Support Britain’s most powerful loco this Valentine’s Day

Looking for something different for your train-loving Valentine? Hoping things will get hot and steamy this Valentine’s Day?

How about supporting construction of the boiler of Britain’s newest and most powerful express passenger steam locomotive – Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales. This huge boiler will generate 40,000lb (17½ tons) of steam per hour and at peak output requires 30 megawatts of coal (the equivalent of 15,000 boiling electric kettles).

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 £5m. 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.

Following the success of The Founders Club, which was launched in September 2013 and designed to get to the P2 Project to the point of cutting No.2007’s frames the following summer, in October 2014 the Trust established The Boiler Club to fund the construction of Prince of Wales’s boiler.

The Trust set an initial target for The Founders Club of at least £100,000 from 100 ‘Founders’ but due to the overwhelming generosity of its supporters actually raised £450,000 (including gift aid) from over 360 donors. It is the Trust’s desire to leave No. 2007 Prince of Wales debt free upon completion and therefore its aim is to raise at least £600,000 for The Boiler Club from 300 supporters each donating £2,000 to the project (in up to 40 payments of £50 by standing order).

So far, The Boiler Club has received pledges of over £425,000 (including Gift Aid) from 171 supporters. In return for this commitment, members of The Boiler Club receive these special benefits:

  • Opportunity to buy ticket (seat already reserved) on No. 2007’s first main line train
  • Reasonable access to No. 2007 at all times
  • Opportunity to buy exclusive Boiler Club badge
  • Opportunity to join one of the teams building No. 2007
  • First choice of other components to sponsor
  • Limited edition version (signed/numbered) of the first official painting of No. 2007 Prince of Wales with No. 60163 Tornado – ‘Dream Team’ by renowned railway artist Chris Ludlow
  • Special Boiler Club day with Tornado.

Mark Allatt, Trustee and P2 Project Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers – especially lovers of steam. So why not treat your train-loving lover to membership of The Boiler Club – and get hot and steamy over something hot and steamy.

The boiler is the beating heart of a steam locomotive and to keep the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales on schedule for completion in 2021 we need to place the order for the boiler in 2019 for delivery in 2020. It is our desire if possible, to complete No. 2007 debt-free and raise £600,000 to fund Prince of Wales’s boiler is critical to this.”

Mark Allatt concluded:

“With the success of The Boiler Club 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.”

No. 2007’s boiler in detail:

  • Use of diagram 118A Tornado boiler with detailed modifications to improve overhaul life
  • Interchangeable with Tornado boiler
  • Tornado boiler is 17in shorter than P2 boiler – No. 2007’s smoke box will be extended within the cladding
  • 250psi of No. 60163’s boiler will be retained to improve economy and increase maximum power.

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high with over 900 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 (over 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 each achieved – now closed), The Boiler Club (over 170 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 (over 110 people have pledged £1,000 each – target of 175 people), Dedicated Donations (over £315,000 from existing supporters sponsoring a variety of components) and the sponsorship of the locomotive’s distinctive front-end by The Gresley Society Trust. This means that the project has already raised – including Gift Aid – £2.5m 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); over 1,000 fitted and driven bolts ordered and delivered, approximately 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
  • Over £2m spent, £2.5m donated and over £3.1m pledged.

Over the next 12 months, 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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