James May makes another part for new P2

TV presenter James May has made a second part for the new Gresley P2 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

The star of Top Gear and The Grand Tour had already applied his engineering prowess in crafting the first component for No. 2007 when he previously visited Darlington Locomotive Works in February 2013.

James May being filmed by BBC making the slacking cock valve at Darlington Locomotive Works on January 23. A1SLT

Then he manufactured the smokebox door dart; the component at the front of the locomotive that keeps the smokebox door closed (resembling the hands on a clock).

On January 23, he returned to make the more complex slacking cock flange for what will be the most powerful steam locomotive to operate in the UK. This component connects the high-pressure hose (slacking pipe) to the boiler and controls the volume of water used to wash away coal dust on the footplate.

James said: “Not many man-made machines stir the soul, but a full-blown steam locomotive is right up there, and we invented it. However, over the decades we’ve lost so much of the talent, skill and knowledge needed to build them.

“That’s why it’s such a thrill to work alongside the team building No. 2007 Prince of Wales, determined to not only resurrect this monster from the past, but to improve it using modern wizardry.

Read more in Issue 225 of Heritage Railway – out now!

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