British group aims to build third steam locomotive

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A British group has formed a subsidiary to build a new version of the V4 steam locomotive. One of the original V4s is shown here.
A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

DARLINGTON, England — The Brits are at it again.

The British group behind the Tornado — the first main line steam locomotive built in the United Kingdom since the end of steam — announced this week that they were officially forming a subsidiary to build its third brand new steam locomotive: a Gresley class V4 2-6-2 locomotive.

In 2008, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust completed locomotive No. 60163, a recreation of the long-lost London and North Eastern Railway Peppercorn Class A1 4-6-2. Since it hit the rails, the locomotive has lead excursions across the United Kingdom and even became the first steam locomotive to reach 100 miles per hour on British rails. In 2010, the group began work on its second steam locomotive, a P2 class 2-8-2 No. 2007 called the Prince of Wales, at its Darlington Locomotive Works.

In 2015, the group announced an even more ambitious goal: to construct three more extinct LNER steam locomotives once the Prince of Wales is complete, including a Gresley class V4 2-6-2, a Gresley class V3 2-6-2T and a Gresley class K3 2-6-0. All three locomotives were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, the famous LNER chief mechanical engineer who designed the Flying Scotsman.

Last year, the group began to scan original drawings for the V4 2-6-2 at the National Railway Museum in York. In January it purchased a set of locomotive tires that had been constructed in the 1990s for a group that previously tried to build a new V4. Darlington Locomotive Works officials say the formation of the subsidiary is the first major step to starting construction as early as 2021. The locomotive is expected to cost 3 million pounds (or $3.8 million) and take up to five years.

The V4s were built for freight and passenger and was Gresley’s last design for the LNER before he died in 1941.

“We want to be ready to start assembling our new Gresley class V4 as soon as our new class P2 is completed,” says A1 Steam Locomotive Trustee Mark Allatt. “Our new Gresley class V4 is an ideal locomotive for regional main line tours… and the longer, main line connected heritage railways.”

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