A PROJECT to build Britain's most powerful steam locomotive in the North-East has reached a third of its fundraising target after just one year.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which is behind the project to build the No. 2007 Price of Wales locomotive, has already raised more than £1.7m – one third of its £5m target.

Work on the Gresley class P2 steam locomotive is expected to be complete by 2021, and follows on from the charity’s success in building the Tornado loco which launched in 2008.

Over the last 12 months, more than 650 people have pledged to donate £10 a month or more, while more than 360 people have donated £1,000 each through the trust’s Founders Club.

In addition, more than 60 people have pledged £2,000 each through the trust’s Boiler Club, while £100,000 has also been raised from the trust’s existing supporters.

Work has already begun on the multi-million pound project with the engine’s frames erected at Darlington Locomotive Works, and all 20 wheels cast.

Preliminary discussions are also being held with boiler manufacturers, while nameplates have also been delivered and chime whistle ordered.

Mark Allatt, chairman of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, said: “We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch.

“Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity over £1.7m has now been donated or pledged.”

He added: “We are hopeful that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales next winter and we remain on-track for completion of the new locomotive in 2021.

“However, to maintain this rate of progress we need to continue to raise in excess of £700,000 per year, which given the nature of the regular donation scheme becomes more challenging as each year passes.

“I would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a monthly covenantor or joining The Boiler Club.”

For information on how to help visit p2steam.com, email enquiries@p2steam.com or call 01325-460163.