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May 10, 2023

Howco Steaming into the Future

In 1934 Sir Nigel Gresley and the London North Eastern Railway unveiled a new powerful express passenger locomotive for use in Scotland. This massive locomotive was named Cock o’ the North and was extensively trialled in the UK before further testing in France. The design was ahead of its time and this led to some problems that were never fully resolved, a factor in the decision to rebuild the locomotives as Pacifics during WW2. Now, that unfinished development work is being completed using 21st-century design and manufacturing technology. To be named Prince of Wales, the new P2 Class locomotive will operate across the UK and justify the claims that the original Gresley design was Britain’s most powerful passenger steam locomotive.

The Steam Locomotive Trust has launched it project to build a Gresley Class P2 based on the original 1934 design. With the need to resolve the design issues made possible with 21st century technology the forecast is for a 12-year build and a cost of around £6m.

The Cylinder

An order was placed with the Howco Group to manufacture a fabricated cylinder monobloc for the locomotive. The ‘bloc took a small break recently from machining to wow supporters at the recent A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Annual Convention. As 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.