A YEAR OF CONSOLIDATION
Due to to a number of external pressures, progress during 2001 unfortunately slowed. Following an approach by Darlington Council, the Trust relinquished the southern half of the Hopetown building to give the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) a base in the city. Although not required for the construction of Tornado, it had been hoped to attract sufficient contract work to keep this part of the works busy but this, alas, had proved hard to achieve. All the machinery and facilities were consolidated in the northern half of the building and work continued on fitting this out for the final assmbly of the locomotive.
A driving wheelset with tyres fitted
Another issue which brought progress to a stand in 2001 was that of non-conformance. Concerns had been raised that there might problems with the frames, something that had been recognised in 1997, soon after the frames had been delivered to Darlington. The problems were mostly relatively minor in nature and no immediate action was taken, other than with the hornguides and middle motion bracket. An independent survey indicated that there were less than sixty non-conformances that required rectification. The cost of the work, £13, 908, was largely borne, under warranty, by the contractors.
The boiler – meanwhile, work continued to find a supplier who could build a boiler based on the original LNER diagram 118 design while meeting modern EU pressure vessel directives and satisfy Railway Safety Ltd., HMRI, Railtrack and our insurers. The Trust approached a dozen UK firms of which three responded but the turmoil the British pressure vessel industry was going through at the time caused them to drop out, either through lack of resources or because of the Trust’s requirement that the boiler be designed and built by the same company. In consequence attention turned to Europe. Interlok, a Polish company initially expressed an interest but gradually Dampflokwerk Meiningen emerged as the front runner. Based in the former East Germany, the ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn locomotive works was still capable of manufacturing such engineering masterpieces and, critically, was still part of German Federal Railways (Deutsche Bahn).