Presenter: John Rawlinson
John Rawlinson from the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust entertained an audience of 59 at our April meeting, with the story of the project to build a ‘new’ Gresley P2 ‘Mikado’. John began by presenting an overview of the Class P2 designed by Gresley to haul heavy express trains in Scotland. A small class of only 6 locomotives they all differed from each other and five had A4 style streamlined front ends from new. They were rebuilt as rather ungainly ‘Pacifics’ in 1943/4 and all were scrapped by the 1960s.
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust have successfully built and operated Tornado on the mainline for more than a decade, gaining much valuable experience which has been incorporated into the design and build of the new P2, ‘Prince of Wales.’ This new build will be aesthetically like class pioneer 2001 Cock O’ The North, whilst sharing as much of the design as possible with Tornado, most notably the same boiler.
John took us through the considerable efforts needed to raise the £5 million to build the P2, which has been learnt from the successes of the fundraising for Tornado. Supporters can either contribute monthly or subscribe to one of the ‘clubs’ set up to pay for the more expensive components such as the boiler and motion.
Much progress has been made since the frames were cut in 2014 and despite the setbacks because of Covid, the first new P2 should be ready to roll in the next few years.