The 5AT Project
Mr Hanks' words (above) are as true today as they were in 1960, though the nostalgia and passion that the steam locomotive generates has extended far wider, and for far longer, than he could have imagined. Most preserved steam operated railways in the UK continue to attract record numbers of visitors each year, and 2009 witnessed widespread public interest and enthusiasm when "Tornado", the first main line steam locomotive to be built in the UK since "Evening Star", made its public debut on the nation's railways.
The 5AT Project aimed to go one important and potentially vital step further, namely to build the first new steam locomotive incorporating all the proven technical advances that have been developed since 1960 in order to generate the power, speed, range and reliability that will be needed to maintain an ongoing presence for steam traction on the main line rail network of the future.
With the completion of the Fundamental Design Calculations and a detailed Feasibility Study, the project has advanced to the stage where further progress can only be made through the commitment of the large amounts of money needed to design and build a prototype locomotive. However the recent and ongoing financial crisis has destroyed any likelihood of obtaining such commitments and as a consequence it has been regretfully decided to suspend further work on the 5AT project (see project suspension announcement.)
The 5AT Group
The 10 years spent by the 5AT Group in the planning and promotion of the 5AT Project have not been in vain. Indeed, the group is continuing in the pursuit of its goal of maintaining a future presence for steam traction on main and heritage rail lines, through the application of technical improvements that will increase locomotive performance and reliability, reduce both carbon and spark emissions, and minimize operating and maintenance costs.
Information about the 5AT Group and its aims can be found under the 5AT Group heading of this website. Anyone interested in joining the Group and helping in its endeavours, should write to the email@example.com. See also the recruitment page of this website.
The 5AT Locomotive
The 5AT is a totally new steam locomotive design, incorporating the latest proven steam locomotive technology, aimed to deliver an unprecedented level of reliability and performance for the operation of charter and tour trains on modern railway systems. Its very high speed capability is expected to facilitate the procurement of paths on the increasingly congested high-speed railways of the future. Similarly its use of 'gas oil' (diesel) fuel will allow it to fit more seamlessly into the modern railway system than any coal-fuelled machine.
With an 80% increase in thermal efficiency over "classic" steam, and almost 3500 horsepower available at the cylinders, the 5AT's performance would amply demonstrate the untapped potential that steam traction is capable of delivering in the 21st Century.
Features of the 5AT include:
The 5AT's fuel and water ranges are calculated to be 925 km (570 miles) and 610 km (380 miles ) respectively under representative average service conditions, and 552 km (345 miles) and 367 km (230 miles) respectively at maximum drawbar power - i.e. at 1890 kW (2535 hp) and 113 km/h (70 mph). See Operating Range page.