Spring 2020 launch for V4 Project? – plans progress on steam locomotive project

V4 3403
Credit: A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced that they have made some crucial decisions surrounding the new build V4 steam locomotive, No.3403, as part of the preparations for the launch of the project.

The group have agreed on the fundraising strategy for the locomotive, it will follow the approach used for 60163 Tornado and 2007 Prince of Wales, whereby the locomotive should be debt free upon completion.

One change in the fundraising for the V4 will be that the Founders Club will be used for buying components whilst the trust completes and tests No.2007.

It is now expected that the launch of the V4 project will be Spring 2020.

The trust has also agreed on the specification for 3403. The locomotive will have:

  • A P2-style electrical system which is in itself developed from that successfully implemented on the A1
  • Air plus vacuum brakes as on both A1 and P2 but with only one air pump due to the limited space available
  • An all steel, all welded boiler with no thermic syphon – the one originally fitted to No. 3402 provided no discernible benefit and was removed in 1945
  • A tender based on the LNER 4,200-gallon – as opposed to 3,500-gallon – tender with as much water capacity as possible – modifications made to the A1 and P2 tenders added around 1,200 gallons
  • Roller bearings throughout as with A1 and P2
  • The new P2 design of crank axle and pony truck
  • Its monobloc cylinder block casting redesigned as a fabrication as with the P2
  • As much detailed commonality as possible with A1/P2

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has also partnered with The Gresley Society Trust, who funded the smokebox for No.2007 Prince of Wales. These two organisations will work together to manufacture the 5ft8in driving wheel pattern for the new Gresley class V4 No. 3403.

This pattern is shared with the Gresley Society’s Great Northern Railway Gresley class N2 No. 1744. The class N2 is currently under overhaul and requires two replacement driving wheels.

The production of the pattern will be project managed by A1SLT and funded by the Gresley Society, with its first use being for No. 1744.

What did the officials say?

Mark Allatt commented:

“We are in the pre-launch phase of the project to build our third new main line steam locomotive, with the detailed review and cataloguing of over 500 acquired drawings, the production of the fundraising strategy and the decision on the high-level specification of No. 3403.

“We want to be ready to start assembling our new Gresley class V4 as soon as our new class P2 is completed. We anticipate the project costing around £3m and taking around five years subject to the pace of fundraising. Our new Gresley class V4 is an ideal locomotive for regional main line tours, repeat main line itineraries and the longer, main line connected heritage railways.

“Unlike with our class P2, where we have had to do a considerable amount of development work to complete the job that Sir Nigel Gresley started in 1934, there will be very little redesign work needed as there were no known problems with the Gresley class V4s. In addition, we are delighted to be working with The Gresley Society Trust to produce the 5ft8in driving wheel pattern shared by the class V4s and N2s.

“Although there is no specific appeal open for No. 3403 yet, any donations made towards it will be ring-fenced for the project. The next steps will be to launch a website for the project and The Founder’s Club to fund the early stages of the project. More announcements will be made during 2019 as the project builds up steam.”

Philip Benham, chairman, The Gresley Society Trust, added:

“We have worked with The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust before on their new build projects, and are delighted to be doing so once again to produce a new 5ft 8in driving wheel pattern for the Gresley V4 and our Gresley class N2. Currently under overhaul, No. 1744 celebrates her 100th birthday in 2021 and we anticipate she will require two replacement driving wheels either as part of the overhaul or within the foreseeable future. It’s very appropriate that the overhaul of the oldest surviving locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley should also benefit the building of a further example of his final design.”

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Michael Holden avatar
I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.
  • Wonderful news, to hear of the proposed new Gresley V4 loco, a very worthy project and one that may perpetuate the finest traditions of it’s designer. I just hope I live long enough to see it come to fruition!