THE PRE-CONSTRUCTION PHASE
Drawings – before the construction of No. 60163 could begin, copies of all the relevant design drawings had to be obtained and any necessary updating/redesigning undertaken. By 1992 the Trust had examined almost 400 drawings located in the archives of the National Railway Museum (NRM) and produced a computerised catalogue of a further 300 drawings cross referenced from those already examined. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust approached the NRM with a proposal to digitally scan the original drawings to provide a compact and convenient means of storage and reproduction. It would also allow the Trust to convert the scanned drawings into vector form for modification using a Computer Aided Design (CAD) system. The effort put in by the Research and Development team, all of which had been donated free to the project, was evaluated at £50,000 worth of professional time during 1992.
Research – the Trust continued to research into the background of the A1 design and their operations in British Railways’ service. Invaluable information had been provided by many contemporary railwaymen, including J F Harrison, former assistant A H Peppercorn (the designer of the A1s) during their design and Peter Townend, Shedmaster at King’s Cross locomotive sheds during the late 1950s and author of books including East Coast Pacifics at Work and Top Shed. Peter Townend also accepted the position of Honorary Vice-President of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.
Certification – this matter also reared its head in 1992 and vital initial meetings were held with Sam Foster and Brian Penney of the BR Private Owner Locomotive Engineers. Their reaction to the project was very positive and as well as making many useful suggestions, they adopted what David Elliott described as a “refreshingly flexible approach” to our proposals to make design changes. It was decided that, despite higher initial costs, roller-bearings would be fitted and a number of design changes made. These included: All-welded boiler with a steel firebox; One-piece frames; Changes to the front bogie to improve the ride quality; Improvements to the steam circuit; Primary air (not steam) brakes and vacuum brakes; Altering the balance between coal and water in the tender in favour of the latter; Overall weight reduction.
Locomotive construction – The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust planned to begin the construction of No. 60163 in 18 months to two years time, once the redrawing was sufficiently advanced. The original planned completion date for the 50th class A1 was Summer 1998 – the 50th anniversary of the roll-out of the first A1. The construction of the tender had already begun with the acquisition of Flying Scotsman’s spare tender (number 5332). The severely corroded tender tank was removed and the tender frames inspected. These were generally in good condition and could form a good basis for a tender for No. 60163. The next stage in the construction of the tender was grit blasting of the frames back to the bare metal and the production of roller bearing axleboxes and hornguides.