AMRC “Clan Project” to build a historic locomotive

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Aaron Lockley and Tom Bruce of Chesterfield Special Cylinders digitising plans of the Clan Class steam engine
Aaron Lockley and Tom Bruce of Chesterfield Special Cylinders digitising plans of the Clan Class steam engine

Building a steam locomotive fit for the 21st Century. The apprentices at the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre are involved in the “Clan Project”, which consists of a 80 tonne British Railways Standard Class 6 locomotive using original drawings.

BR built 10 of the locomotives in the 1950s and named them after Scottish clans. Plans to build 15 more and name the first five  after Kentish warlords were abandoned due to  steel shortages, followed by a switch from steam to diesel.

None of the “Clan” Class locomotives survive, but the project team has microfilmed drawings for the next engine, which would have been the 1,000th Standard Class Steam Locomotive built by BR and was to be named “Hengist”, after a fifth century King of Kent.

If the team is to succeed, it needs to turn the 900 microfilmed drawings into modern CAD drawings.

“It’s an ideal challenge for the AMRC Training Centre apprentices,” said Phil Yates, a project engineer with the AMRC’s Integrated Manufacturing Group, who heard about the “Clan Project” from team member and near neighbour Geoff Turner.

CAD data is needed for the modern machine tools that will make the components and because the project team needs to comply with modern safety standards and wants to make Hengist more efficient.

Between six and 10 apprentices will gain vital CAD skills by working on the project in the coming months and there is scope for AMRC Training Centre apprentices to work on other parts of the Clan Project, which is due to be completed in 2026.