CONSTRUCTION STARTS

At the start of 1994 The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust announced a major sponsorship agreement with Macreadys, the leading steel bar stockholder, part of the steels and engineering division of Glynwed International plc.  Under the agreement, Macreadys would provide The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust with a variety of steels from its wide stock range. The initial delivery, due to take place early in the new year, would comprise bright round bars for use as pins, bushes and shafts on the 50th Class A1 Pacific locomotive.

The Trust also announced a major sponsorship agreement with Sheffield-based William Cook plc, the world’s largest steel foundry group. Under the agreement, William Cook, whose plants specialise in the design and manufacture of steel castings for all industrial purposes, would make the pattern equipment, cast and machine the new steam locomotive’s six 6ft.8in. diameter driving wheels on very advantageous terms. In return, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust was to provide the company with appropriate publicity and access as accords a major sponsor of the 50th Class A1 Pacific locomotive. The Trust estimated that the six driving wheels would normally have cost around £60,000.

The A1 Trust also placed a £20,000 order with Kings Heath Patterns of Birmingham, for the manufacture of the new locomotive’s three cylinder patterns. This order represented a major step towards the completion of the new locomotive as the cylinder patterns would be long lead-time items of great expense on the critical path towards the construction of the locomotive.  The aim was to deliver the three cylinder patterns 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 were to follow in April and July 1995. Negotiations were under way as to which company would cast the cylinders, it was anticipated that casting of the inside cylinder would take place in early 1995, with the outside two following on completion of their patterns. The cylinders for No. 60163 would 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.

Dorothyframecut

 A red letter day was 22nd April when the frame plates were rolled at the Scunthorpe works of British Steel.  It had been hoped to have the frames cut out at Doncaster Works on the same machine that had profiled the frames for the A1s and the A4s but, heartbreakingly, it was sold a matter of days before Tornado’s frames were due to arrive.  Instead the new locomotive’s main frames were profiled at BSD Plate and Profile Products’ 38-acre site in Leeds, West Yorkshire.  The CNC Plasma and Oxy fuel profile cutting system which cut the main frames from steel donated by British Steel was started by Mrs Dorothy Mather, the widow of the locomotive’s 1940s designer, Arthur H Peppercorn. The profiling of the main frames involved cutting 25mm and 30mm plate with consistent high quality finish.

1994_frames

 The frame plates as initially set up – the ladder gives a sense of scale!