Smokebox – The start of 1998 saw construction of the smokebox started.  The smokebox barrel, the first part of its boiler, was delivered to Darlington Locomotive Works on Tuesday 24th March 1998 for fitting to the locomotive’s frames.  The smokebox door was being manufactured by pioneer covenantor Ian Howitt. The door’s fittings were paid for through the Trust’s dedicated covenants scheme.



Rolls-Royce joins the team –  the Trust announced that Rolls-Royce plc had joined its growing list of sponsor-partners.  Our locomotive, Tornado, was named after the RAF fighter-bombers used in the 1990/91 Gulf War. Coincidentally, Rolls-Royce built the RB199 jet engines that power the Tornado jet.  Rolls-Royce would be helping the Trust by machining parts of the new locomotive’s three sets of motion at its Hebburn works. The motion comprises the metal rods that connect the locomotive’s three cylinders to its six 6’8” driving wheels. The Trust estimated that when completed, Tornado’s motion would have cost around £190,000 at full commercial rates.

Tender – after a certain amount of restoration had taken place, including sand-blasting and cleaning, an approach was made to the Trust by Flying Scotsman Services to buy the frames back to construct a water-cart for Bittern – given that the frames were already 70 years old and would have to be extensively modified to accept roller bearings, the decision was made to accept the offer and plan to construct brand new frames for No. 60163’s tender.

Wheelsets – The four 3ft 2in wheels, the rear 3ft 8in ponytruck and six 6ft 8in driving wheels were cast by William Cook plc on very advantageous terms to the Trust. This was the first time that a new set of wheels had been completed for a mainline steam locomotive since British Railways received its last new steam locomotive in 1960.  Cooks also cast a dummy wheel centre which would be used to test the interference fit with a dummy stub axle to find the correct pressing force required to locate the wheels on the axles.   All twelve locomotive tyres were delivered to Ian Riley & Co. at the East Lancashire Railway in Bury ready for fitting to the wheels.


A pile of 6’8″ tyres at Ian Riley’s workshop