LNER Class P2

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LNER Class P2
LNER P2 Cock O' The North in 1934
2001, Cock O' The North
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerSir Nigel Gresley
BuilderDoncaster Works
Build date1934-1936
Total produced6
 • Whyte2-8-2
Leading dia.3 ft 2 in (0.97 m)
Driver dia.6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Trailing dia.3 ft 8 in (1.12 m)
Wheelbase37 ft 11 in (11.56 m) engine
16 ft 0 in (4.88 m) tender
64 ft 0.875 in (19.52943 m) total
Axle load20 long tons (20 t) locomotive approx.
Loco weight110 long tons 5 cwt (247,000 lb or 112 t) max.
Tender weight55 long tons 6 cwt (123,900 lb or 56.2 t) max.
 • Firegrate area
50 sq ft (4.6 m2)
Boiler6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) max. diameter
Boiler pressure220 psi (1.5 MPa)
Heating surface3,349.5 sq ft (311.18 m2)
 • Tubes1,354.2 sq ft (125.81 m2)
 • Flues1,122.8 sq ft (104.31 m2)
 • Firebox237 sq ft (22.0 m2)
 • Heating area635.5 sq ft (59.04 m2)
Cylinder size21 in × 26 in (530 mm × 660 mm)
Valve gearNo. 2001 as built: Lentz rotary cam
No. 2001 from April 1938 and nos. 2002–6: Walschaerts outside, Gresley conjugated inside[1][2]
Valve typeNo. 2001 as built: Poppet, 8 inch (inlet) and 9 inch (exhaust)
No. 2001 from April 1938 and nos. 2002–6: piston valves, 9 inch[1]
Performance figures
Tractive effort43,462 lbf (193.33 kN) at 85% boiler pressure
OperatorsLondon and North Eastern Railway
DispositionAll original locomotives rebuilt to Thompson A2/2 Class.
Two more are under construction.
Technical parameters: The Engineer. 1 June 1934 p.551 (refer to original design of No.2001)

The London and North Eastern Railway Class P2 was a class of 2-8-2 steam locomotives designed by Sir Nigel Gresley for working heavy express trains over the harsh Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line. As they were to serve on Scottish expresses, they were given famous names from Scottish lore.

Six locomotives of the class were built; introduced between 1934 and 1936. In 1936, the Class P2 were given streamlined fronts, similar to that of the Class A4. Between 1943 and 1944 the class were rebuilt under Gresley's successor Edward Thompson into the LNER Thompson Class A2/2 4-6-2 type.



The locomotives were designed by Nigel Gresley to haul express trains over the difficult Edinburgh to Aberdeen section of the London and North Eastern Railway. In the design Gresley was influenced by recent French practice, in particular passenger locomotives of the Paris à Orléans railway.[3]

The first locomotive of the class, No.2001 Cock o' the North, was introduced in 1934. It was built at Doncaster Works,[4] with Lentz-type[citation needed] rotary-cam actuated poppet valve-gear supplied by the Associated Locomotive Equipment Company,[5] and a double-chimney Kylchap exhaust, each chimney using four nozzle blastpipes.[6] The chimney system was designed to take different fittings to allow experimentation with exhaust arrangements.[citation needed]

The boiler barrel was of the design used on Gresley Pacifics, fitted to a larger firebox. The front end design was of the same form as the Class W1 locomotive, No. 10000, derived from Dr. Dalby's wind tunnel research, and the attached tender was of the standard design used on Gresley Pacifics.[7] The P2 introduced a vee-shaped cab front, designed to give a better view forward. (The same design was later used on the A4 and V2 express engines).[8] No. 2001 was fitted with a Crosby chime whistle which Gresley had obtained from Captain Howey of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, and which was originally intended for one of that railway's Canadian Pacific style locomotives.[9][10]

The second locomotive of the class, No.2002 Earl Marischal was completed by 1935, also at Doncaster, and was fitted with Walschaerts valve gear, as used on Gresley Pacifics, and had a greater superheater heating area of 776.5 sq ft (72.14 m2), obtained by using larger diameter fire tubes.[11] At low cutoffs smoke clearance on No.2002 was unsatisfactory: wind tunnel experiments led to an additional second pair of smoke deflectors being fitted inward of the first.[12]

No. 2002 proved to be more efficient than 2001, due to a lower cylinder clearance volume and because the stepped-cam cutoff modifications made to No. 2001 reduced economical working relative to the infinitely variable cutoff of No. 2002. Consequently, the following locomotives were built with piston valves.[13]

By June 1936 the third engine had been produced: No. 2003, Lord President, based on the design of No. 2002 but with the external design modified to resemble the Silver Link locomotives. (see LNER Class A4).[14] The locomotive weight was reduced to 107 long tons 3 cwt (240,000 lb or 108.9 t).[15] The wedge-shaped front was found to lift the engine's smoke clear of the driver's view;[15] No. 2002 was altered to this form in 1936, and No. 2001 in 1938.[16]

Three further locomotives, Mons Meg, Thane of Fife and Wolf of Badenoch, were under construction at Doncaster in 1936.[14]

No. 2004 was fitted with an experimental butterfly valve blastpipe bypass, manually activated to prevent fire-lifting at high cutoffs. This was later replaced with a plug valve and higher bypass pipe diameter, but both designs had problems with sticking due to carbonised deposits.[17] No. 2005 lacked the Kylchap double chimney of the rest of the class,[18] and No. 2006 had a different boiler design, with a longer combustion chamber, and firebox heating area and volume of 253 sq ft (23.5 m2) and 319 cu ft (9.0 m3) respectively with a Robinson superheater.[15] The production series was completed in 1936.[citation needed]

Testing, performance and service[edit]

Shortly after being put into service, on 19 June No.2001 was tested with a 19 bogie carriage train of 649 tons on a return journey between Kings Cross, Grantham and Barkston; the locomotive hauled the train at an average speed of over 50 mph, with peak speeds of over 70 mph.[19] Drawbar pulls of around 6 tons at around 60 mph were recorded - representing a peak power output of over 2000 horsepower.[20] In late 1934 the locomotive was sent to Vitry, France for static testing.[21]

Point contact on the infinitely variable cams of No.2001 led to cam damage after ~10,000 miles of service, resulting in the replacement with stepped cams giving six steps of cutoff (12, 18, 25, 35, 45 and 75%).[13] By 1939 No.2001 had had its rotary-cam poppet-valve valvegear replaced with Walschaerts gear.[22]

In 1939 E.H. Livesay reported from the footplate on the performance of No.2004 Mons Meg on the early morning 'Aberdonian' non-stop from Edinburgh to Dundee; a train with gross weight of 320 tons. Peak speeds of over 60 mph were noted, with 55 mph on a 1 in 100 gradient, and an average speed of 44.25 mph (71.21 km/h). Despite the vehicle's long wheelbase, 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m), and the frequent curves on the route, Livesay did not report any serious problems with ride quality.[23] On the return trip with a load of 360 tons gross, recording a peak of 68 mph on a 1 in 100 down section, with an average speed of 38 mph including several stops and speed restrictions. Livesay reported favourably on the acceleration of the train, recording 50 mph reached from standstill over 1.25 miles, with 60 mph reached in under 2 miles.[24] Further Edinburgh to Dundee and Return runs were made in the afternoon with 355 and 450 ton gross loads respectively with average speeds of 40.25 and 33 mph.[25]


The class was rebuilt into Class A2/2 4-6-2 'Pacifics' during 1943/4.[26] According to B. Spencer, an LNER employee, the class was rebuilt due to reliability problems during the difficult conditions of the World War II period, and additionally to take the opportunity to try out a different valve gear arrangement.[27] Other sources supposed that the rebuilding might be because the class's wheelbase was too long for the routes it worked, and that the railway would have been better served if the class had been transferred to more suitable routes.[28]

Railway author O. S. Nock suggested that Gresley's successor, Edward Thompson, may have made largely unsubstantiated criticisms of the class in order to justify the rebuilding.[26] According to O. Bulleid, the class were not an inefficient design but had been placed into services in which they were under-utilised, leading to poor fuel economy.[29]


Number[30] Name Build Date Rebuild Date
2001 Cock o' the North May 1934 September 1944
2002 Earl Marischal October 1934 June 1944
2003 Lord President June 1936 December 1944
2004 Mons Meg July 1936 November 1944
2005 Thane of Fife August 1936 January 1943
2006 Wolf of Badenoch September 1936 May 1944

New build P2 proposals[edit]

No original members of the class were preserved, as all were rebuilt into LNER A2/2 Pacifics by 1944. However, two new engines are now being built: one by the P2 Steam Locomotive Company in the original shape (LNER P2 Class 2007 Prince of Wales), to be numbered 2007 as a new member of the class; and the other by the Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust as a replica of No. 2001 "Cock o' the North" in streamlined condition.

The P2 Steam Locomotive Company[edit]

In 2010, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, who were responsible for the construction of 60163 Tornado, announced plans to hold a feasibility study into building a new P2 class locomotive,[31] which would be numbered as 2007 and named "Prince of Wales".[32]

The feasibility study was officially launched in October 2011 and was broken into 3 stages.[citation needed]} The first stage involved creating an electronic model of a steam engine for track dynamic analysis; Tornado was used as the basis for this modelling, together with track position data supplied by Network Rail - Tornado was fitted with accelerometers during its testing- the data from which provided a basis to validate the modelling data and assumptions against.[33] The second and third stages are to involve creating a computer model of a P2, and then analysing modifications to the design using the computer software. Modelling data for the P2 design and a modified design with a LNER Class V2 type pony truck was published in early 2013. The rail-dynamics software used was Resonate Group's 'VAMPIRE' product.[33] The computer modelling showed acceptable dynamics and the project to build No. 2007 was officially launched in September 2013 at the A1 Convention with a seven to ten year construction timetable.[33]

The locomotive is said to share 70% commonality on parts with Tornado including the boiler and tender.[34] Modern modifications to the original design include roller bearings (also featured on Tornado) and an all-welded, all-steel boiler; the final build will utilise Lentz poppet valve gear.[33] In most other respects and appearance, the built 'No.2007' will match that of the original No. 2001 Cock o' the North prior to streamlining.[33]

On 14 November 2013, the P2 Steam Locomotive Company (P2SLC) announced that the name of its new P2 would be Prince of Wales, in honour of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales' 65th birthday.[35] Construction began in May 2014 with the locomotives's frames being cut at Tata Steel's Scunthorpe works.[36]

The project cost is estimated at £5,000,000.[35]

Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust[edit]

The Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust (Registered Charity Number 1149835), plans to build a working replica of the prototype No. 2001 "Cock O' The North"[37] as modified in 1938; using Gresley motion, Walschaerts valve gear, and a LNER A4 style 'Bugatti' streamlined front.[38] The locomotive's frames were cut in April 2014 at Tata Steel's Wednesfield works.[39]


In 2013, Hornby Railways collaborated with the A1 locomotive trust to produce models of the class, starting with the original P2 2001 Cock O' The North, for release in early 2014 in both a low level "Hornby Railroad" specification, and a more detailed version then including a third level of the model with Hornby Railways new Twin Track Sound (TTS).[40][41]


  1. ^ a b Boddy et al. 1983, pp. 170, 171, 179, 182
  2. ^ Nock, O. S. (1966). The British Steam Railway Locomotive 1925-1965. II. Ian Allan. pp. 102–103.
  3. ^ The Engineer. 1 June 1934 p.551, cols.1-2
  4. ^ The Engineer. 1 June 1934 p.551 col.1
  5. ^ The Engineer. 1 June 1934 p.551 cols.2-3
  6. ^ The Engineer. 1 June 1934 p.552 col.1-2
  7. ^ The Engineer. 1 June 1934 p.552 col.3
  8. ^ Spencer 1947, pp. 190–191.
  9. ^ Spencer 1947, p. 191.
  10. ^ No. 9 Winston Churchill, Romney Hyth and Dymchurch Railway, retrieved 10 December 2013, .. a pair of Crosby chime whistles that Howey had bought in Canada, and had impressed Nigel Gresley on a visit to the RH&DR. Howey then presented Gresley with the second whistle which in turn was fitted to the new LNER express Cock o' the North
  11. ^ "Locomotives and Railcars of 1934" (PDF), The Engineer, 159: 16, 4 January 1935
  12. ^ Spencer 1947, p.193; Fig.33, p.192.
  13. ^ a b Spencer 1947, p. 193.
  14. ^ a b "Raid and Road" (PDF), The Engineer, 161: 677, 26 June 1936, archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2014
  15. ^ a b c "L.N.E.R. - New Locomotives" (PDF), The Engineer, 162: 20, 3 July 1936
  16. ^ Boddy et al. 1983, p. 169
  17. ^ Spencer 1947, pp. 193–194.
  18. ^ Livesay 1939, p.342 col.2.
  19. ^ "Cock o' the North" (PDF), The Engineer, 157: 645, 29 June 1934
  20. ^ "Dynamometer Tests of "Cock o' the North"" (PDF), The Engineer, 158: 16–17, 6 July 1934
  21. ^ "Railway and Road Matters" (PDF), The Engineer, 158: 593, 14 December 1934
  22. ^ Livesay 1939, p.342 col.3.
  23. ^ Livesay 1939, p.342 col.3; p.343 col.1.
  24. ^ Livesay 1939, p.343 cols.1-2.
  25. ^ Livesay 1939, p.343 col.3; 344 col.1,2.
  26. ^ a b Nock, O.S (1984), British Locomotives of the 20th Century, 2, Book Club Associates, London
  27. ^ Spencer 1947, p. 234.
  28. ^ Spencer 1947, Discussion p.220 (O.S.M. Raw); p.230 (Sutherland).
  29. ^ Spencer 1947, Discussion of paper p.211-212.
  30. ^ The ABC of L.N.E.R. LOCOMOTIVES (Renumbering Edition), Ian Allan, 1946
  31. ^ "Welcome to the project to build the new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales - P2 Steam Locomotive Company". P2 Steam Locomotive Company. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  32. ^ Gresley P2 study announced, A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, 25 April 2010
  33. ^ a b c d e Design, The P2 Steam Locomotive Company, retrieved 12 November 2013
  34. ^ Mission / Introduction, The P2 Steam Locomotive Company, [it] has around 70% commonality with Tornado, including the boiler, tender and many other detailed fittings
  35. ^ a b Walter, Andy (14 November 2013), "Steam engine will be named after the Prince of Wales", The Northern Echo
  36. ^ "Prince of Wales P2 steam locomotive construction starts", BBC News Humberside, 21 May 2014
  37. ^ "cockothenorth.co.uk | Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust". www.cockothenorth.co.uk. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  38. ^ Mission Statement, Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust, archived from the original on 3 December 2013, retrieved 3 December 2013
  39. ^ Fisher, Andy; Fisher, Dandan, eds. (April 2014), Cutting the frames for LNER P2 "COCK O' THE NORTH" (video), youtube
  40. ^ Hayes, James (27 September 2013), Hornby Gresley Class P2 Mikado 2-8-2, The P2 Steam Locomotive Company
  41. ^ Walker, Andy (20 October 2013), "Darlington steam engine plans have a model future", www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk



  • "2‐8‐2 Type express passenger locomotive, London & North Eastern Railway". Journal of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers. 24 (120): 469–471. 1934. doi:10.1243/JILE_PROC_1934_024_041_02.


  • Frost, Malcolm S. (10 April 2014), Fisher, Andy; Fisher, Dandan (eds.), LNER P2 Class (lecture , video), youtube

External links[edit]