Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented:

“Although the Trust’s fundraising efforts are breaking all previous records there have been significant increases in costs around materials, labour and certification which mean that the Trust needs to raise an additional £50,000 above that already pledged over the next three months to have Tornado certified and entering main line service in the autumn. In addition to its covenanting, dedicated donation and bond issue the Trust has launched a new fundraising initiative – first turn of the wheel.”

A recent review of the project cost to complete has identified some major cost increases on the construction of the project, due to three main reasons:
  • Under-estimation of the time taken to complete final assembly
  • Costs of certification due to unique nature of project
  • Continuing very significant price rises in energy and raw materials

Thanks to significant help from a number of supporters much of this revised funding gap has been addressed but it still stands at £50,000.

Although there will be no impact on Tornado’s entry into main line service in the autumn it has been decided to put back her move to the Great Central Railway (GCR) at Loughborough until the end of May and consequently all other key dates are being adjusted accordingly. It is still the Trust’s intention to have the locomotive in steam and if at all possible moving under its own power for its covenantor’s spring open weekend on 26/27th April and it will haul its first passenger trains, for covenantors only, on the GCR on weekend of 28/29th June.

The locomotive is now 97.5% complete and the tender 96.0% complete. Tornado is still on schedule to enter main line service in September 2008.

Mark Allatt continued:

“Be part of this defining moment in the history of the project. The Trust is offering the opportunity to be part of the sponsorship for the first turn of the wheels. With a donation of £25 you can have your name – or the name of someone you nominate – on a certificate that will record the moment when Tornado first moved under her own power. The sponsorship is available for each set of wheels on the locomotive and tender.

“As part of the celebration of the first movement of Tornado under her own steam, the Trust will present to one of the sponsors of the first turn of the wheel an unrepeatable memento of the occasion.”