Recently a new build project has been announced to build a brand new LBSCR E2 locomotive with an extended bunker so it can run on heritage railways, there is already a website up about it which you can find here
First of all why is there a website up? Whoever came up with the idea to build a new E2 has jumped the gun and rushed straight into setting up a website without generating enough interest, yes there is a Facebook group but before jumping the gun to start a web enough interest has to be generated from people first before even considering the idea to build such a loco. Take the Project Kestrel Facebook group, they are on Facebook to generate interest before building a new HS4000 Kestrel Diesel Locomotive and they haven't started a web up yet and for granted its been the same thing with most new build projects too because if you rush into a web and don't have enough interest then the project will come to nothing. There hasn't been much going on over at the group anyway which seems to say something especially since its all related to a certain fictional character.
The crucial thing is this, the E2 has never been a popular locomotive among rail enthusiasts, only outside of the hobby has this loco been well known for the sake of a fictional character in a certain children TV programme. Plus even if it were to get built it would only be looked at as that said character anyway not to mention i don't know anyone who has the E2 as their favorite steam locomotive, for me personally i have never had any care or interest in this class of locomotive.
Also this engine is supposedly going to have an extended bunker so that it can run on heritage lines and travel longer distances. The E2's never had any extended bunkers and for that reason were shunting locomotives as they couldn't travel on the mainline and its only going to be this somewhat simple modification that will allow this locomotive to run on a heritage line which to me i find a waste of time in doing so, you could argue the same with other new build projects yes but they have generated more interest and are more popular among people than the announcement of a new build E2, take Tornado for example, its popular among enthusiasts, its well known and its considered to be one of the most famous locos in the world! Then you have The Patriot Projects Unknown Warrior, yes its not finished yet at the time of writing and posting this but its still a more popular locomotive than an E2 and so has the A1 and other new build projects for that matter. Just how popular would this loco be if it were built, i don't think it would be that popular at all if i am honest though thats just me.
Another thing is that i have heard some discussion about having this engine run as a certain TV character for certain events on heritage railways. Its not mentioned on the actual web but there are two CGI renders of this supposed new build loco one in LBSC livery and the other in the livery worn by the childrens character, this is another reason why i don't think an E2 should be built because it would only be seen by parents and their children who go to these events so it wouldn't be seen by many, plus only a handful of heritage lines run these events anyway which would somewhat limit its use and again it would only be popular with kids not enthusiasts. Plus there are plenty of other engines even a replica of the character running round to play the role of Thomas in these events, building a new build engine for these events is just a complete waste of money and time in my opinion.
We will go back to the Facebook group, there are 114 members or so but that is not enough interest for a project like yes, someone is probably shouting at the screen saying it is but you need thousands of people to generate enough interest really before even considering on a new build, plus given whats put on Facebook its nothing related to the project, just stuff mostly to do with the fictional character that was based on this loco, it doesn't seem to me that this is a genuine new build project either or a project that will be properly funded. For one thing its never been discussed in any magazines and its not all that well talked about either by enthusiasts i have come across.Also if this project does go ahead has anyone figured out where it is going to be built, where it will run and be based at and what parts will be built etc and more importantly how much it will all cost? Also considering its mostly been the fictional character talked about with this it really does make me wonder this is what this new build project will be come and if that is the case should it happen then i am sorry but the new build doesn't work with me.
There are more interesting and better choices of locomotives for new builds than the E2 i'd be more interested and content on seeing an LNER V3, Gresley J50 or even having the boat pushed out and seeing a new build of The GWR Great Bear, these would be more popular choices because they were more popular in real life than the E2, well the last one is debatable but still these would be better choices.
As a throwback does anyone remember the new build project for a Gresley J39 announced some years back? Maybe not as this wasn't a well talked about new build project either and this project eventually came to nothing and this is what will probably happen with this project. Not saying this is what should happen but the point is anyone can hope to build new builds of extinct class of locos and start groups but the reality is they need to have enough interest in them otherwise they won't happen and this is what probably happened with the new build J39 project, i don't know as i don't know the full story on why it came to nothing but it was probably due to lack of interest.
If anyone who started this project is reading this i am not having a go at you or anything like that, i am just giving my own personal thoughts and expressing why i am disinterested in the idea because disinterested is what i am and thats fine, not everyone all the time has to be interested in ideas like this and to be honest i don't really see the point in this new build but to anyone who is behind this project then i wish you all the best and good luck IF this project does go ahead. These are after all my own opinions, you either agree with me or not, i understand either way but i do ask you to respect my thoughts and opinions, i am NOT bashing those behind the new build E2 again i am just expressing my own personal thoughts on this new build project.