A Sheffield firm is set to steam into business by delivering its final set of parts for an ambitious project to build a brand new steam locomotive.
The team behind the scheme to rebuild the Prince Of Wales has ordered the final set of steel castings from city firm, the William Cook Group - in a project which has already cost £1 million to date.
The fourth and final batch of 61 steel castings for the P2 loco forms a total of 127 steel castings ordered for the class P2, of which 66 have already been cast and machined.
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, builders of famous new steam locomotive 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.
William Cook Group has been principal sponsor to The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust through its chairman Sir Andrew Cook CBE since 1994, providing all the steel castings for No. 60163 Tornado and No. 2007 Prince of Wales – including all the wheels.
WCG also owns Tornado’s tender which is leased to the Trust under a fifteen-year loan agreement which comes to an end in 2021 when it will be bought outright by the Trust.
Public interest in seeing a new Gresley class P2 become a reality sooner rather than later is high and over 800 people have 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.
Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented: “This fourth and final order for steel castings for No. 2007 Prince of Wales marks a significant milestone in the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive.
"This order of 61 steel castings comprises not only the three piston crossheads but also the remaining castings for the tender.
“We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch only three years ago. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity, well over £1m has been spent on construction, over £1.3m donated and over £2.3m pledged.”
Mark concluded: “We are confident that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales in 2017 having reached 80% of our fundraising target and we remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive in 2021.
"However, to maintain this rate of progress we need to raise more than £700,000 per year, which given the nature of the regular donation scheme becomes more challenging as each year passes. We would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines."