The Class G5 Locomotive Company Limited was founded by a group of Northern Railway enthusiasts, to recreate a full-size prototypical North Eastern Railway class O (LNER class G5). The intention is that the locomotive will be used initially heritage railways, such as those at Weardale, Wensleydale and Aln Valley but later on the main-line.
The founding group felt that there is an increasing shortage of first class steam locomotives of this size and capacity available for use on heritage railways. Most small to medium sized locomotives are over 60 years old with all of the associated problems and many of the preserved industrial-type locomotives are either too small or do not have the capacity to cope with longer, heavier, trains.
In February 2009 the decision was taken to build the locomotive to main-line standards so that it can obtain main-line certification status. The belief being that whilst it increases the final building cost it will help to maximise and secure future income.
The locomotive is being assembled at the groups unit at the Hackworth Industrial Park in Shildon. By August 2016 the main frames had been assembled with all the major castings and the horn guides fully fitted. The boiler and bogie were also complete as was the rear cab, coal bunker and water tank. The main driving wheels had been cast and the leading wheels fully assembled.
Work completed by the start of 2016:-
- The main frames. They are assembled together with all the major castings, cylinder blocks, drag box, bogie support, motion bracket and horne guides. The frames are mounted on the bogie.
- The all welded boiler is completely finished except for hydraulic testing.
- The bogie, completed to main line standards.
- The rear of the cab incorporating the bunker and rear water tank.
- The leading wheelset is complete.
- The wheels and tyres for the crank axe are finished and are in the unit at Shildon.
The plan by early 2018 is that a rolling chassis will be completed by mid 2018. The boiler, which is the largest built in Britain in the last 50 years, has been completed.
It is anticipated that the locomotive will be completed around 2022/23.