THE creation of a multi-million pound steam engine has taken a step forward with the production of its steel frame.
The 21-tonne frame was built by Tata Steel, in Scunthorpe, and will form the skeleton of the Gresley class P2 locomotive, Prince of Wales, which will be constructed in Darlington.
It comes weeks after Top Gear presenter, James May turned his hand to making the engine’s first component, the smoke box dart, which sits at the very front of the engine and keeps the smoke box door tightly closed.
The engine is being built by the same team that constructed Tornado, at Darlington Locomotive Works, and will be built over a period of seven to ten years.
It will be the seventh in the Gresley class and will be Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive.
More than £300,000 has been raised towards the project, which is expected to cost about £5m.
Mark Allatt, chairman of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the charity behind the project said: “Having already built one steam locomotive from scratch with Tornado, the levels of support and interest that have been generated towards Prince of Wales have been nothing short of sensational.
“With the first part fabricated, courtesy of James May, we are thrilled to be able to have reached the milestone of rolling the substantial pieces of metal that make up the locomotives frames at Tata Steel and being able to declare that No 2007 Prince of Wales now exists.”
Mr Allatt said public interest in the new locomotive has been high, with 300 fundraisers already signed up to donate £1,000 each towards the project, and more than 270 donating £10 per month.
He added: “With backing from the Prince of Wales, high profile celebrities such as James May, significant pledges made by members of the Founders Club members and fantastic initial interest in becoming a monthly covenantor, our national presentation roadshow demonstrates to the wider public just how serious and committed we are in resurrecting this amazing steam locomotive.”
For more information about the project visit p2steam.com