Specification and support coach


Locomotive specification finalised and support coach acquired.  Appeal for specialist volunteers!

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity which is building the new ex-LNER Class A1 Pacific No. 60163, today confirmed that it is on-track to lay the frames of the new steam locomotive in Doncaster in March 1994, the first new mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain since 1960.

David Champion, Project Manager, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Thanks to the tremendous help that we have received from Doncaster Council since we signed our partnership agreement with them in July of this year and the boost that this gave to our project teams, we have continued to attract large numbers of new covenantors to the project.”

“The Trust is therefore delighted to be able to announce that the frames of No. 60163 will be laid in Doncaster in March next year which puts us firmly on-track for completing the locomotive on schedule for the 50th anniversary of the completion of the first of the class in 1998.”

26 of the 49 original Class A1 Pacific locomotives were built in Doncaster,  with the remaining 23 built in Darlington. They were designed by Arthur H Peppercorn, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London and North Eastern
Railway (LNER) but were not built until 1948/9, after the nationalisation of the railways. The A1s were the last of the East Coast Mainline’s series of thoroughbred express passenger steam locomotives  a tradition which included the
Stirling Singles, the Ivatt Atlantics and the Gresley Pacifics. Examples of all of these Doncaster built locomotives have been saved for preservation, except the Peppercorn A1s which were scrapped, following dieselisation of the railways, in the 1960s with the last, No. 60145 Saint Mungo going in 1966.

David Champion continued, “Doncaster is a very special place for railway enthusiasts it is where many great steam locomotives, including Flying Scotsman and Mallard, were built and maintained. We are pleased that 1994 will mark the start of construction of the next Peppercorn A1 in the great railway town of Doncaster.

No. 60163 will not be a replica, but the 50th Class A1 locomotive, and it and the locomotives that follow from Doncaster over the coming years will help to generate new jobs and interest in this area. It is these new steam locomotives that will safeguard the future of nostalgic steam railtours and provide the motivepower for the nation’s preserved steam railways as existing preserved steam locomotives become too delicate to be used on a regular basis.”

The Locomotive’s Specification

Following thorough research into the background to the design of the Peppercorn Class A1, the Trust is also able to confirm the general specification to which the locomotive will be built:

  • All decisions on specification must be subject to the twin criteria of quality and authenticity
  • The locomotive will be built to the highest quality, as exemplified in BS 5750
  • The design will follow the appropriate LNER or BR drawings
  • Dimensions shall be in imperial measurements with screw threads of the original pattern, as far as possible
  • Limits and fits shall normally follow those on original drawings, if given, or otherwise those given in the LMSR limits and fits book, unless a copy of the BR limits and fits for ex-LNER locomotives is found
  • The design shall be compatible with the requirements of an experienced insurance company and of mainline use in Great Britain
  • Materials shall normally be the original specification, where known and available, or the modern equivalent
  • Materials may be changed to save weight or increase strength where these are thought necessary or highly desirable
  • Authenticity means that all deviations from the original specification must be justified, whether historically or for reasons of quality, current regulations or cost, on the grounds of the likely work the locomotive will be doing during its working life.

David Elliott, Head of Engineering, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The establishment of the above specification for the construction of the locomotive means that we are now able to progress with the small number of
changes that are necessary. In particular, we are currently looking at three areas: the frames, with an in-depth study into the cause of the well documented cracking from which the class suffered; the suspension, with an examination of the rough riding problems; and the boiler, where we have already decided that we will be building an all welded steel boiler and firebox.”

The Support Coach

The Trust is also able announce the purchase of a support coach for use with the locomotive on its completion. The coach is BR Mark One BSK number 35457, formally part of the Heaton Football Set, which was build at Wolverton in 1963. Over the winter the coach will be fitted with air brakes, messing facilities and an electrical system to be operated via a shore line for use when stationary, and it will be given a bogie and brake exam.

Ian Storey, owner of Black Five No. 44767 George Stephenson has donated 50% of the purchase price of the coach in return for use of the it until No. 60163 is completed. The purchase was made now because of fears that suitable, reasonably priced coaches would not be available at a later date.

Calls for help

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is appealing for help from suitably experienced volunteers to carry out the following roles:

  • Personnel Manager: Principle tasks: to keep records of all volunteers and keep them regularly informed of developments; to keep up-to-date a volunteer and paid employee skills database to aid the engineering management team in matching tasks to be done with the relevant individuals; and to manage the recruitment of paid staff as and when they are needed.
  • Project Planner:  Principle tasks: to create and maintain on an on-going basis the project plan using appropriate computer software  preferably with access to own computer hardware/software although this can be supplied if necessary.
  • Marketing Team Members: People with expertise in direct marketing, advertising (media buying, copy writing and design), public relations and sponsorship needed to help with project marketing activities. Activities planned for 1994 include on-going public relations campaign, advertising to railway and heritage press and direct mail to known railway enthusiasts.

In addition the Trust is also interested in hearing from anyone who has access to A0 electrostatic plotting equipment and anyone who may have ex-A1 artifacts and is prepared either to donate them or lend them as patterns to assist

David Champion concluded, “The Trust has put together the necessary expertise for building steam locomotives and has a dedicated and professional team we are now seeking more covenantors and sponsor to speed construction.”