Completion by 2007 possible

TORNADO TO BE COMPLETED IN THREE YEARS

Coal fired No. 60163 in steam by end of 2007 and on mainline in 2008?

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 over £2m, today announced that No. 60163 Tornado is to be completed by the end of 2007 and will be running on the mainline in 2008. The announcement follows a successful 11th Annual Convention attended by around 200 supporters at the Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works on Saturday 9th October where No. 60163 Tornado is under construction.

Having just fitted the coupling rods to No. 60163 Tornado, the Trust rotated the six 6ft8in driving wheels together on the incomplete locomotive for the first time in public at the Convention. The Trust also unveiled several significant new components for Tornado including other valve gear and motion components ready for fitting to the locomotive.

The following key announcements were made at the Convention:

1. Following meetings with financial institutions the Trust’s strategy has been changed to reflect their requirement for supporting us
2. Having raised and spent over £1m on Tornado to-date, around £1m is now required to complete the locomotive
3. Provided that the Trust’s covenanted income grows steadily, there is a complete take up of the £500,000 bond issue and a facility can be agreed with a financial institution, Tornado can be steamed in 2007 and enter mainline service in 2008
4. The capital demands of oil firing combined with the demands of the financial institutions mean that Tornado will be initially coal fired but oil-ready; oil firing will be reconsidered at its first 10 year overhaul
5. The Trust is taking a stage-by-stage approach to 90mph mainline running
6. A separate business case has been put together for the second tender/water carrier and specifications are now being worked on.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented: “Following right on the heels of Tornado becoming a Pacific [Pacific refers to the 4-6-2 wheel arrangement under the Whyte Notation of steam locomotive wheel arrangements], we are now confident that subject to the full take up of our £½m bond issue, the agreement of a facility with a financial institution and the continued steady growth in our number of supporters, a coal fired Tornado can be in steam by the end of 2007. This would then see No. 60163 entering mainline service in 2008.

“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.”