New Gresley P2 set for wheeling in the spring

The £5 million new-build Gresley 2-8-2, No. 2007 Prince of Wales, is set to becoming a rolling chassis this spring.

Three new plain coupled axles were expected to arrive at Darlington Locomotive Works from South Africa via Unilathe at Stoke-on-Trent, where they have been finish machined, in early January. They are the replacements for those that were manufactured in early 2017, but had their keyways machined incorrectly by the supplier.

Bill Drumm applies grease to one of the bearings of No. 2007 on December 13. A1SLT

The assembled crank axle is already at Darlington, along with all of the engine’s axleboxes. The final frame stay consisting four spring brackets has also recently been delivered and permanently fitted, paving the way for the wheeling of the frames in the spring.

Roller bearings

In a modification to the original class P2 design, the new locomotive, the seventh member of the class, is to receive roller bearing axleboxes as fitted to Peppercorn A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado.

However, unlike No. 60163, whose wheelsets were complete before they were placed under the frames, the opportunity will be taken to trial-fit the axles and axleboxes into the horn guides to check clearances, before the axles are sent to South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh for the wheels to be pressed on.

The trailing Cartazzi wheelset has already been assembled by SDRE and is at Darlington, along with the pony truck axle, while the tender axles have been manufactured by Firth Rixson of Rotherham and delivered to Unilathe for machining.

The P2’s spring brackets and frame stay combined, as seen on December 21. A1SLT

A representative of Timkin visited Darlington on January 3 to oversee the fitting of the axleboxes to the bearings on the crank axle and the bearings and axleboxes to the Cartazzi axle.

The tender tyres have been delivered from Ringrollers in South Africa and all of the tender castings, including the axleboxes, have now been completed and are expected to be delivered in the next week.

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