News that the G5 Locomotive Co has opened its base on an industrial estate in Shildon to the public, as it seeks to raise £36,000 towards the purchase of the last major element required before final construction of the replica 0-4
News that the G5 Locomotive Co has opened its base on an industrial estate in Shildon to the public, as it seeks to raise £36,000 towards the purchase of the last major element required before final construction of the replica 0-4-4T can be completed, highlights the progress being made nationwide on a whole variety of projects aimed at producing replica locomotives of classes that preservation missed.
Although there had been the construction of replica locomotives earlier, both in Britain (with the Rocket and North Star) and abroad, it was the success of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in constructing a replica of a Peppercorn Pacific that proved that it was possible to construct a new main-line steam locomotive in both financial and practical terms.
The Trust was formally established as a charity in 1990 and it took more than 15 years of fundraising and construction before the locomotive was finished and made its first public run from Darlington to King’s Cross on 7 February 2009. Since then, the locomotive has graced many of the country’s preserved lines and has operated numerous main-line specials. It’s now frightening to think that No 60163 Tornado is now almost 10 years old.
With the completion of the ‘A1’, the trust has taken on a new project: the construction of a Gresley-designed ‘P2’ class 2-8-2 to be numbered 2007 and named Prince of Wales. The project was formally launched in September 2013 and construction began in May 2014. The locomotive is designed to be as close to No 2001 Cock o’the North as possible although it may adopt Caprotti rather than the Lentz or Walchaerts valve gear fitted to the original. The estimated cost of the project is £5 million.
Alongside the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s plans for the construction of a P2 to the original design, a second project — the Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust is planning to construct the version of the P2 of the design that was modified in 1938. This version included Gresley motion, Walchaerts valve gear and a streamlined front end. The frames for this version were cut in April 2014, a month earlier than those for the A1 trust’s project.
One of the few major LMS classes not to be represented in preservation is the Fowler-designed ‘Patriot’ class 4-6-0 and, in April 2008, the plan to build a replica — to be numbered 45551 and named The Unknown Warrior (after the last of the original class, which was built in May 1934 and scrapped in 1962) — was unveiled. Work is being undertaken at the Llangollen Railway using a combination of’ largely, new build (such as the frames and boiler) with selected reuse of historic material (such as the rebuilding of an original Fowler tender that survived at Woodham Bros). The frames of the locomotive were cut in March 2009 and, if all goes according to schedule, the completed locomotive, estimated to cost £1.75 million, will be finished later this year with a dedication timed to coincide with the centenary of the end of World War 1 in November 2018.
Another locomotive being constructed on the Llangollen Railways is the 81st member of the ‘Grange’ class of Great Western 4-6-0. Designed by Collett, but based upon the principles established by Churchward, 80 examples of the class were built between 1936 and 1939. All were withdrawn for scrap between 1960 and 1965. The 6880 Society was formed in 1998 with the intention of completing the 81st locomotive of the class; surviving GWR records suggest that, had the railway continued with the class, the next name would have been Betton Grange and so this is the name adopted for the new build. The frames for the new locomotive were cut in 2004 and work has been progressing since then. As with the ‘Patriot’, although the bulk of the replica will be new build, the ‘Grange’ includes some parts salvaged or borrowed from existing GWR locomotives in order to accelerate the construction. It is intended that much of this will eventually be replaced by new build. The boiler, however, is one salvaged from ‘Modified Hall’ No 7927 Willington Hall.
The frames from No 7927 have gone to support another replica project — that recreating a Hawksworth ‘County’ class 4-6-0 at the Great Western Society at Didcot. The project marries the frames from the ‘Modified Hall’ with the boiler salvaged from Stanier-designed ‘8F’ No 48518. Once completed the locomotive will be numbered 1014 and named County of Glamorgan in recognition of the fact that the famous Woodham Bros scrapyard at Barry was located in the county and due to the support of the county council in providing the frames and boiler. The replica will also include a certain number of parts salvaged from scrapped representatives of the class, such as the chimney from No 1006 County of Cornwall.
In 2000 the Bluebell Railway announced its intention of building a replica of an LBSCR-designed LBSCR 4-4-2 No 32424 Beachy Head. When the project was launched the railway was already in the fortunate position of possessing a number of items — such as a suitable boiler — that would make the project feasible. Progress on the project has seen the chassis now virtually complete and much else.
There are a number of other projects at various stages of development. On the Mid-Norfolk Railway there is a scheme that aims to produce a replica of No 61600 Sandringham, an LNER Class B17 4-6-0. This is one of two projects that aim to recreate a member of the ‘B17’ class; also under construction courtesy of the 61662 appeal (under the NPL Preservation Group), a replica of No 61662 Manchester United is progressing. In 2012 the LNWR George the Fifth Locomotive Trust announced plans to construct a replica of the Bowen-Cooke designed 4-4-0 ‘George the Fifth’ class and, following royal approval, the locomotive will be named Prince George and be numbered 2013 (the year of the prince’s birth). It is estimated that the final cost will be of the order of £2 million. The Holden F5 Steam Locomotive Trust is undertaking the construction of a replica Great Eastern Railway 2-4-2T. The Claud Hamilton Locomotive Group aims to construct a second lost GER design, this time a Claud Hamilton-designed 4-4-0. The GCR567 Locomotive Group aims to construct a replica of a GCR 4-4-0 (LNER Class D7) with the intention of producing a classic of the Victorian era for operation on the preserved Great Central. At Buckfastleigh, work is in progress on the construction of a new BR Standard 2-6-2T No 82045 whilst at the Bluebell another BR Standard 2-6-2T No 84030 is also under construction. A further BR Standard, representing the missing ‘Clan’ Class Pacific, No 72010 Hengist is also work in progress.
And it’s not only in steam preservation where there is work being undertaken on the production of replica locomotives. One of the most notable gaps in the list of preserved diesels — the Class 23 ‘Baby Deltics’ — will soon be filled by the conversion of ex-Class 37 No 37372 into a representative of the class. Using the cutdown Class 37 along with ex-Class 20 bogies as well as the sole surviving original T9 engine — salvaged from the last of the class to be scrapped — a ‘new’ Class 23 is gradually emerging at Barrow Hill.