This is one of those engines which I thought only existed in somebody's overactive imagination until it arrived last week, along with some other boilers and castings from the late builder's workshop.
Regular readers will remember the magnificent Duchess I had in some years ago, the best of a batch of four, kept by the builder for his own use and ballasted with lead everywhere (including under the boiler cladding) to a knee-buckling three hundredweight in a serious attempt to win IMLEC. In the end it came second, having derailed on the second lap, but the continuous horsepower it put up for the half hour run was the highest recorded on the day and stood as a record for many years after for a five inch gauge engine.
At the end of his engine-building career, it was rumoured that a batch of LNER P2s were in progress, being built to the same exhibition quality and likely to put up very similar performances to the Duchesses. I'd heard this over the years, but never actually seen one, or met anybody who had - until now.
What you see below is the one early-stage chassis built, together with a large quantity of castings, including wheels castings for a second locomotive, with seven of the eight tender wheels for a second tender.
Work to date is pretty much what you'd expect from the man who built "Duchess of Abercorn". Excellent castings, really crisp machining, beautifully turned wheels, split gunmetal axleboxes (all stamped up for position in the chassis), immaculately made crank axle, Cartazzi axleboxes on the trailing bogie, working leaf springs... There's a set of machined cylinders, with piston valve liners fitted, again the machining is first class.
A good, substantial start to what is going to be an epic project for somebody. I can't wait to see the finished thing.
Length 51 inches