The 5AT will be the world's first "second generation" main line steam locomotive and will demonstrate the full capabilities and potential of modern steam locomotive design technology. The project is probably the most exciting main line steam locomotive venture for almost 50 years. A lot is riding on the outcome of the 5AT project - maybe the whole future of steam locomotion on the main line.
The technical feasibility of the 5AT locomotive has been proven by the recently completed Fundamental Design Calculations (FDCs). It is now extremely important to make appropriate plans for raising finance to undertake the development and building of the locomotive. Our present objective is to update the current business plan prior to a proposed presentation of the 5AT to the rail industry and to other potentially interested parties - probably at the end of 2005. The new version of the business plan will not only present the business case but will also act as a feasibility study for the 5AT. An engineering planning working party (5AT EPWP) has been set up to quantify the engineering processes and resources required to complete the project and also to refine earlier cost estimates. The results of the work carried out by the EPWP will be incorporated into the new version of the Business Plan.
We are also intending to set up an equivalent Commercial Planning Working Party (5AT CPWP) to investigate the best means of financing the project and to plan and co-ordinate the presentation of the 5AT project to potentially interested parties. The work of the CPWP will also include the further identification and feasibility of new commercial opportunities and ideas for the 5AT (e.g. cruise trains and business class premium timetabled trains). To enable us to do this effectively we are seeking help from people who have knowledge and experience of the following fields:
All work carried out by the 5AT Group members is voluntary and unpaid during this preliminary planning phase. However if you have experience and feel that you would like to actively contribute to what is a fascinating and important project for the furtherance and development of the steam locomotive, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org without delay, and if possible send us your CV per the attached proforma!
Note - Second Generation Steam: The celebrated Argentinean steam locomotive engineer Livio Dante Porta who died in 2003, devised the following classification of steam locomotives:
- First Generation Steam - practically all past locomotives - typical drawbar thermal efficiency of later locomotives approximately 7%
- Second Generation Steam - new designs incorporating the best proven modern steam locomotive technology - typical drawbar thermal efficiency 15%
- Third Generation Steam - totally new formats requiring considerable research and development to achieve - typical drawbar thermal efficiency 25%.
The 5AT project is one of the most complex and technically demanding "steam traction" projects that has been proposed since the beginning of the preservation or "post-steam" era. It is recognized that the task of undertaking the detailed design work for the locomotive will require high levels of engineering competence together with high levels of dedication, self-discipline and determination to ensure that the design work produces the results that will meet the performance levels that are expected from the locomotive.
The team that undertakes the detail design of the locomotive will have to combine 21st century engineering skills with experience in steam technology, particularly as it relates to steam traction. It is now 50 years since engineers across most of the world ceased working on the design of new steam locomotives, hence much of the first hand knowledge and experience of the work will have been lost. Notwithstanding, it is likely that there are still engineers around the world with knowledge and experience of "first generation steam" (FGS) locomotive design who might be willing to share their knowledge with us.
We are particularily interested in hearing from people who worked on the design or manufacture of steam locomotives whether for a manufacturer or a component supplier and who do not want to see their knowledge and skills lost, but would like to see them used and brought up-to-date with 21st century's design tools and techniques. So if you have been involved with the design of steam locomotives anywhere in the world, or if you know someone who has, please get in touch with us. We are hoping to create a knowledgebase of existing locomotive design skills whilst such practical experience still exists.
It would also be of great help if skilled mechanical engineers with or without steam experience who are interested in the possibility of working on this exciting project, register their interest with us. So if you have relevant experience and/or skills, please don't hesitate to contact us and register your interest. Write to us at email@example.com and if possible send us your CV per the attached proforma!
David Wardale offers the following comparisons between the 5AT and locomotives of the past to illustrate the scale of the task that will need to be undertaken in designing the 5AT:
"Challenges for the detail design work for the 5AT
Five critical areas - speed, thermal efficiency, power : weight ratio, reliability and safety, where the 5AT has to be better than anything done before, better than the engines of Gresley, Stanier, Chapelon, Wagner, Porta et al. The improvements might not seem very great but as % increases over the existing figures they are significant, and any extra would add still further to design complexity (refer to Fig. 163 on page 509 of The Red Devil for the effect of the law of diminishing returns and be thankful that we are not considering a four-cylinder compound, but note that whilst the 5AT is simple in concept it may not be so in detail, this being unavoidable for the level of performance aimed at).
The design has to start from where FGS left off. One cannot skip a generation in engineering development with any certainty as to the outcome, and the outcome must be certain. Therefore the 5AT team has to produce a locomotive from the existing base which will be significantly better than anything produced from that base before. What is more, the success in achieving this will depend absolutely on the detail design of its components: if not designed properly they will not function properly, and as the locomotive is the sum of its components neither will the complete machine. For it to work both the concept and the details have to be right: the concept is determined by the FDC's, the details by the quality of detail design, which therefore has to be better than anything done previously on steam traction."
Page created: 9th July 2004; last updated 13th Dec 2004