SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS

Frames – The machining of the main frame plates by T M Engineers Ltd of Kingswinford, West Midlands, had now been completed and all holes drilled. The one-piece frame plates were had the set in the trailing end formed and were delivered to the temporary frame erection site at the Birmingham Railway Museum before Christmas. The frame erection stands, designed by the Trust and manufactured by Ian Storey Engineering of Morpeth are already on site and awaiting the delivery of the frame plates. The first four frame stretchers had already been delivered, fully machined, and were awaiting assembly into the frames. Six further stretcher patterns (made of polystyrene at a third of the cost of wooden patterns) had been passed on to Lloyds of Burton, a subsidiary of William Cook plc, for casting, with delivery expected by January 1995. Work continued on the remaining frame stretchers, with completion expected by February 1995. The patterns for the coupled wheel hornblocks and hornstays were being prepared for moulding by Lloyds and castings from them were expected to be completed in early 1995.

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The frames are erected at Tyseley

Cylinders – Pattern equipment, consisting of two main patterns and 31 core boxes, for the three cylinder Pacific’s inside cylinder, had been delivered by Kings Heath Patterns of Birmingham to the Birmingham Railway Museum, where sections of it were on display. Casting of the inside cylinder was due to take place in spring 1995 and Kings Heath Patterns had commenced work on the two outside cylinder patterns.  The 3 ton inside cylinder was cast in mid-June from grade 450/10 spheroidal graphite cast iron. This was followed by the casting of the left and right-hand cylinders in August. Each cylinder casting was produced from around 30 individual hand carved patterns and core boxes, weighing over one ton for each cylinder. The patterns were supplied on advantageous terms by Kings Heath Patterns of Cotteridge, Birmingham, the leading supplier of specialist one-off intricate patterns, and each took around four months to produce. The completed castings would require extensive machining before they could be fitted to the locomotive’s frames and by this time around £200,000 had been spent on the cylinders, pistons, valves and associated items by the Trust.

Wheels – The modular pattern for the six 6’8″ driving wheels of the new Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific had now been completed by Master Patterns, a subsidiary of William Cook plc of Sheffield, and a start made on the front bogie and rear cartazzi wheel patterns. The casting of the six driving wheels would take place at Lloyds of Burton.

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One of the driving wheel patterns

Bogie – The bogie side frame plates were delivered from BSD, a British Steel subsidiary, in late November 1994, along with all remaining items of plate for the frames, such as buffer beam and rear rubbing plates. Orders were placed for the patterns for the bottom centre and frame stays, for the bogie, with delivery expected in January, with casting and machining to follow during spring 1995.

Nameplates – January 1995 saw the RAF hand over the nameplates for Tornado, the name selected in 1991 to honour the crews who flew in the first Gulf War.  Group Captain ‘Raz’ Ball, Station Commander, RAF Cottesmore handed over to the Trust Tornado’s two nameplates – one with the crest of RAF Cottesmore and the other with the crest of the Tri-national Tornado Training Establishment based there – both painted by groundcrews at the RAF station. The ceremony, hosted at Birmingham Railway Museum by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity building the new locomotive, was attended by representatives of many of the companies supporting the Project, including British Steel, BSD Steel Service Centres, Macreadys, William Cook plc and Black Sheep Breweries. Richard Tesh, member of the management board of BSD Steel Service Centres, the British Steel subsidiary responsible for the profiling of the 50ft long frames, cracked a specially brewed bottle of Black Sheep Real Ale over the main frames.

1995-nameplates

A move to Darlington – Following the breakdown of the arrangement with Doncaster Council an historic agreement was brokered with Darlington Borough Council, the owners of the 1853 former Stockton and Darlington Railway Carriage Works at Hopetown.  The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust would be able to set up its permanent base in what is to become the new Darlington Steam Locomotive Works early in 1996. The Council was able to provide the Trust with exclusive use of the soon to be converted Works on a long term agreement and help with seeking grant funding.  The announcement was followed by a brief ceremony in front of Locomotion No 1, the world’s first public railway locomotive, now preserved in Darlington Railway Museum. At this ceremony, Councillor John Williams, Major of Darlington and Leader of Darlington Borough Council, presented the key to the new locomotive works to Mrs Dorothy Mather, widow of Arthur H Peppercorn, the locomotive’s original designer.