Tornado moves on own wheels for first time


150 to attend Convention to review progress

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity that is building the first new mainline steam locomotive in Britain for over 40 years at a cost of around £2 million, today hosted 150 supporters and covenantors at its Annual Convention in Darlington, County Durham. Having just fitted No. 60163 Tornado to its wheels, the Trust moved the incomplete locomotive on its own wheels for the first time. The Trust also unveiled several significant new components for Tornado including fettled coupling and connecting rods ready for fitting to the locomotive.

The Annual Convention included:

  • Construction progress over the past year: David Elliott, director of engineering, who described the painstaking hand fitting to high levels of accuracy that was required to ensure correct alignment of the wheels, including optical survey work undertaken by the Severn Valley Railway staff, and the design and manufacture of a special lifting beam required to allow the 6’8” driving wheels to be rolled under the locomotive safely.
  • Financial highlights: Barry Wilson, finance director, announced a monthly income of £11k with Tornado now worth £809k and over 1,700 £5pm equivalent covenantors. Wreford Voge, taxation director, gave a brief update on the Trust’s tax position.
  • Next steps: Andrew Dow, sponsorship director, is investigating how to pay for the boiler and tenders in parallel with the work on the frames through a cash injection of £1.25m through a bond issue, loan, benefactor or other arrangement.
  • Project plan: Rob Morland, project planning director, stated that the plan contains 310 separate tasks of which 110 are now complete, 34 started and in progress and 166 yet to be started. 2003 will see a change from building Tornado in £10,000 ‘chunks’ to commissioning the boiler at over £250,000 and two tenders at around £155,000 each.
  • The year ahead: Tony Roche, chief mechanical engineer, outlined the plans for the coming year:
  • – Frames      COMPLETE
    – Cylinders & Valves    COMPLETE
    – Wheels, Axles, Axleboxes &Springs COMPLETE
    – Bogies & Cartazzi   COMPLETE
    – Motion & Platework           85% Complete
    – Running Gear     Significant Progress
    – Boiler & Smokebox             Boiler ordered
    – Support Vehicle    Purchased
  • Tony also updated the meeting on the enhanced quality systems that the Trust has put in place and outlining the Safety Certification requirements for the project.
  • Appeal: Mark Allatt, chairman, appealed for existing covenantors to do what they can to increase their own donations through the dedicated covenant scheme (sponsoring a component) and recruiting new covenantors. He set a target of increasing monthly income by 20% by the 2003 Convention through recruiting 300 new covenantors. He went on to outline what the impact of a £1.25m cash injection in early 2003 would be on the completion date – 4th quarter 2004.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented: “Tornado moving for the first time on its own wheels is another major milestone in this ground- breaking project. The boiler is the final big hurdle for the Trust to overcome in its mission to build No. 60163 Tornado. We are confident that all of the technical, engineering and regulatory issues are soluble and we will be able to find a manufacturer to meet our requirements. Our biggest challenge is to raise the £1.25m needed to finish the locomotive and to pay for the £¼m boiler and £300,000 for the tenders at the same time as funding on-going work on the bottom half of the locomotive.

“The Trust hopes to announce its preferred supplier for the boiler and fundraising campaign early in 2003 and is still aiming to complete Tornado by the end of 2004, subject to our income continuing to grow at current rates and the cash injection, when it will be the first new express passenger steam locomotive for 50 years.”