£350,000 order confirmed for electrical systems for steam locomotive No.2007 Prince of Wales

Electrical system for 60163 Tornado
Credit: Rob Morland

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company has announced that they have agreed a £350,000 order for a state of the art electrical systems for the new build steam locomotive No.2007 Prince of Wales.

The electrical system is based on the one fitted to No.60163 Tornado. This includes systems that generate and store electricity, together with lighting and instrumental systems. It will also include the railway safety and communication systems, including a new system that will soon be needed on the national rail network.

The P2s, also known as The ‘Mikados’, was the most powerful express locomotive in the UK. Designed in the 1930s by Sir Nigel Gresley, they were designed to haul 600-ton trains. The build of 2007 is at an estimated cost of £5 million. It will use modern construction techniques, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD).

The Trust needed to start work on the electrical systems during the third quarter of 2018. At the recent board meeting, the trustees reviewed architecture, wiring, power supply, essential lamps etc.


Being based on the system that 60163 Tornado uses, it will be based on the following principles:

  • Dual redundant power supplies
  • Electronic battery management
  • Steam turbine and axle-driven generators
  • All LED lighting
  • Structured trunking system for wiring
  • Military specification components for reliability
  • Optimised equipment locations for minimum wiring

However, the new system will improve on the one found in Tornado. Especially when it comes to access and maintenance. The systems will be moved from the engine to the tender, where practical. It will have the same components as the critical systems. This includes Huber + Suhner 4GKW Traction Cable for all wiring and AB MIL-C 5015 bayonet connectors.

Conventional wiring will be used for the power and the lighting. A bus-based communication system is being considered by the group for instrumentation, along with wireless connectivity where required.

What will be included with the electrical system?

The key elements are:

  • Electrical systems: battery boxes (found under the cab), control panels (driver’s & fireman’s side roof), distribution boards (under the seats in the cab), steam turbo-generators (two located on fireman’s side running plate, (arranged to look like the feedwater heater on the original class P2 No. 2001 Cock O’The North) and tender alternator (behind and driven from the rear axle)
  • Existing railway safety systems: On-Train Monitoring Recorder (OTMR), Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) and Global System for Mobile Communications Railway (GSM-R)
  • European Train Control System (ETCS): European Vital Computer (EVC), Train Interface Unit (TIU), Juridical Recording Unit (JRU), Euroradio, Balise Transmission Module (BTM) and ETCS Batteries (if required) all in a new locker on front of tender with a filtered air supply for cooling; Balise Antenna (under engine); 2-3 Tachometers; 1-2 Doppler Radars; two GSM-R Data Radio Antennas (on rear of tender top); and Driver Machine Interface (DMI)
  • Wiring system: a stainless steel box trunking system, designed by Computer Aided Design (CAD) will be used for the main ‘spine’ trunks on engine and tender. Most of the rest of the conduit will be flexible.
  • Power generation: a new axle-driven alternator based on an off-the-shelf truck alternator is well underway (output around 160A at 27V DC (4.3KVA). The Trust’s own design of turbo-generator also underway (output will be around 25A at 27V DC (675VA) with two fitted with a £7,350 order for a first complete new turbine wheel placed with Durham Precision Engineering. There will also be a shore power supply fitted.
  • Essential lamps: replicas of P2 lamps will be constructed, they will be fitted with new LED luminaries inside. The tender will be equipped with marker and tail lamps and lamp brackets/plugin points for headlamps if needed for heritage railway operation or a mainline Plandampf.
  • Instrumentation system: drawbar horsepower measurement (basically a dynamometer car), cameras, pressure sensors, temperature monitors and sensors to monitor important cambox parameters

The electrical part of the project will run from now until to 2021, in parallel with the mechanical engineering work.

Find out more about the P2 Steam Locomotive Company

If you would like to know more about the P2 class and the project behind the locomotive, then please click here to view our Project Information.

What did the officials say?

Rob Morland, Electricals Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:

“The electrical system for No. 2007 Prince of Wales build upon that which has successfully operated on No. 60163 Tornado for the past 10 years. In that time there have only been a few minor component failures, and some water ingress issues, in a system which has over three miles of cable, 60 connectors and 250 separate wire runs. The new system will benefit from the experience of operating Tornado on the main line and heritage railways, particularly with regards to access and maintenance. It is also, as much as possible, future-proofed to enable Prince of Wales to operate seamlessly on the modern and future Digital Railway.”

Mark Allatt, P2 Project Director and Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:

“We are delighted with the level of support that the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive has received since its launch. Thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity, over £3m has now been donated or pledged.

“Our £350,000 investment in Prince of Wales’s electrical system is part of the Trust’s policy of enabling our new steam locomotives to work on the modern railway side-by-side with the latest diesel and electric traction. Although the initial investment will come from our general construction funds, we will be launching a dedicated funding campaign in due course. We remain confident that we are on-track for completion of new Gresley class P2 locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales in 2021.

“I would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a monthly ‘P2 for the price of a pint of beer a week’ Covenantor. It’s time to get on board! This year will see further major announcements as the construction of new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales gathers pace.”


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