In the spirit of the 19th Century “Races to the North”, BBC television’s “Top Gear” programme threw down the gauntlet for the builders of brand new Peppercorn A1 Class Tornado and challenged them to a race from London to Edinburgh. In a thrilling contest that harked back to the great days of the ‘fifties the train blasted away from Kings Cross at 7.30am on the 25th of April with Jeremy Clarkson on board. Meanwhile Richard Hammond, astride a classic Vincent motorbike, and James May, driving a Jaguar XK120, set off in hot pursuit on the A1 (road!). Tornado, well in command of its load of 10 coaches, easily mastered the tight timetable and with efficient stops for water at Grantham, York, Newcastle and Berwick, managed to keep to the demanding schedule all the way to the Scottish capital. With Hammond and May making good progess it was always going to be a close finsh…. but you’ll have to catch the programme in June to see who won!
Tornado races north at Lolham Bridges – Neil Whitaker
The run was supported by passengers who booked through Steam Dreams and paid £250 each and the BBC provided a helicopter. Steam Dreams organised the run, and all of the companies involved did everything at cost to ensure the budget was affordable. The train was being run with the support of DB Schenker, Network Rail and Riviera Trains with any proceeds being donated to the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. We thank both organisations for their support in undertaking this operation on a non profit basis. Additionally National Express East Coast helped ticketing and provided discounted tickets for the participants return journeys.