5at Train

The 5AT Group - Steaming Ahead with Advanced Technology

Enhancing Performance -- Improving Reliability -- Reducing Costs -- Controlling Emissions

Published Articles and Correspondence about Modern Steam and the 5AT Project - 1998 - 2001

Section 1: UK Railway Press 1998/2001

The 5AT must have originated in David Wardale's mind sometime before he finished writing his book "The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam". The idea makes its appearance in the concluding chapter of that book (at the bottom of page 497), which he then dubbed the "Super Class 5 4-6-0". Since then, reference to it has appeared in several magazines:

  • Apr 1998 - Steam Railway - Issue 216 p.36: Wardale first broadcast his idea for a new steam locomotive in an article in Steam Railway's April 1998 issue titled "Whither Steam Now" by when the locomotive had changed its name to '5GT'. The article presented a very forceful case for an economically viable modern steam locomotive to take over main line duties from "classic" steam, and including the observation that "arguably the most celebrated British steam haulage feat of all time was A4 Capercaillie's wartime run between Darlington and York when 75 mph was averaged over 24.9 miles pulling 730 tons, requiring only some 2200 dbhp, which is not more than 85% of the power output that the much smaller 5GT would be able to sustain at the same speed".

  • Nov 1999 - Railway Magazine - p.35: The Railway Magazine followed a year later in November 1999 with an article on modern steam titled "Clean Steam" and written by Chris Milner. Instead of the 5GT, this article focused on Roger Waller's work with Sulzer Winpro in Switzerland, with particular reference to his spectacular rebuild of Kriegslok 2-10-0 No 52 8055. The only correspondence that resulted was a letter from John Hine which was published in RM's March 2000 (p.39). Chris Newman's letter to RM written in response to John Hine's did not get published.

  • June-July 2000 - Locomotives International issue No 54 (p.1): Paul Catchpole, editor/proprietor of Locomotives International, was next to raise the subject of modern steam when he wrote an editorial titled "What Could You Do With £1.7 Million?" which challenged the enthusiast fraternity to forward with a 21st Century Steam Locomotive Project.

  • Aug-Sept 2000 - Locomotives International No 55 p.2, featured David Wardale's response to Catchpole's challenge with a page 2 lead article titled "What Could You Do With £1.7 Million? David Wardale's Answer" in which he carried forward his earlier ideas and set out his criteria for an economically viable modern main line locomotive for the tourist market. His criteria were (1) it must be aesthetically attractive, (2) it must give very high reliability and (3) it must offer high performance in terms of high power output and low fuel and water consumption. The locomotive was still called the 5GT at this stage, and the possibility of it being a 3-cylinder compound was still a possibility. David nevertheless warned that "if the very tepid published response which the deliberately provocative 'Whither Steam Now?' produced is anything to go by, it will remain simply an idea". Catchpole dedicated a second editorial to the subject, this time challenging people to come forward to take on the project.

  • Oct-Nov 2000 - Locomotives International Issue No 56 introduced the first of Robin Barnes's paintings of the 5AT which was commissioned by Paul Catchpole and donated to the cause by the artist. The painting appeared on the front cover of the magazine with the locomotive displaying a green colour scheme, and fitted with its original short tender and protruding feed-water heater in front of the chimney. The magazine's editorial encouraged readers to offer their comments.

  • Oct-Nov 2000 - Locomotives International Issue 56 p.23 also contained an article by Bob Butrims, Maintenance Manager of the West Coast Railway Company of Victoria, Australia titled "The World's Most Modern Steam Locomotive" in which he described the operation in regular service of the semi-Porta-ized 4-6-4 R711. The article concluded with a response to David Wardale's 5AT proposals in which he criticized several aspects of the proposed design - in particular the choice of a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement because of the necessity to use a narrow firebox and because of the poor ride quality that might be expected. This prompted a response from Wardale in the Feb-Mar 2001 issue No 57 (p.29) in which he strongly defended his design noting that a narrow firebox was a far better arrangement for both for oil-firing and for a GPCS (Gas Producer Combustion System) and also facilitated locomotive operation by allowing fitting of a self-emptying ash-pan for quick ash removal. David also noted that Britannia 4-6-2s were rejected by GWR footplatemen because their ride quality was nowhere near as good as the 4-6-0 Castles and Kings. David also challenged Bob Butrims's definition of reliability as applied to R711. The same issue also contained further exhortations by Catchpole for readers to respond with offers to lead and participate in the project.

  • Feb 2001 Railway Magazine p.71: In Feb 2001 a "news" article appeared in Railway Magazine headed "Wardale reveals £1.7 million 'new steam' proposal for the heritage market" featuring a reproduction of Robin Barnes's "green machine" that had appeared in Locomotives International the year before.  Chris Newman's response to the article was not published.

  • April-May 2001 - Steam Railway's issue 257 ran an editorial which asked the question "What sort of main line will there be in five or ten years' time? The network is getting ever-more crowded and increasing safety demands have the potential to force steam off the core high-speed routes in the longer term". This drew a response from Alan Fozard in SR 259 June-July 2001 p.43 in which he questioned whether "old" steam will be allowed to run all at all in 5 or 10 years time, and suggested that "the only practical solution to this major problem is that suggested by David Wardale who proposes a new, modern, high-powered 4-6-0". SR published a further letter from Chris Newman in SR 261 Aug-Sept 2001 p.40 in support of Fozard's view, stating that it would be a "huge and irredeemable loss if the opportunity is missed to take advantage of Wardale's (and Porta's) knowledge and experience whilst they are still actively involved in steam development".

  • May-June 2001 - Locomotives International Issue 58 p.1 contained an editorial announcing the Alan Fozard's involvement in the preparation of the Business Plan for the 5AT, while issue 59 (Aug-Sept 2001) published several reader responses including one from artist Robin Barnes.