Boilers – an heir and a spare!

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust places million-pound order for two new boilers for steam locomotives Prince of Wales and Tornado.

We are pleased to announce that we have placed a £1m order with Dampflokwerk Meiningen (Steam Locomotive Works Meiningen) for two new Diagram 118a boilers for our two new steam locomotives. The order is to supply the boiler for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales and a ‘spare’ boiler for use on both No. 2007 and No. 60163 Tornado, which has just completed its first decade of operations since completion in 2008. This order will enable the Trust to rotate the three identical boilers on its two locomotives, with two boilers operational and one ‘spare’ undergoing overhaul at any one time. DB Meiningen delivered Tornado’s original boiler in July 2006.

This strategic move by the Trust will reduce the time out of traffic for each locomotive by around four months, increase the potential revenue earned by both locomotive during each operational cycle and reduce the cost of their overhauls. By ordering both boilers at once and leveraging the purchasing power of the supporters of both locomotives, the Trust has saved a six-figure sum that would have otherwise been required if the two boilers had been procured separately. The first new boiler, to be fitted to Tornado during her next overhaul, will be delivered in September 2020 with the second, to be fitted to Prince of Wales, scheduled to be delivered in July 2021.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust ran a competitive tender process for the procurement of the two new boilers, contacting eight companies from across the UK, Europe and the USA; some of the potential suppliers excluded themselves due to the size and scale of the project to provide just one diagram 118a boiler. Others were not taken forward by the Trust based upon considerations which included their capability, capacity, track record, cost and ability to deliver on schedule. The shortlisted companies were then invited to cost the project before submitting best-and-final-offers.

Tornado’s first boiler under construction at Meiningen – A1SLT

The Trust is using a variety of funding methods to support the procurement of the two new boilers in line with its policy of hypothecating the funding of each locomotive in place of the Bearer Bond which was used to fund the 2006 purchase of Tornado’s original boiler from DB Meiningen. The funding of the boiler for Prince of Wales and its contribution to the ‘spare’ boiler is coming from The Boiler Club which was launched in October 2016 to raise £600,000 plus Gift Aid from 300 supporters each donating £2,000 in up to 40 payments – so far over 175 supporters have subscribed to The Boiler Club pledging around £440,000 including Gift Aid. The funding of Tornado’s contribution to the ‘spare’ boiler will come from extending its ‘I  60163’ fundraising campaign – 100 supporters donating £601.63 in up to six payments – beyond the 100-supporter target.  Additional funding for the ‘spare’ boiler will also come from recent legacies to the Trust.

Graeme Bunker-James, Commercial Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The decision to procure two new boilers, one for the ‘heir’, Prince of Wales, and the second a ‘spare’ for both No. 2007 and Tornado, is a major strategic move by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and fulfils a long-held desire to have three boilers for our two locomotives in order to reduce their time out of traffic during overhauls and act as an insurance policy. This decision secures the future of both of our locomotives on the main line not just for now, but for future generations. Having a ‘spare’ boiler will greatly assist with the delivery of regular itinerary tours and ensure that we are a reliable provider of locomotives to our customers as well as our direct passengers. We know that interest in No. 60163 Tornado dips significantly when the locomotive is not operational on the main line and heritage railways.

“The ordering of the boiler for No. 2007 Prince of Wales is the next major milestone in the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive and its delivery in July 2021 keeps the project on-track for completion in the next three years.  The Trust is only able to make such a bold move due to the loyalty and generosity of its supporters of both locomotives and it is the intention to leave No. 2007 debt free upon completion. We urge those not yet on-board to join us as covenantors to both locomotives, a member of The Boiler Club for Prince of Wales and a subscriber to the ‘I  60163’ campaign for Tornado.”

Marcel Scholz, Works Manager, Dampflokwerk Meiningen, commented, “The DB Meiningen Steam Locomotive Works feels very honoured to have been awarded the design and construction order of two new boilers for A1 and P2 steam locomotive classes by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for the second time. The formidable projects of this organisation to build new steam locomotives are outstanding and are in Europe, if not in the rest of the world, unique with regards to their success. The professional skills of the members of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust are of a very high order and it is always a pleasure to work with them.”

David Elliott, Thomas Beyer, Vertriebsmanager (Sales Manager) and Graeme Bunker-James – A1SLT