About the project
Building a new 'Patriot' Class Locomotive
The LMS-Patriot Project was launched in April 2008 at the Llangollen Railway's Spring Gala. A fundraising campaign began and the two main frame plates were cut on 31st March 2009, at Corus Steel, Cradley Heath in the West Midlands. The cutting of the frames signified the start of the construction of a new steam locomotive. This would later be named 'The Unknown Warrior' when a competition was held in Steam Railway magazine.
The frame plates were delivered to the Llangollen Railway Works in the summer of 2009. Assembly of the 'The Unknown Warrior' is being led by Dave Owen, Chief Mechanical Engineer at the Llangollen Railway Works. Other workshops around the UK are now involved in the manufacturing and supply of new parts including the Boro Foundry, The South Devon Railway, L.N.W.R Heritage, and Tyseley Locomotive Works.
Fundraising for the new boiler for 'The Unknown Warrior' began in 2012 with the national launch for the 'Boiler Appeal' taking place at Crewe on 19th May. LNWR Heritage at Crewe, the Company founded by pop mogul and steam enthusiast Pete Waterman will be building the new parallel boiler.
Six brand new wheelsets were assembled at the South Devon Railway in January 2013.
Creating the New National Memorial Engine
After the Great War, three of the then Railway Companies named locomotives to honour the railway employees who had fought and died during the conflict. These were 'Valour', 'Remembrance' and 'Patriot'.
The L. & N. W. R. memorial engine, a Claughton class locomotive was named 'Patriot'. This name was later transferred to the new 4-6-0 locomotive number 5500, which became the new 'Patriot' memorial engine for the LMS and after which the class took the name.
The new 'Patriot' will be named 'The Unknown Warrior' in keeping with the tradition of war memorial engines. The LMS-Patriot Project aims to continue this tradition in memory of all those brave men and women who courageously served their country.
The new locomotive will serve as a permanent memorial to all those who fought and died in the First World War and all subsequent wars.
The LMS-Patriot Project has received the endorsement of The Royal British Legion, and 45551 will carry a Legion crest above 'The Unknown Warrior' nameplate, in recognition of this.
'The Unknown Warrior' is being built for mainline running. A high profile engine such 'The Unknown Warrior' in its role as the national memorial engine will be be a huge attraction on the mainline. However, mainline running would require the locomotive to be built to a height of 13'1”. This is 1 ½” less than the original design. The design of the chimney and cab would be affected by the reduced height requirements and additional items that are required for mainline running including TPWS, OTMR and possibly air braking also need to be considered. The LMS-Patriot Project is already working closely with a Vehicle Acceptance Body (VAB) representative to allow 'The Unknown Warrior' to be mainline certified.
The LMS-Patriot Project is looking to raise £1.5 million to build 'The Unknown Warrior'.
How the Project is being financed
The LMS-Patriot Project is raising funds to build 'The Unknown Warrior' through:
- Public donations and regular contributions (with Gift Aid where applicable)
- Fixed-interest loans
- Commercial sponsorship
- Grant applications
Who is behind it?
The LMS-Patriot Project was launched by David Bradshaw - a key member of Didcot's Great Western Society 'County' project. Other Directors are Andrew Laws, Richard Sant, Kevin Finnerty, Steve Blackburn, Neil Kinsey, John Hastings-Thomson and Neil Collinson.
How to get involved
If you would like to be part of this exciting project to create a new 'Patriot' we would love to hear from you. Setting up a Banker's Order to make regular monthly payments is the easiest and best way to help. If you are a UK taxpayer, we will also be able to claim Gift Aid from the Government if you also send us a completed and signed Gift Aid form.
To see how you can help this exciting project please click here.