To build and operate a Peppercorn class A1 Pacific steam locomotive

Wednesday 25th July 2012

With A1 60163 Tornado and Deltic D9009 Alycidon


Tornado proudly bears ‘The Elizabethan’ headboard – Ken Horan

In order to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, British Railways renamed ‘The Capitals Limited’ to ‘The Elizabethan’. The first runs of ‘The Elizabethan’ were made on Monday 29th June 1953, and then resumed for each summer season, until at the end of the 1961 season on Friday 8th September, when the last steam hauled runs were made. Being non-stop between London and Edinburgh in both directions, only corridor tender fitted Gresley class A4s could be used, the sheds at King’s Cross and Haymarket being those to provide them. The inaugural time for the journey was 6¾ hours but in 1954 that was reduced to 6½ hours or only 390 minutes start to stop for the 392.7 miles. From 1962, Deltics took over and whilst nominally non-stop to passengers, they halted briefly at Newcastle for crew changing.

‘The Elizabethan’ was immortalised in Elizabethan Express, the 1954 British Transport Film that follows the non-stop service from London to Edinburgh along the East Coast Main Line. Although originally intended as an advertising short, it now acts as a nostalgic record of the halcyon years of steam on British Railways and the ex-LNER class A4. It was directed by Tony Thompson, with a poetic commentary written by Paul Le Saux. It is also notable for its music by Clifton Parker, who wrote the score for several other British Transport Films.  You can view the complete film (in two parts) at the bottom of this page. The headboard is owned by the Elizabethan Railway Society, founded in November 1959 by a group of railway enthusiasts who came together to make visits to various railway sites and exchange information, photographs etc.  In 1963 one of the original headboards from ‘The Elizabethan’  was purchased from B.R. by the society members and has remained in the society’s possesion ever since.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is proud to present a unique railtour showcasing Tornado at her best and allowing nearly 400 miles of travel behind an iconic Deltic. In this Diamond Jubilee year we pay homage to ‘The Elizabethan’ express, the premier train on the East Coast Main Line in the post-war period.

On Wednesday 25th July 2012, Deltic D9009 Alycidon will set out from London King’s Cross station and head north to Edinburgh, pausing to collect passengers at Peterborough, York and Darlington. After a break in the Scottish Capital, Tornado will head the train south covering the 393 miles to London setting down as outward. This will be the first time a Brunswick Green A1 will have departed Edinburgh Waverley since the 1960s and we are pleased to confirm that the carriages will be in carmine and cream livery.


Deltic No. D9009 Alycidon is seen on the Great Central Railway – Alan Whincup

We expect there to be much fast running at the permitted maximum of 75mph and with this being a summer tour we anticipate wonderful views of the Scottish coast and the Northumberland and Yorkshire scenery with the long daylight hours.


Kings Cross 06.50
Sandy 07.23
Peterborough 08.02-08.04
Grantham 08.44
Newark North Gate 08.54
Retford 09.06
Doncaster 09.29-09.33
York 10.02-10.05 
Darlington 10.50 (No station stop)
Durham 11.08-11.13
Newcastle 11.31-11.35
Morpeth 11.56
Berwick-Upon-Tweed 12.30
Dunbar 12.54-13.04
Edinburgh 13.40

Edinburgh 15.58
Berwick 16.56
Newcastle 18.14-18.18
Durham 18.58-19.00
Darlington 19.20 (No station stop)
York 19.58-20.07
Doncaster 20.49-20.51
Newark 21.40
Peterborough 22.23
Connington 22.33-22.48
Huntingdon 22.55-22.57
Kings Cross 00:03