Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented: “Although the Trust’s fundraising efforts are breaking all previous records, significant increases in costs around materials, labour and certification meant that the Trust announced last month that it needed to raise an additional £50,000 above that already pledged Tornado certified and entering main line service in the autumn. Since that announcement the generosity of our supporters means that £19,000 has been raised, leaving just another £31,000 to be found.”



A last month’s review of the project cost to complete 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 the generosity of our supporters the revised funding gap has reduced from £50,000 to £31,000. 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 mid-June and consequently all other key dates are being adjusted accordingly. The locomotive will therefore not now be in steam at our Covenantors’ spring open weekend on 26/27th April. It is still intended that Tornado will haul her first passenger trains, for Covenantors only, on the GCR on weekend of 28/29th June. Tornado is still on schedule to enter main line service in autumn 2008.




The piston and valve rings have been delivered. Following a discussion with John Graham (CME of NELPG/The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust) we are no longer going to fit ring stops on the pistons as current practice is not to fit them. Steve Andrews of The Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust has produced the packings and Ian Howitt is completing spherical machining of the details. Peter Neesam has de-burred and cleaned out the steam and exhaust passages in the cylinders in anticipation of final assembly.


The inside connecting rod torque setting has been completed and the rod is now ready for final fitting at the appropriate time. Ian Howitt has continued to assemble motion including fitting pins.


Pipe work has concentrated on installing and piping to the disconnect points between the engine and the tender, installation of the air pump lubricators and associated pipe runs. AB Hoses have been invited back to assist in specifying the engine/tender hoses. GN Steam has completed machining of the new whistle base – the final assembly will be completed now that the whistle has been trial fitted to the cab front. Further work continues on connecting up gravity oil boxes.


Ian Howitt has modified the loco brake cross stays and they will be returned from Crofton shortly. He is also producing the final brake pins. GN Steam has welded the one set of end forks onto each pull rod to enable a trial assembly in the near future.


MultiTech has completed the main steam pipe flanges. This will permit completion of the main steam pipes in the near future. A large number of gaskets have been procured for steam fittings and pipe joints. Peter Neesam has completed insulating the boiler and re-fitting the cladding including manufacture of the trailing wheel splashers. The drawing for the new banjo dome casing has been completed and is with the North Norfolk Railway for manufacture. The fire arch has been cast in-situ which enabled the fire hole door mask to be fitted which in turn has permitted completion of the back head cladding. GN Steam has manufactured the fire hole leg guards and these are now fitted to the backhead.


The bogie and Cartazzi spring gear is now complete. Owens now has the material for the coupled wheel springs which should be ready before the end of April.


The new (thicker) phosphor bronze bearing strips for the bogie crosshead have been delivered by MultiTech and a concentrated effort on the bogie to finish it is planned for the near future.


The cab front windscreens and side screens have been fitted (minus glass) and are awaiting fitting of catches which the Trust’s Anglia Support Group is delivering during the forthcoming Spring Covenantors’ Meeting. Glazing has been ordered from Romag. The pipe work and equipment has been stripped out in anticipation of painting. Further adjustment has been made to the front flange of the cab to make a better fit with the boiler cladding.


Additional work has been required to re-fit the alternator and its regulator following the reinforcement of the tender back drag box. Otherwise Paul Depledge continues to make good progress with the conduit runs and boxes for the electrical system. Volunteer Rob Payne has assembled the essential and auxiliary I/O boxes which along with the GN Steam made under-cab routing boxes are presently being zinc plated and passivated. The front marker lamps have been fitted and Paul is presently on with fitting and conduiting the rear marker lamps


The issue of the strength of the tender drag box has been resolved to the satisfaction of the VAB by partially filling in the obround holes in the bottom face of the drag box and by adding a substantial stiffener plate to the inside of the front face of the drag box where the coupling spring rests. This work was completed on Tuesday 15th April which after a further two days for painting, modifying the mountings for the alternator and alternator regulator and refitting the pipe work, the tank to was lowered and bolted down to the frames on Friday 18th April. A start has been made on installing tender brake control equipment to the right of the coal doors above the locker. Progress with this should be rapid now the tank is on the frames. Ian Howitt has completed the brake cross stay and has made the final brake pins. The only outstanding items are some hand brake details and the buffers, all of which are in manufacture. The hand rails have also been fitted to the tank. The reservoir carriers can now be completed and the reservoirs bolted on for the last time. This will enable Tom Snowball to complete the air and brake system plumbing. The tender/engine disconnect points have been fitted with some of the associated pipe work.


Over a one week period at the end of March/ early April, we had three certification visits. The NoBo audit on 26/27th March, VAB construction scrutiny visit on 31st March and the ORR/VAB/NR visit on 2nd April were all successful. On 17th April Tony Broughton visited to collect information to produce the design conformity documentation for the tender.