Enthusiasts trying to re-create a railway engine designed in Doncaster in the 1940s say they have reached a milestone.
The project to build a new Gresley class P2 steam locomotive, Prince of Wales ,says it has reached an important stage both in construction and fundraising.
Work has started on assembling the crank axle at a rail engineering works in Buckfastleigh, Devon and an initiative to pay for the wheeling of the engine has reached its initial target of £200,000, pledged almost three months earlier than anticipated.
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.
Six were built.
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, builders and operators of famous new 100mph steam locomotive Tornado, which was also designed in Doncaster, is building the seventh member of this class over seven years at an estimated cost of £5million.
The starting of work on the crank axle is a critical milestone for the project being the culmination of a long and expensive process carried out by the railway engineering consultants, Mott MacDonald at Derby to eliminate a weakness in the original design that resulted in fracturing of the crank axle.
It is anticipated that the assembly of the axle will be completed in early June which will permit final machining prior to fitting of wheels and tyres which will complete the wheelset. It is hoped to have the engine wheeled by before the end of 2017.
Work has already started on the body of the engine.
The team behind the projected visited Doncaster last year as part of a roadshow to tell people in the borough about the plans for the engine. The original versions of the loco were built at the Doncaster Plantworks at Hexthorpe, the same factory which built Flying Scotsman and Mallard, both of which are now at the National Railway Museum in York.