New Build Peppercorn A1 Pacific Loco

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- International' started by Meiriongwril, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    announce1 Some of you good folk may already know of the UK-based society of volunteers who, over the last 10 years or so, have raised around one million sterling to build from scratch a Peppercorn A1 Pacific steam loco. These standard gauge locos were originally built in 1948/9 for British Railways, but all were scrapped in the 1960s switch to diesels.
    The A1 Steam Trust have had to build every piece of the loco and tender from scratch, and their efforts will be crowned later this year when 'Tornado' (as it is to be called) will steam for the first time. It will have added modern safety features to allow it to run on the main line pulling special excursions. It will no doubt also run on several of the dozens of preserved railways (some over 20 miles long) than can be found in all parts of England, Scotland and Wales (it will be excluded from Ireland who have a wider gauge of 5'3").
    Anyone interested should see
    :wave: :)
  2. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Thanks for the heads up. I am VERY interested in this project as it opens up a LOT of opportunities to replace long ago scrapped locomotives in museums world wide.

    Quick question, unless I missed it, is this engine being built with roller bearings?
  3. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    I'm no engineering expert, so I'm not 100% sure. But this webpage suggests that roller bearings are being used, but you'll know whether this is the same as you mean!
    There are several other new builds under way in the UK (we're all plain loco - sorry, pun intended!) None are as far advanced as Tornado though. They range from small tank locos to medium sized tender engines.
    Also, the Great Western Society has workshops at Didcot near Oxford, and are involved in several rebuilds. For example a steam railcar is being back converted from an auto-coach, with brand new boiler, valve gear etc etc. Several Great Western classes that didn't survive the cutter's torch are being recreated from parts of other locos that did survive (where several examples of that class are preserved). This is because the GWR had many standard parts, so missing classes can be recreated (of course often whole wheel sets, tenders etc have to be added from scratch). The GW Society can be reached at
    If you're interested in any of the other new build projects let me know and I'll hunt down the websites for you!
  4. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    VERY interested.

    Thanks a bunch!
  5. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    Ooops - not sure why this posted twice, so I've cut the first text!
  6. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    This info appeared in Britain's Steam Railway Magazine (
    Coming together: Britain’s ‘new-build’ scene

    JUST ten years ago, there were few ‘new-build’ schemes anywhere near completion – although there were plenty of ideas.
    Now, though, Beamish museum has completed its second early railway replica within a decade, the long-awaited broad gauge Fire Fly is a reality and the boiler for ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado has arrived. Other projects continue to make progress, albeit at varying speeds. This is what’s happening with some of Britain’s other new-builds…

    Billinton ‘H2’ class ‘Atlantic’ No. 32424 Beachy Head

    ‘Brighton Atlantic’ Beachy Head, withdrawn in 1958, was given the chance of a rebirth with the discovery of a boiler from an almost identical Great Northern Railway Ivatt 4-4-2 in 1986. Progress is gathering pace following the completion this summer of the group’s purpose-built workshop at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway.
    Work completed includes the casting of driving and trailing wheels and patterns for an array of other components. Current work involves drilling the frames.
    No longer completely a replica - thanks to the emergence of the genuine regulator handle from No. 32424 (!) along with other ‘H2’ parts - the locomotive was originally due for completion by 2008 but now looks more likely to be ready in 2010. For more see SR319.

    Churchward 'Saint' 4-6-0 No. 2999 Lady of Legend

    The longest-established of a trio of ‘new-build’ schemes making use of standard Great Western parts, the ‘Saint’ (utilising the remains of No. 4942 Maindy Hall) is currently at Ian Riley’s Bury workshops. The boiler is almost ready to be fitted to the frames following the alignment of the original motion bracket with the rest of the motion and extension frames.
    Great Western Society Chairman Richard Croucher expects the unification of boiler and chassis ‘within weeks’, immediately after which the locomotive will move to Didcot for completion. No date has yet been set.

    Hawksworth ‘County’ 4-6-0 No. 1014 County of Glamorgan

    Perhaps the most controversial of the ‘new-builds’ due to the use of the boiler from Stanier ‘8F’ No. 48518, the only survivor of the Doncaster-built batch, No. 1014 also incorporates the frames from ex-Barry ‘Modified Hall’ No. 7927 Willington Hall.
    The production of the pattern for the casting of the six new 6ft 3in driving wheels is expected to be completed by the year-end. The overall project is expected to cost around £500,000 and intended to produce an example of the final design of GWR 4-6-0, fit for the main line.

    Collett ‘Grange’ 4-6-0 No. 6880 Betton Grange

    Another case of GWR standardisation being used to bring back a ‘dead’ class. Work on the new frames is currently the main focus, with re-rolling of the main plates currently taking place.
    Boiler work (the standard Swindon No. 1 has come from No. 7927) has begun with the removal of the old tubes, and a set of expansion links have been acquired as have various cosmetic details such as the splashers and copper cap for the chimney. No date for completion is yet given although the cab is expected to be on the frames in time for next April’s ‘Steel, Steam and Stars’ gala at the Llangollen Railway.

    Riddles ‘3MT’ 2-6-2T No. 82045

    So far the biggest component required for the construction of this extinct class is a set of driving wheels which once graced a roundabout display. However, the 82045 Locomotive Group is launching a major push for funds following a public meeting on August 6 (SR326) to discuss the way forward.

    Holden ‘F5’ 2-4-2T No. 67218

    Having been working on the project since 2001, the sometimes-overlooked Holden F5 Locomotive Trust has so far constructed the buffer beams together with the running plate frame to hold them, plus patterns for some of the wheels and axleboxes. The latest arrival at the Essex workshops, which the trust moved into in 2003, is the smokebox which was fitted in late August.
    The aim is to complete No. 67218 by 2012 - the 150th anniversary of the Great Eastern Railway. Its intended home is the Epping-Ongar line.

    Riddles '2MT' 2-6-2T No. 84030

    More a rebuild than a strict ‘new-build’, No. 84030 utilises all but the tender - missing on acquisition by the Bluebell Railway from Barry scrapyard anyway - of ‘2MT’ 2-6-0 No. 78059. The tank engine variety of this potentially very useful class became extinct in 1965.
    One of the major difficulties experienced by the group, led by Colin Turner, is pressing the new rear pony truck. Few companies have been traced who have the equipment necessary to press such a severe radius as is required for the component.
    However, all wheelsets have been fully machined, including the additional rear trailing set. The boiler has also been assessed and the tubes removed; it is expected that a new front tubeplate will be required along with other localised repairs.
    With only around six or seven volunteers working regularly on the project, Mr Turner told Steam Railway: “There are too many unknowns at present to predict a completion date.” However, funds are coming in steadily helped by the presence of Ivatt ‘2MT’ No. 41313.

    McConnell ‘Bloomer’ 2-2-2 No. 670

    Work restarted this year on this scheme which was initially begun more than 15 years ago. Originally intended to work at Tyseley when conceived in the late 1980s, a change of direction in the early 1990s saw the ‘Bloomer’ replica go on to the back-burner as the site switched to provision of main line locomotives.
    However, several recent bequests, together with funds remaining from the original scheme, have once again kickstarted the project.
    Recent work has included the manufacture of pistons and piston rods, crossheads, valve spindles, slide bars and other components.
    Tyseley’s Bob Meanley told Steam Railway the aim is now to complete most of the motion, leaving mainly cosmetic work to finish the locomotive. The boiler is already complete, tubed and installed in the frames.
    Mr Meanley would not be drawn on what the future holds once it is complete. “We will resolve that once we’ve finished the job” he said “so there’s no point speculating now.” The completion date depends on finance and resources.

    GWR steam railmotor No. 93

    The locomotive section of this unique survivor is a new construction, but the carriage body survived into preservation via its use as an Auto-Trailer into the 1950s.
    The boiler has already been completed and hydraulically tested, and is now just waiting for a successful casting of the blastpipe before fitting at Israel Newton’s boiler workshops.
    GWS Chairman Richard Croucher expects this to take place ‘within weeks’ of the blastpipe arriving. Meanwhile, funding for the final few motion parts needed for the driving bogie is being pursued; the bogie itself is at Tyseley.
    An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant towards restoration of the carriage body section, as well as partnering trailer No. 92, is being prepared.

    North of England Open-Air Museum

    In terms of numbers of engines completed, Beamish is ahead of any other ‘new-build’ organisations. Now a complete 1820s waggonway is in place with no fewer than three, the latest being Puffing Billy launched earlier this year.
    Beamish’s Keeper of Transport Paul Jarman does not rule out further ‘new-build’ schemes: “There are so many iconic North Eastern-related engines out there that warrant further investigation” he told Steam Railway.

    This doesn't include the group building new a BR standard Pacific 'Hengist', who have frames, cab, and smokebox, but still have a long way to go.
    Also a recently announced plan to build a Wordsell O Class (later G5), 0-4-4T loco (originals built 1894-1901) that appears to have good backing.

    Let me know if you want me to find websites - not all have them.
  7. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Wow, h]what a wealth of information. I am going to print this so I can read it later this morning when I get some work caught up. I am VERY interested in these projects as "I have this crazy idea..."

    There has been preliminary talk within our museum (Western Pacific RR Museum at Portola) to re-create a medium sized locomotive with all modern appliances such as roller bearings, etc. Our steam Dept. Head was one of the principals of the Disneyland RR. #5 build and we've been kicking around several "You know what would be cool to build"'s lately. He was telling me about some of these British projects and it really got the hamster running overtime in my bean. I'd personally like to see us replicate a WP 2-8-8-2, but I think something more like a 2-6-2 or 4-6-0 would be more fitting and be a good locomotive for us. I have no doubt that with Chris's leadership and expertise that we could pull it off. But like I said, we're just at the "crazy idea discussion" phase *so far*.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it.
  8. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Are such schemes underway anywhere else in the world? It does seem that the British have the greatest affection for steam. If the US only had such groups... The classes that first stand out to me as lacking preserved examples despite fame are the Milwaukee's streamlined Atlantics and Baltics and the NYC's Hudsons and Niagaras.
  9. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    A few folk have asked privately why the Tornado pacific is called a 'Peppercorn Pacific'.
    Herewith the reason!:
    Arthur H. Peppercorn was born in Leominster in England on 29th January 1889, and began his career as an apprentice in 1905 with the Great Northern Railway. He served with the Royal Engineers in World War 1. With the Great Northern and LNER (London & North Eastern Railway), Peppercorn tended to concentrate with the running side of railways rather than the constructional side. He became the CME of the LNER on 1st July 1946 with the retirement of Edward Thompson. Peppercorn was in many ways more like Gresley than Thompson. He pleased many at Doncaster by recalling some of Gresley's former assistants.
    Peppercorn was the last CME of the LNER before Nationalisation, and as such he was only CME for 18 months. During this time he inherited Thompson's rebuild of the Gresley K4 2-6-0. This had become Class K1, and Peppercorn ordered a total of 70. He also continued production of Thompson's B1s and L1s. He ceased production of Thompson's A2/2 Pacific, though.
    Peppercorn is best known for his A1 and A2 Pacifics, the first of which started to appear just in time to receive "LNER" on their tenders rather "British Railways". These became known as some of the best steaming locomotives to ever run in Britain.
    Peppercorn retired from British Railways in 1949, after only 2 years with the new regime. He died on 3rd March 1951.
  10. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    More new builds

    Since my last post, several more new build schemes have come to light. The largest of these is for an LMS Patriot class (aka Baby Scot) 4-6-0.
    Some quite old classes of tank locos are also on the list. Interested readers might check out the Steam Railway magazine website:

    Railwaymags - Steam Railway Home

  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Steam Railways is a bad magazine...because they pulled their magazine from the US market! Now I'm forced to purchase Heritage Railway which has too many diesels in it. ;-)

    Normally over on this side of the pond...which again, is deprived of Steam Railways Magazine...this discussion usually ends up with two winners: the NYC Hudsons and the PRR T-1s (these were 4-4-4-4s...actually 4-8-4s...but with 2 sets of cylinders). Given those two options...and despite the fact that I prefer the NYC Hudsons...I would pick the T-1s as they were very unique.

    I personally would love to see a DSP&P Mason Bogie. They are small locomotives which would be far cheaper than a mainline locomotive. They were very unusual birds which lasted for a very short period of time. The last survivor was cut up at Aimes, Iowa in the Iowa State University's students' donation to the WW2 scrap drives. ;-(

    I also pick the 2-6-6t as I know just how big of a challenge it is to operate a mainline steam locomotive. A small group can handle a small engine without much trouble, but it takes an army to operate a medium or large mainline engine.

    The biggest problem with building a large American steam locomotive is probably in getting the frame cast. Most modern american locomotives had cast steel opposed to composite frames...which are extremely expensive and almost impossible to get made. I believe the only place in the country that can handle it is a foundry in St. Louis.

    I've heard nightmares about repairing damage to steam engine frames...the NKP shop crews at Conneaut used to poor water of the heads of welders as they attempted to repair frames...I guess I'm offtopic now.

    I've been following the A-1 story for the past is really cool to see it getting finished!

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