Following years of careful design work, in August 2021 an order was placed with Howco at Irving to manufacture a fabricated cylinder monobloc for the P2 class locomotive Prince of Wales. The ‘bloc took a small break from machining to wow supporters at the recent A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Annual Convention. Revealed by Chairman, Steve Davies MBE, Commercial Director, Graeme Bunker-James and Engineering Director Ben McDonald, supporters of the charity were able to appreciate the sheer scale of this behemoth and see up-close the skilled work that has gone into the monobloc so far.
Steve Davies commented that, “The construction of the P2’s three-cylinder monobloc constitutes a seminal moment in the delivery of the locomotive and also represents a further milestone in the engineering achievements of railway heritage more broadly. This is an impressive piece of work and we look forward to mounting it in the frames”.
To date, the components have been cut and formed, the fabrication has been welded together and stress-relieved and machining is underway. Whilst the cylinders themselves are nearing the end of the manufacturing process and the time for final delivery to Darlington is closer, ready to be united with the frames of No. 2007, fundraising for this impressive engineering feat continues. Costing in the region of £250,000, generating further donations towards this component is vital if we wish to see the P2 steam in 2025.
The remaining work is to shrink fit the cylinder liners and valve seats before final machining, after which the whole block will be hydraulically tested to one and a half times boiler pressure, which requires many unique covers to be manufactured and their associated fasteners fitted. The final operation is the application of a coat of high temperature paint.
We encourage all interested parties to join ‘The Monobloc Club’ for £1000 in up to eight payments of £125, or make a one off contribution of any size here.