Advanced Steam Traction Trust
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 Advanced Steam Traction Trust seeks to promote the ongoing development of steam traction with the aim of prolonging its presence in the operation of both main line and heritage line workings. It can accomplish this by making steam locomotives:
- more efficient,
- less polluting,
- less costly to run and,
- above all, more reliable.
Born from the 5AT Group, the Trust aims to preserve for future generations the expertise and experience of pioneers of Modern Steam, such André Chapelon, Livio Dante Porta and David Wardale.
What differentiates “Modern Steam” locomotives from the locomotives of yesteryear? Outwardly there is little to distinguish one from the other. It is in the internals and in the details where the differences lie – or more fundamentally – in the engineering behind the design.
This website sets out to explain those differences by defining the Principles of Modern Steam and providing examples of what those principles can achieve (see Modern Steam Miscellany). It also offers guidance about the Modernising Options that can be made available to locomotive owners and builders by the Advanced Steam Traction Trust.
The 5AT Legacy
The Advanced Steam Traction Trust has inherited the legacy of the 5AT Project. This project, originally promulgated by David Wardale in the concluding pages of his seminal book "The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam", aimed to build the first new steam locomotive incorporating all of the proven technical advances developed since the 1960s, and was aimed at delivering the level of power, speed, range and reliability that will one day be needed to maintain an ongoing presence for steam on the main line railway system of the future.
Sadly the 5AT Project failed to attract the very considerable funding that was needed to design and construct a prototype locomotive. The Project Feasibility Study, completed in 2010, highlighted the difficulty in generating a satisfactory return on investment without ongoing orders for “production” locomotives over which the prototype's development costs could be spread.
Notwithstanding, the work of preparing the 5AT Feasibility Study included the production of a complete set of Fundamental Design Calculations by David Wardale which spell out the design processes to be followed in the development of virtually any new Modern Steam locomotive design. These calculations can also be adapted to “modernise” both existing locomotives and resurrections of old designs. It is these Fundamental Design Calculations that form the foundation of the Trust’s capability to offer its services to the heritage and new-build steam traction industry.
In addition to the Fundamental Design Calculations, the Trust is comprised of a team of experts in their own right whose credentials and experience are listed under the menu subheading (to be defined).