Prince of Wales to sing the Blues

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BRITAIN’S most powerful steam locomotive to be turned out in British Railways’ Express Passenger Blue livery

THE A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the charity which is building Britain’s newest and most powerful express passenger steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales, is delighted to announce preparations are underway for the giant locomotive’s unveiling in stunning British Railways Express Passenger Blue livery when it is completed in 2021.

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 £5million.

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 giant locomotive, which is under construction in Darlington Locomotive Works, now has its wheels out for painting as they will be difficult to get to once they are back under the engine.

The trust’s regular contractor Ian Matthews, who was responsible for painting Tornado in her Works Grey, LNER Apple Green, BR Brunswick Green, BR Express Passenger Blue and then back into Apple Green, is this time being assisted by local apprentice Joanna Kerr.

The original class P2s were painted in LNER Apple Green livery and, when rebuilt with class A4-style front-ends, into Plain Black during the Second World War.

All six locomotives were rebuilt in 1943/44 into Thompson class A2/2 ‘Pacifics’, carrying Plain Black, LNER Apple Green and BR Brunswick Green liveries, until they were scrapped in 1959-61.

Mark Allatt, trustee and P2 project director of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented: “We had tried to keep secret our plans to paint No. 2007 Prince of Wales into British Railways Express Passenger Blue, but we were rumbled when we started to get questions during our open days at Darlington Locomotive Works as to why the engine’s wheels were being painted blue. “We realise the livery isn’t authentic for the class P2s but as it looked so good on No. 60163 Tornado, we thought we would do something different.

“After all, No. 2007 Prince of Wales is a brand-new steam locomotive and isn’t expected to be completed until the end of 2021.”

He added: “Ian Matthews and Jo Kerr are working hard to complete the painting of the wheels by Monday, April 1, when they will be rolled back under the engine for construction to continue.

“With the success of our fundraising 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.”

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high with more than 925 people having 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, funds have been raised through:

The Founders Club (more than 360 people have donated £1,000 each – target 100 people, now closed)

The Cylinder Club (the target of 100 people to each pledge £1,000 achieved – now closed)

The Boiler Club (more than 175 people have pledged £2,000 each – target of 300 people)

The Mikado Club (the target of 200 people to each pledge £1,000 reached – now closed)

The Motion Club (more than 125 people have pledged £1,000 each – target of 175 people)

Dedicated Donations (more than £318,000 from current supporters sponsoring a variety of components)

Sponsorship of the locomotive’s distinctive front-end by The Gresley Society Trust.

This means the project has already raised £2.5million (including Gift Aid) and received pledges of £3.1m of the required £5m.

Progress building Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive continues at Darlington Locomotive Works and includes:

  • Frame plates for engine and tender rolled and profiled; engine’s frames erected at Darlington Locomotive Works; all major engine frame stays, brackets, horn blocks, axleboxes and buffers cast (44 in total); more than 1,000 fitted and driven bolts ordered and delivered, about 800 now fitted to the frames
  • All 20 wheels for engine and tender cast and proof machined; engine wheelset assembly complete, balance weights manufactured and fitted, tender axles delivered
  • Preliminary discussions held with boiler manufacturers and forged foundation ring corners manufactured and machined; start made on boiler fittings with castings for combined injector steam and delivery valves; order placed with DB Dampflokwerk Meiningen to update the design to incorporate modifications and improvements fitted to Tornado’s boiler over the last 10 years
  • Study into ride and suspension completed using rail industry standard Vampire® software; Finite Element Analysis completed on re-designed crank axle to ensure it complies with modern standards; assessment and notified body appointed to oversee certification – first site visit made
  • Cab erected and cab side window frames fitted; engine footplating and splasher kits delivered and permanently fitted to frames
  • Smokebox door pressed, details made and door completed; door frame manufactured; smokebox delivered and erected; chimney cast and fitted
  • Crosshead castings delivered; connecting and coupling rods ordered and manufacture started
  • Boiler cladding assembly jig built, cladding crinolines and hoops rolled and fitted to jig, cladding sheets made and trial fitted to the engine’s frame
  • Tender frame construction under way, axleboxes and other tender castings delivered from William Cook Cast Products; tender tank procurement process underway
  • Nameplates and chime whistle delivered
  • More than £2m spent, more than £2.5m donated and more than £3.1m pledged.

During 2019, the Darlington based team aims to:

* Complete the pony truck

* Select the manufacturer and place the order for the boiler

* Make substantial progress on the tender tank and frames

* Finish the detailed design of the electrical system

* Complete the overhaul of and fit two steam driven air pumps

* Manufacture and take delivery of most of the coupling and connecting rods

* Complete the cylinder block design with construction nearing completion

* Start manufacture of the valve gear.

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