013 over 360 members of The Founders Club have each given £1,000 and over 560 people are already signed up to the ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer per week’ (£10 per month) covenant scheme. This means the project has already received pledges of over £1.3million towards the £5million needed over the next seven years.
he eight driving wheels have been ordered from William Cook Cast Products of Sheffield and are expected to be delivered before the end of the year. The company, which specialises in the design and manufacture of steel castings for all industrial purposes, will make the pattern equipment, cast and machine the new 6ft 2in diameter wheels on ‘very advantageous’ (the commercial price for the eight driving wheels is said to be in excess of £100,000) terms. WCCP is the principal sponsor of No. 60163 Tornado, completed in 2008 by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which was the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost 50 years. The company provided all of the steel castings for Tornado and leases its tender to the Trust. It is also a major sponsor of No. 2007 Prince of Wales.
Roller bearings have also been ordered for Prince of Wales. The axle bearings for the new locomotive and tender will be supplied by The Timken Company, also ‘on advantageous terms’ (the Trust estimates that the bearings would normally have cost in excess of £40,000) and will provide engineering support to fit them. Timken was also a sponsor of No. 60163 Tornado. The bearings are expected to be delivered in mid-2015.
Following dedication of the main frame plates, ordering of the wheels and casting of the first driving wheel and ordering of the roller bearings, together with support being provided by William Cook Cast Products and The Timken Company, Mark Allatt, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust chairman, commented, “no-one can now doubt that we really mean business. 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.”
“We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch less than 10 months ago, commented Mark Allatt. “With over £1million pledged we are now at the stage we were with Tornado some five years into the project.”
“We are hopeful that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales towards the end of 2015 and we remain on-track for completion in 2021. However, to maintain this progress we need to continue to raise in excess of £700,000 per year. We are therefore launching the Dedicated Donation scheme.
“This major fund-raising initiative is a unique opportunity for supporters to have their name associated with a component of No. 2007 and the funds raised will help to ensure that Prince of Wales will be completed within the next seven years. Just as with the similar scheme that helped to fund the construction of Tornado, supporters who subscribe to the scheme will have the satisfaction of pointing to the part of the locomotive they paid for when No. 2007 enters service.”
Further major announcements are anticipated as construction of the locomotive gathers pace.