Fantasy New Build: run-off poll


Thank you to everyone who voted in the Fantasy New Build poll, and to everyone who contributed to the lively and interesting discussion in the comments. In total, 494 votes were cast – infuriatingly short of a round 500! However, with such a long list to choose from, voting so far doesn’t give a clear victory even to the top choice, so the two most popular choices are presented in the poll above, in a run-off to find a clear-cut winner.

Interestingly, the votes in the first poll favoured the arguably most impractical suggestions. The top two choices are a prototype that was taken no further by its creators, and a locomotive that its designers have already declared will not be built at all! However, the vote was held on the basis of no restrictions (other than being a UK design, standard gauge and a steam locomotive), and above all on the basis that it should be a bit of fun, so rest assured there has been, and will be, no editorial tinkering to produce what some might view as a more ‘sensible’ result.

During the course of the voting, the Great Bear held a consistent lead, with the LMS Garratt and 5AT regularly swapping between 2nd and 3rd places, before 5AT nudged ahead and in fact tied with The Great Bear exactly by the end. With the LNER Class W1 ‘Hush Hush’ in 4th, the arguably more practical locomotives for today’s preserved or main line operations don’t appear until the Caledonian Railway Cardean 4-6-0 and LBSCR K-class mogul in 5th and 6th places. Some options that appeared popular in the comments, such as the two Atlantics on the list or the proposed BR Standard mikado, came nowhere in the actual voting.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the poll so far, and will cast a final vote to find the most popular, albeit hypothetical, Fantasy New Build project. We may run a similar poll in a year’s time, perhaps taking a more curated approach to identify practical suggestions – keep an eye out in late 2017. In the meantime, this run-off poll will be open until late January (the closing date will be confirmed on social media and in the comments section), and the final news round-up of 2016 will be published shortly.

For the record, the full results of the first poll were (with vote share as a percentage):

  1. THE GREAT BEAR 8.7%
  2. 5AT 8.7%
  3. LMS GARRATT 7.89%
  4. LNER CLASS W1 6.68%
  5. CALEDONIAN RAILWAY ‘CARDEAN’ CLASS / 903 OR 49 CLASS 6.07%
  6. LONDON, BRIGHTON AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY CLASS K 5.87%
  7. SOUTHERN RAILWAY LEADER CLASS 5.87%
  8. LONDON, BRIGHTON AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY CLASS L1 / ‘REMEMBRANCE’ CLASS 5.67%
  9. MIDLAND RAILWAY LICKEY BANKER (‘BIG BERTHA’) 4.86%
  10. LNER CLASS P1 4.86%
  11. LNWR CLAUGHTON CLASS 4.45%
  12. GREAT CENTRAL RAILWAY CLASS N9 / LNER CLASS A5 4.45%
  13. LONDON, BRIGHTON AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY CLASS E2 3.44%
  14. LNER CLASS A8 3.44%
  15. LONDON, BRIGHTON AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY ‘JENNY LIND’ CLASS 2.83%
  16. MIDLAND RAILWAY CLASS 3F 2.83%
  17. BR STANDARD CLASS 8(?)F 2.43%
  18. HIGHLAND RAILWAY ‘RIVER’ CLASS / CALEDONIAN RAILWAY CLASS 938 2.23%
  19. LONDON AND SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY CLASS 395 2.23%
  20. NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY H CLASS / LNER CLASS C10 (LATER REBUILT AS C11) 2.23%
  21. NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY CLASS Z / LNER CLASS C7 2.23%
  22. LONDON, BRIGHTON AND SOUTH COAST RAILWAY J1 OR J2 1.62%
  23. GLASGOW AND SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY CLASS 540 0.4%

Further information about all the contenders can be found via the original article.

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11 comments

  1. I am somewhat disappointed to see that my choice of fantasy new build, The Gresley P1, did not attract as much support as I had hoped. Perhaps the Tornado/Prince of Wales boys might consider such an engine in the future? Of the two final contenders, I think maybe ‘The Great Bear’ should only be considered if the faults in it were ironed out. The results of the 1925 locomotive exchanges between an LNER A1 and a GWR Castle showed a marked superiority of the GWR locomotive over that of the LNER. But who benefited from the trial? The LNER improved their A1 by fitting long travel valves and increasing the boiler pressure to something like the GWR engine and got a much improved performance. The GWR however, decided that there was only one thing better than a Castle: two Castles! and proceeded to rebuild The Great Bear as a Castle. An opportunity was lost here to produce something really good. A case could surely have been made to improve The Great Bear. Something along the lines of: “We have beaten the LNER soundly both here and on their lines as well. We have the best engine and everyone has seen it so. Their engine did however have some good points and I would like to experiment with our Pacific ….” After Stanier had been lured away to improve the LMS locomotive fleet, the GWR sadly got left behind. If a new Great Bear were built, I suggest it would have to incorporate many design improvements and alterations to it’s original appearance to make it a success. Much better to spend the money on an improved Gresley P1!

    • Hi David – I’m afraid your suggestion came in after the poll had started, so it was too late to include it. There were a few late suggestions, so I’ve made a note of them and will try and include them in any future exercise of this sort in some way.

  2. Was surprised at the 3rd place for my suggestion for the Garrett. Personally I think the inclusion of the 5AT was a bit off as it is not a replica but a completely new design. I cannot comment on the Great Bear as I have not really researched that. The LNER site was negative on the P1 as it basically was saying with the designed load that it did only around 35mph with its load. While I like the idea of Big Bertha I feel that it would be better as a display item as I think it would be a coal hog as it was designed as a banker and not for speed.
    While these are personal thoughts I was pleasantly surprised at the breadth of suggestions and hope in the future that people actually team up to make these a reality. There are those who would say keep the ones we have running, but i feel that newer types would bring in visitors to where they are based. The support that new builds are getting shows the support is there

  3. Everyone seems to be focussing on building 20th century locos, surely popular 19th century locos like the ‘Jenny Lind’ would be cheaper and easier to build?

    • Clive raises an interesting point here. A Jenny Lind would indeed be ‘nice to have’, but where would it run? The general view seems to be that any new build will have to pay it’s way, which is why the proposals are mostly big modern-ish locomotives. It might be difficult to attract the funding for such a locomotive. However there are a couple of ‘Jenny Lind’ style new builds in progress, the Bloomer at Tyseley and the Great Central 4-4-0 at Ruddington are two Victorian express engines which spring to mind, but unfortunately I don’t see them being allowed to run on the main line when completed… I visited the NRM last year to sample the Flying Scotsman experience, (which was OK) and saw the genuine tender now coupled to Stirling No 1. Now that really was good. But it set me thinking, there is no preserved Sturrock locomotive to display the full East Coast timelife. But there is the old Sturrock tender from No 1. A good case could be made here for the engine part and create the missing part in the story. I suggested this to an official, but was informed the NRM was not the place for new build projects! I therefore asked what would happen to the old tender. Unfortunately I did not get a reply…

  4. Odd results I feel for the top two. The Great Bear was not a great success, it was just built really so the GWR would have the biggest engine, a one off that was not developed further. The 5AT is neither one thing nor the other, it has no history or heritage. but as its still steam I cant see modern traction enthusiasts being interested in it either.

  5. Thanks for all the engagement and voting so far, everyone! Just so you know, the poll will close after the end of January 20th (ie probably some time early on the 21st – I can’t schedule it in advance).

  6. I follow the steam scene as an avid GWR fan of 70 approx years.Missed out on this survey. Oh for a parallel boilered Aberdare. Obviously no chance for me !

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