45% complete, Darlington agreement





The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which is building the first new mainline steam locomotive to be built in Britain since 1960, today announced that the locomotive is now 45% complete by weight – 38 tons out of an estimated 85 tons for the completed locomotive (excluding tender) – although many components still need significant work doing to them. The project has made significant progress over the past year, with the casting of six 6′ 8″ driving wheels, the casting of the middle of the three cylinders (the outside pair will be cast shortly) and significant work to the locomotive’s main frames.

David Champion, Chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “With the casting of the two outside cylinders now imminent, the new Peppercorn Class A1 No. 60163 Tornado is now visibly taking shape before us and is now 45% complete by weight. There is now no doubt that Tornado will be completed – ‘when’ depends solely upon the rate at which the Trust’s income continues to increase and it is our aim to double our number of Covenantors over the coming year.”


The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has been granted planning permission by Darlington Borough Council to convert the former Stockton & Darlington Railway Hopetown Carriage Works into the new ‘Darlington Steam Locomotive Works’, where the final erection of No. 60163 Tornado will take place. The Trust has already established its
administrative office in the Darlington Railway Centre & Museum at the town’s North Road Station opposite the new Works.

Stuart Palmer, Solicitor to The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and Chairman of its Darlington Working Committee, said, “We are obviously delighted to have been granted planning permission for the new ‘Darlington Steam Locomotive Works’ – another major milestone for the Trust. We are now working with Darlington Borough Council, Darlington Business Venture and local businesses to put in place the necessary funding to convert the Carriage
Works into a steam locomotive construction and maintenance workshop.”


Work on the locomotive’s main frames continues to progress rapidly at Tyseley Locomotive Works (TLW), Birmingham:

  • A recent delivery of round and hexagonal steel bars from long-term sponsor Macreadys is being put to a variety of uses in the manufacture of fitted bolts for the star stay, drag box, hornblocks, hornstays and rear frames.
  • Lloyds of Burton-upon-Trent has completed the casting of the drag box, bogie bottom centre and inside motion plate, with the former now at Brookside Engineering, Tutbury for machining.
  • a considerable number of frame stretchers and other components, including the spring hanger brackets, front and rear firebox support brackets, bogie top centre and bogie frame stays have been dispatched to Brookside Engineering, Tutbury for machining and many have already been completed and returned to TLW.
  • the star stay, manufactured by Mercia Fabrications of Dudley, has been machined by Ufone Engineering of Rowley Regis and returned to Tyseley where it has been fitted to the frames. Mercia have delivered further fabrications including the footplate supports and engine steps which are now in position on the frames.
  • TLW staff have fitted the hornblocks and hornstays, firebox support bracket (back and front), rear side rubbing plates and cross stay to the mainframes and completed the bufferbeam and gussets.
  • TM Engineers of Kingswinford, Dudley has welded the stiffeners to the bogie frame plates, stress relieved and fully machined them. They have been returned to TLW and are awaiting the delivery of the bogie frame stays and bottom centre before the assembly of the bogie can commence.
  • the initial platework of the cab floor is under manufacture.
  • In addition, British Steel Engineering of Renishaw has started production process of the outside pair of cylinder castings and Lloyds has started the process to cast the rear truck and front bogie wheels.


A new company to our growing list of sponsor partners who are playing such a vital role in Tornado’s construction. We are now seeking sponsors to help with the forging and machining of the motion and the construction of the boiler so that we can put the paint to an early use.”