A PROJECT to build an iconic Gresley class locomotive in Darlington is gathering steam.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust announced this week that it has placed an order on Darlington Locomotive Works for the construction of the third Gresley class V4 No. 3403.

This will be the third new LNER-designed steam locomotive to be built by the Trust which is making significant progress in the pre-launch phase of the build project.

The order was placed with on the 80th anniversary of the original order for two class V4s to be built at LNER’s Doncaster Works in October 1939.

If the design had been perpetuated by the LNER, it is likely that significant numbers of class V4s would have been built at the original LNER Darlington Locomotive Works, which went on to construct 60 of the replacement Thompson class B1 4-6-0s.

The A1 Trust has already started the process of scanning 366 original Gresley class V4 drawings from microfiche into its computer design system.

These drawings were recently acquired from Malcolm Barlow, a Doncaster scrap dealer who launched the now defunct Gresley V4 Society in 1994 to build a new example of the class.

Mark Allatt, A1 Trustee, said: “We are in the pre-launch phase of the project to build our third new main line steam locomotive, the yet-to-be-named Gresley class V4 No. 3403 – Sir Nigel Gresley’s final design.

"With the order for construction now placed on Darlington Locomotive Works, the scanning of the drawings commenced, and further components acquired, we are well positioned for the formal launch of the project in spring 2020."

He added: “Although there is currently no specific appeal open for No. 3403, any donations made will be ring-fenced for the project.

"Our next step will be to launch 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.”

The A1 Trust is the charity behind the famous new 100mph steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado and Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales.

To support the project, click here