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 Graham Elwood, the new 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, Tyseley Locomotive Works and a number of other specialised engineering and machining companies. See our partners and sponsors.

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. Pop mogul and steam enthusiast Pete Waterman, who originally founded LNWR Heritage, launced the boiler appeal.

Six brand new wheelsets were assembled at the South Devon Railway in January 2013. A multitude of other castings and machined items have been made at various specialist engineering companies around the UK.

Work on the entirely new boiler began with the smokebox which was completed in 2013, followed by the boiler barrel and firebox. The boiler for 'The Unknown Warrior' is of traditional construction with a copper firebox and is the first all new standard gauge boiler to be built in the UK since the 1960s. Assembly of all the new boiler components is currently in progress.

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.

Mainline Running

'The Unknown Warrior' is being built for main-line 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 railway network. Main-line running will require the locomotive to be built to a height of 13' - 2 ½” less than the original design. The design of the chimney and cab will also be affected by the reduced height requirements. Additional items that are required for mainline running include safety, communication and monitoring systems - AWS, TPWS (and eventually ERTMS), GSM-R and OTMR. These are being factored into our planning.

The LMS-Patriot Project is already working with an Engineering Consultancy on main-line certification requirements, and will work with its Train Operator to meet the ROGS (Railways and Other Transport Guided Systems) Regulations governing the introduction of new locomotives.

How the Project is being financed

The LMS-Patriot Project is looking to raise £2.5 million to build 'The Unknown Warrior'. This is being raised through:

  • Public donations and regular contributions (with Gift Aid where applicable)
  • Fixed-interest loans
  • Legacies
  • 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.

Kevin West, who is the Project's Draftsman was appointed CME During 2014.

The Project's Administration Office is based at The Hub in Stafford and is staffed by volunteers. The LMS-Patriot Project also has a large number of other volunteer Members involved in various activities including Fundraising, Sales and Marketing.

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.

The LMS-Patriot Company Ltd. • The Hub, 17 Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LZ • Registered in England & Wales No. 6502248 • Registered Charity No. 1123521
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