Cylinder patterns ordered


The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity which is building the new ex-LNER Class A1 Pacific No. 60163, the first mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain since 1960, today announced that it had placed
a £20,000 order with Kings Heath Patterns of Birmingham, for the  manufacture of the new locomotive’s three cylinder patterns. This  order represents a major step towards the completion of the new locomotive as cylinder patterns are long lead-time items of great expense and  are on the critical path towards the construction of the locomotive.

The three cylinder patterns will be delivered over the next year, with the inside cylinder pattern being available for inspection at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s convention in Doncaster in September and the core boxes following by Christmas. The remaining two outside cylinder patterns will follow in April and July 1995.

Although negotiations are currently taking place as to which company will cast the cylinders, it is anticipated that casting of the inside cylinder will take place in early 1995, with the outside two following on completion of their patterns. The cylinders for No. 60163 will be cast from a higher quality of iron than the cylinders of the original 49
A1s as part of the drive by the Trust to build the new locomotive to the highest possible quality.

David Elliott, Technical Director, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Last month we announced that work had begun on the manufacture of the new locomotive’s frames. Today, we are delighted to be able to announce the start of work on the locomotive’s cylinders. These are the very heart of the locomotive and the patterns for them are
extremely complex and require great skill to put together. We are pleased that Kings Heath Patterns were able to come up with such a competitive price and were able to deliver to our tight timescale.

After three years of preparation assembling a management team, acquiring and scanning 1,100 drawings, putting in place a fund raising mechanism and so on a brand new Peppercorn class A1 Pacific is now starting to take shape and we appeal to more sponsors and covenantors to come forward so that we can meet our target completion date of the Summer of 1998.”

Mike Lemon, Managing Director, Kings Heath Patterns, added, “Kings Heath Patterns is delighted to be associated with such a splendid project as the one to build a brand new mainline steam locomotive in the 1990s. The finished locomotive will be a tribute to the dedication and vision of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and we look forward to working with the Trust on this and other aspects of the locomotive’s construction.”


The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust also announced today that it was opening a register for those interested in helping to build a Gresley P2 class locomotive once the new A1 is completed.

The P2s were the most powerful passenger locomotives to run on Britain’s railways. They were designed by the legendary Sir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER)
from 1923 until his death in 1941, who was also the designer of Flying Scotsman, arguably the world’s most famous locomotive and the first to reach 100 mph and Mallard, the holder of the world speed record for steam traction of 126 mph since 1938.

The P2s were of a 2-8-2, or Mikado, wheel arrangement, in itself unique for a mainline express passenger locomotive in the UK. The original six P2s were built in Doncaster between 1934 and 1936 for use on the mainline between Edinburgh and Aberdeen where their enormous power and adhesion was used to haul the heaviest trains over this line of twisting curves and severe gradients. The original locomotives, Nos. 2001-6, were given evocative names associated with the route over  which they worked, Cock o’ the North, Earl Marischal, Lord President, Mons Meg, Thane of Fife and Wolf of Badenoch.

Although undoubtedly a success in the role they were designed for, they fell victim to internal LNER politics and were rebuilt to become class A2/2 Pacifics in 1943/4 by Gresley’s successor, Edward Thompson.  In their final form they were not particularly successful and were  scrapped between 1959 and 1961.

David Champion, Chairman, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “It has always been the Trust’s intention that A1 60163 would be the first in a series of lost but not forgotten ex-LNER steam locomotives to be built in Doncaster. Now that work is well underway on constructing the first of these, the 50th class A1, we have decided to make our next objective clear and set up a register of those interested in and who might have information on the P2s.

There are three main reasons for making this announcement now. First, as with No. 60163, the new P2 will require several years of careful research before we can start to cut metal – by starting this work now with the research team who have almost completed their work on the A1, we can ensure that we keep our volunteer teams together, build upon skills already learnt and be ready to start construction of the P2 immediately following the completion of the A1.

Second, there are many common parts between A1s and P2s, including the boiler, and so it is only sensible to make use of this economy of scale. Finally, it is only by successfully completing No. 60163 that we can go on to build more ex-LNER steam locomotives. I would urge all of those interested in building a new P2, and others, to come forward and covenant towards the completion of the new A1.