Plans for HRH   Gresley loco restoration         are on track

A model of the P2 Locomotive
A model of the P2 Locomotive

The sleek Sir Nigel Gresley P2 locomotive will be forever synonymous with design and build in Doncaster and now a restoration team from the North east of England is halfway towards realising its dream to rebuild a Gresley class P2 Prince of Wales loco.

The project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive, Gresley class P2 No 2007 Prince of Wales, has announced in the 70th year of HRH The Prince of Wales, that the campaign to raise £5m to build the new locomotive has passed the half way point.

Prince of Wales loco outside Darlington Restoration Works

Prince of Wales loco outside Darlington Restoration Works

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust – also the builders, owners and operators of 100mph famous new steam locomotive No 60163 Tornado – has now spent more than £2m on construction of the new locomotive and received over £2.5m in donations with over £3.1m pledged.

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 (a registered charity) 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.

Sir Nigel Gresley was responsible for creating Doncaster-built steam loco classics such as Mallard and the Flying Scotsman.

Back in 2017 the people behind the project to build new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive No 2007 Prince of Wales , e A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, were delighted when a supporter donated his collection of railwayana to be auctioned by GW Railwayana Auctions to make money for the project.

The Prince of Wales, Patron of Mallard 75 on the footplate of Mallard during his visit to the National Railway in 2013

The Prince of Wales, Patron of Mallard 75 on the footplate of Mallard during his visit to the National Railway in 2013

The man who made the generous donation wished to remain anonymous.

In all, Sir Nigel was responsible for the design and building of 2150 locomotives and tens of thousands of carriages and wagons.

He died at home unexpectedly on April 5 1941 at the age of 65.

The news that the project to build No 2007 Prince of Wales has raised £2.5m of the required £5m comes five years after the announcement that Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive would be named in honour of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, to coincide with his 65th birthday celebrations – HM The Queen kindly approved the use of His Royal Highness’s name for the new locomotive. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s first new steam locomotive, Peppercorn class A1 No 60163 Tornado, was completed in 2008 and officially named by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York station on 19th February 2009.

Gresley class J38 0-6-0 goods locomotive

Gresley class J38 0-6-0 goods locomotive

There have been many steam locomotives named after The Prince of Wales over the years. These included Gresley class A3 No. 2553 (later No. 60054) Prince of Wales, sister locomotive to No. 4472 Flying Scotsman, which was named by HRH The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) on a visit to Doncaster Works, where the original Gresley class P2s were designed and built, on 11th November 1926. This locomotive was scrapped in 1964.

Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high with almost 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 165 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), 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 and all major engine frame stays and brackets.