The project to build Britain’s most powerful express passenger steam locomotive today announced that its £100,000 appeal to make the cylinder block for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales has reached two-thirds of its target in just three months.
If the project is to remain on schedule for completion by 2021, the first components of the cylinder block have to be ordered in early 2018. At its annual convention on 30th September 2017, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust set itself the challenge of raising £100,000 through The Cylinder Club from 100 supporters each donating £1,000 (plus Gift Aid) to the project in up to eight payments of £125 by standing order.
The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK. They were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley in the 1930s to haul 600 ton trains on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Sadly, the design was never fully developed and they were rebuilt by his successor Edward Thompson into ungainly class A2/2 4-6-2 'Pacifics' in 1943/4, and scrapped by 1961.
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (A1SLT - registered charity and builders of famous new steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado) is building the seventh member of this class at its Darlington Locomotive Works (DLW) over seven years, at an estimated cost of £5m through its P2 Steam Locomotive Company subsidiary. 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 (to get the project to the point of cutting the frames), The Boiler Club (to fund the construction of the boiler) and The Mikado Club (to wheel the locomotive), the Trust decided to establish The Cylinder Club to raise an estimated £100,000 required to make No. 2007’s cylinder block.
Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:
“We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity, over £2.7m has now been donated or pledged. Our team at Darlington Locomotive Works has been focused on creating and assembling the boiler cladding and fitting the roller bearings and cannon boxes to the axles over the past few weeks.
“We have now turned our attention to the cylinder block which is our next major design and manufacturing challenge. If we can raise £100,000 through The Cylinder Club over the next few months we are confident that we will be able to place the order for the cylinder block for No. 2007 Prince of Wales in the first quarter of 2017 and remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive in 2021. Achieving pledges of over two-thirds of our target within the three months means that we are well on the way towards achieving this.
“I would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a member of The Cylinder Club or a monthly ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ covenantor. It’s time to get on board! This year will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales gathers pace.”
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