A new-build Gresley ‘V4’ 2-6-2 will be built after the completion of ‘P2’ No. 2007 Prince of Wales, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced. The Trust’s designs are yet more ambitious, as it planned that a new Gresley ‘V3’ 2-6-2T will follow up the ‘V4’.
The plans were announced at the A1SLT’s Annual Convention on October 1, alongside the intention to perform 90mph test runs with their first new-build, ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado, during the middle of next year (see the latest edition of Steam Railway, on sale October 7).
Work to re-create Sir Nigel Gresley’s last design will begin within the next 12 months, with the creation of a design book using 3D Computer Assisted Design (CAD).
The design of the original ‘V4s’ was started in 1939 and the class was intended to replace the ageing Gresley ‘K2’ 2-6-0s, introduced in 1914. Only two ‘V4s’, Nos. 3401/2 (BR Nos. 61700/1) were ever built and only No. 3401 received a name – Bantam Cock. No. 3402 was unofficially known as ‘Bantam Hen’.
Both locomotives were 3-cylinder engines, with a 250psi boiler, and eventually ended up working in Scotland before being replaced by Thompson ‘B1s’ and Stanier ‘Black Fives’.
The announcement to build not one, but two Gresley 2-6-2s comes just over three years since the Trust announced in September 2013 it was to start construction of a new ‘P2’ ‘Mikado’. The assembly of 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales reached a major milestone earlier this month, with the trial fitting of the locomotive’s distinctive smoke deflectors and smokebox to the frames.
It had been hoped to have the locomotive wheeled by now, but the assembly of the wheelsets has been delayed by the late delivery of the axles from South Africa. It is hoped that the ‘P2’ will be wheeled in the first quarter of 2017.