Next A1 Trust loco will be a P2

Wednesday, April 28 2010

The original P2 Mikado Cock of the North. Picture A1 Trust.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the group who built Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive to be constructed in Britain for almost 50 years, announced this week that a feasibility study is under way into the construction of a second new main line steam locomotive, a Gresley class P2 2-8-2.

The first class P2 No. 2001 Cock O’ the North was completed in 1934 by the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) at its Doncaster works. It was the most powerful express passenger steam locomotive ever built for a British railway. Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LNER who also designed the famous class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman and world speed record holder class A4 4468 Mallard, the class, which was eventually to number six, was constructed for use on the arduous Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. The P2’s 2-8-2 ‘Mikado’ wheel arrangement and 6ft 2in driving wheels enabled them to haul 600 ton trains on their own, replacing two older locomotives.

However, the P2s never lived up to their potential. The coming of the second world war and Sir Nigel’s premature death in 1941 meant that the design was never fully developed and all six were rebuilt as 4-6-2s in 1943/44 by Gresley’s successor Edward Thompson.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented:

It has long been the desire of the Trust to build a second locomotive as it would be a great waste to allow the skills and experience that we have developed in the construction of Tornado to go unused. However, we first had to ensure the successful commercial introduction of Tornado into main line service and then work to secure her future financially.

The P2 is the most frequently requested locomotive the Trust is asked to build next. In addition to its striking looks, incredible power and undoubted glamour it also has around 70% commonality with Tornado, including the boiler, tender and many other detailed fittings. However, the design was never fully developed and the locomotives failed to reach their full potential. The Trust is therefore conducting a feasibility study into the construction of a new Gresley P2, to be numbered 2007 as the next in the series. As a part of this study we are examining the commercial, engineering and certifications challenges that we would face in completing that development work to make a new P2 a success. Initial conversations with the regulatory bodies have been very positive but we have a long way to go yet.




  1. Yes I’d like to support the building of a P2. I’d prefer one with the A4 sloping front.

  2. This announcement is like a dream come true.
    Never has there been such a beautiful, balanced and
    perfect looking express passenger Locomotive.

    Sir Walter Scott”s writings will have to be searched for 2007″s name.
    Good luck and God speed with it”s birth.

  3. Either: Holyrood or Teribus
    – both of which were also Reid Atlantic names – as were several of the P-2’s

  4. I’ve just completed a 4 year build of a 3 1/2″
    gauge (54″long) working steam model of streamlined
    P2 ‘Wolf of Badenoch’,the last one built? Needless
    to say which version I prefer. I have offered the
    model to the A1 Trust for fund raising.

    Steve Glover

    • Wow! Oh Steve, I’m sure all our readers would love to see a photo or two. Would it be possible for you to e-mail some of your best pictures. Please send them (preferably uncompressed) as e-mail attachments to: railfan [at] go2 [dot] pl. (Please remove all the spaces and convert ‘at’ and ‘dot’ into the appropriate characters.

  5. The NAME?
    I suggest: Maid of Norway.

    Better ashpan-draughting, Duke of Gloucester type poppet-valves?
    Bigger drive bearings and rollers on all main axles.
    Do NOT use ACFI feedwater-heater. A “Dabeg” type might be an idea, IF feedwater-heating is wanted ….
    Change the firehole/shovelling arrangements (see comments by HAV Bullied in Master Builders of Steam)

  6. im in where do i sign

  7. Kylchap-Lempor blastpipe? Proper attention to mathematically smoothed interior channeling of steam-passages in steam chest, valves and cylinders? Titanium and carbon fiber where appropriate, both in thermal-critical and non-thermal components? Digitalized feedback from valve operation to “lead” valve mechanical cycle, whether cylindrical or poppet?

  8. My father gave me a book with Wolf of Badenoch in it, but I have to say I prefer the original front end. If I can help in any way please let me know – I would give my eye teeth to see one of these beautiful locos in operation

  9. There is a German steam wizard who had put up improvement schemes for Tornado at the start of the project. It was to fully save the historical looks and dimensions while enhancing inner design thermodynamic qualities Chapelon style. This could be applied to the P-2 project if this is to be #2007.
    Interestees may want to write to me and I can get you in contact. Mail to Delian:

  10. Hi

    Like the guy above me would have preferred a A4 I would have liked to have been the the W1 4-6-4 or known as the hush hush the one like a A4 we called it the ‘unnamed streak’.


  11. Smashing and impressive what your country is able to create after all the years steam has vanishes from the
    everyday life

  12. At last we may have a loco where no other example exsists.Surely the P2 was the pinicale of express steam traction.Having read all the above blogs there is no shortage of ideas on improvements to be made.My own comments concern efforts to minimise hammer blow,swaying couple and the type of fuel.obviously light weight motion coupled with reduced wheel balance weights and the use of caprotti valves will go some way to achieve the first.No doubt this will involve some research.Some years ago i discussed the firing of the A1 and my veiw was and still is oil firing because of the certainty of the quality of fuel(no failures with poor quality coal) together with much simpler turn round fueling and the possiblity of automatic boiler control.My best wishes to David Elliott with who I enjoyed some interesting times during our time BR.

  13. Since the inception of A1 “Tornado” I have long held the view that all other new steam loco’s built should show deference to it by being named accordingly, e.g. Whirlwind, Storm,Maelstrom, Lightning etc.. As a member of the Severn Valley Railway I have already put forward The name Zephyr (A light breeze) as the name for the new build Riddles 2, 6, 2, tank that is now in progress at the S.V.R..

  14. This loco has a place in my heart. In the late 1940s my father, a skilled model maker, started to build a Gauge O model of the Cock ‘0 the North. He got the cladding made along with the cab but something was not right so he flattened it in a huge press. He then built 21C102 “Salisbury” West Country Class which still exists today and runs beautifully. I cannot wait until I can see Cock O’ the North running.

    Nic in Canada

  15. What a joy it would be to see a new P2 Mikado. Once that’s done, can we please have a “hush hush” up for consideration.

  16. FANTASTIC! A P2 to at last. As a lad I often travelled to the north with my parents behined A4s, but my dad always said it was a shame that the Cock of The North was gone and not hauling us on to Aberdeen. I would go for the A4 front end, as I am working on a G1 model, so will see who finishes first, the race is on. As for the name for 2007 how about Blue Bonnet ( from the song Bonnets of Bonnie Dundee.) Will help if I can. All strength to your ellbow and good luck.

  17. Please don’t spoil the dream by putting the A4 front end on. We have plenty of the ‘streaks’ to remember but nothing to match the iconic P2 in original form.

  18. It has to be a A4 front end with the right valve gear.

  19. May I suggest the name Harrier

  20. Please change the paradigm in various ways , esp. CNG firing which would really change it ! Why ever let your boiler get cold in a duty cycle ? “Island Sky” water machines make feedwater ?

    Some coal can be used for “effect” if desired !

  21. Pressure does matter , see Boyle’s Law , 19 to 20 bar pressure ??

    Gresley was brilliant, he did many things right in a British Eng. context, after all he collaborated with Chapelon …. operating in a French context , as it were ???

  22. A loco that I had always wanted to see, preferably with A4 style nose, but will it have a main-line future or be confined to preserved lines?

    The name “Prince of Wales” is reported to have been chosen, surely this should be “Duke of Rothesay”? I wish all success to this project and will support it. The idea of building two, however, should be reconsidered and both groups should work together to ensure the success of the project.

    • Corrosion proof feedwater heater, GPCS, steam-cooled galleries for extra superheat, CNG separate superheater, computer monitoring of functions, rollers everywhere of course.

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