Coupling rods fitted


Coupling rods fitted to Tornado at Darlington Locomotive Works

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity that is building the first new mainline steam locomotive in Britain for over 40 years, today announced that No. 60163 Tornado is now a Pacific following the fitting of all four coupling rods to its six 6ft8in driving wheels (the name Pacific refers to the 4-6-2 wheel arrangement under the Whyte Notation of steam locomotive wheel arrangements) which now rotate freely together for the first time.

Each of the four 7ft 6in rods weighs around two hundredweight and after forging, extensive machining and heat treatment, the four cost around £22,000 to manufacture. These rods are vital components within the £150,000 valve gear and motion assemblies, which are now the focus of work on Tornado at the Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works.

The Trust has also started work on the fitting of the rest of the outside motion. The bushes for the connecting rods are currently being machined at Ian Howitt Ltd, Wakefield and one side of the locomotive has now been fitted with a mock-up of parts of its valve gear. This is to enable accurate measurements to be taken to set the length of the eccentric rod as the traditional method of heating the rod to stretch/shrink it used when the original Peppercorn A1s were built in 1948/9 is no longer recommended as it can affect the rod’s metallurgical properties.

The A1 Trust is building Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado at its Darlington Locomotive Works and when complete it will be used on charter trains operating on Network Rail. Significant progress has been made on the construction of Tornado, with over £1m raised to-date through deeds of covenant and commercial sponsorship.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented: “Tornado becoming a Pacific is another major step forward for the Trust, following on the heels of the announcement of our boiler re-design and procurement decisions. Ten years after construction started, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is still the only organisation to have made significant progress towards building a brand new ‘modern’ steam locomotive following British Railway’s last one in 1960, rather than restoring or heavily rebuilding one into another class and we have now raised and spent in excess of £1m on the project.

“We are now looking to railway enthusiasts throughout the country to help us complete Tornado through taking part in our covenant scheme and/or our £500,000 bond issue.”