An ambitious project to build the last steam locomotive created by railway pioneer Sir Nigel Gresley in Doncaster has moved a step closer.
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which has already built two new steam locos, has now announced plans to create a third locomotive designed by the man whose name has become synonymous with railway engineering.
The Trust, which in recent years has built the 100mph Tornado and Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive Prince of Wales, has formed a new subsidiary, The V4 Steam Locomotive Company Limited, to carry out the building of its third new steam locomotive – the yet-to-be-named new Gresley class V4 No. 3403.
It has also confirmed that it has acquired more than 500 original class V4 drawings from Malcolm Barlow, a Doncaster scrap dealer who launched the now defunct Gresley V4 Society in 1994 to build a new example of the class.
The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) class V4 was a class of 2-6-2 steam locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley - who also designed the world-famous Flying Scotsman and world speed record holder Mallard, both of which were built in Doncaster.
It was Gresley’s last design for the LNER before he died in 1941.
Two locomotives were built at the LNER’s Doncaster Works in 1941 - Bantam Cock and Bantam Hen.
The class was tried on the Great Eastern section of the LNER, and was well received, with more power than existing locos at the time.
It was anticipated that many more would be produced, but after the sudden death of Gresley in April 1941 and his succession by Edward Thompson, no more were built.
The two locomotives were sent to Scotland for use on the West Highland Line and both were scrapped in 1957 when their boilers became due for renewal.
Mark Allatt, trustee of the The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, said: “We are now in the pre-launch phase of the project to build our third new main line steam locomotive, with the formation of The V4 Steam Locomotive Company to actually build No. 3403, the opening of both the company and charitable bank accounts and the detailed review of over 500 acquired drawings.
“We anticipate the project costing around £3m and taking around five years subject to the pace of fundraising.
”Our new Gresley class V4 is an ideal locomotive for regional main line tours, repeat main line itineraries and the longer, main line connected heritage railways.”