PLANS to assemble another multi-million pound steam engine in Darlington could become a reality by 2021, according to the project’s leaders.

The team that built Tornado, Britain’s first new steam engine in a generation, at Darlington Locomotive Works, announced plans for its next project – a Gresley class P2 locomotive called Prince of Wales – last year.

Since then, almost £300,000 of initial fundraising has been carried out with the overall estimated cost of the project standing at £5m.

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Presentations giving details of the project have been held in York and London in recent weeks, and more than 50 people attended the latest event at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, on Saturday (April 5).

Rather than being a replica of the P2 engines, Prince of Wales will be the seventh member of the class, the audience was told.

Mark Allatt, chairman of the P2 Steam Locomotive Company, it took four years to raise the first £100,000 of funding for Tornado.

The company wanted fundraising for Prince of Wales to have a ‘racing start’ and that first £100,000 for this project was raised in just four weeks.

Other fundraising streams were outlined at Saturday’s meeting, including:

• The company is looking to recruit 2,000 fundraisers to give £10 a month to raise a £2m chunk of the budget. More than 150 people have signed up so far;

• A ‘sponsor a component’ scheme will be launched this autumn. It is hoped this will raise £1.1m.

The first component for Prince of Wales was manufactured at the locomotive works, in Hopetown Lane, in February.

Top Gear star James May turned his hand to making the engine’s smoke box dart – the piece at the very front of the engine, which keeps the smoke box door tightly closed.

Mr Allatt set out a timeline for the rest of the year’s planned progress at Saturday’s meeting.

The engine’s steel frames have been ordered and will be cut and delivered between now and June, which would allow construction to begin in July, with the wheels expected to follow by the end of the year.

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