Tornado’s tender appeal reaches £200,000 pledged

Over 163 supporters have now joined The 163 Pacifics Club – The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce that its fundraising campaign – The 163 Pacifics Club – to purchase the locomotive’s tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd has reached its initial target of £200,000 pledged.  Tornado’s tender is leased to the Trust under a 15-year loan agreement which will come to an end in 2021. The tender is currently owned by William Cook Cast Products Ltd (the Trust’s Principal Sponsor) as chairman Sir Andrew Cook CBE kindly offered to fund the construction of the tender in 2006, allowing funds being raised to be spent on the engine. By 2014 the Trust had repaid all the £1m debt needed to complete Tornado in 2008 and funded the conversion of BR Mk 1 BCK E21249 into her support coach. The 163 Pacifics Club was launched in September 2013 to fund the purchase of Tornado’s tender on the lease’s expiration in 2021.

Tornado’s tender is a development of those built for the original Peppercorn class A1s – mainly due to the different operating environment on the modern Network Rail main line. Due to the lack of surviving steam infrastructure, water capacity is at a premium and so Tornado’s tender carries 6,200 gallons, as opposed to 5,000 gallons, and seven tons of coal, rather than nine tons in the original A1s. The tender is also the home for many of Tornado’s other unique features including an alternator, Timken cartridge roller bearings (pre-greased sealed self-contained units which do not have to be fitted in enclosed axleboxes), Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS), National Radio Network (NRN) radio, Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway (GSM-R) radio, GPS tracker and of course the mobile phone charger!

Membership of The 163 Pacifics Club has grown steadily since its launch in September 2013 and 166 of the initial 163 ex-LNER Express Passenger ‘Pacific’s’ plus the newly released Raven class A2s, Thompson classes A2/1s, A2/2s, A2/3s, Peppercorn class A2s and Gresley class A4s (destroyed No. 4469 Gadwall) have already received new ‘shed allocations’. One supporter has chosen to sponsor the ‘honorary Pacific’, Gresley class W1 4-6-4 No. 10000/60700 which was un-named but also had 6ft 8in driving wheels.

Mark Allatt commented, “We are delighted that we have reached our initial target of £200,000 pledged for The 163 Pacifics Club and hope to be in a position to purchase Tornado’s tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd before the end of its 15 year lease in 2021. Due to popular demand, we decided to release the remaining ex-LNER ‘Pacifics’ for sponsorship which led to a surge in support and within two weeks the initial target was achieved, meaning The 163 Pacifics Club now has 166 of its extended 210 members target.

“William Cook Cast Products Ltd has been principal sponsor to The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust through its chairman Sir Andrew Cook CBE since 1994, providing all the steel castings for No. 60163 Tornado and No. 2007 Prince of Wales – including all the wheels – at preferential rates and on generous terms – for which the Trust is enormously grateful. As we have released additional names, we still have 44 ‘Pacifics’ available for sponsorship, including some truly iconic ex-LNER locomotives – please contact the Trust on  or 01325 460163 for more information and to reserve your favourite ‘Pacific’. Any additional funds raised will be ring-fenced and used for the next overhaul of Tornado’s tender.

“Keeping Tornado on the Network Rail main line is expensive and time consuming and so the Trust is always seeking new supporters and volunteers to come on board. Next year will see the 10th anniversary of Tornado’s completion and we will be seeking to mark this milestone in an appropriate manner.”

06111503 Tender loaded DE

Tornado’s tender is loaded following its last overhaul at Darlington – A1SLT

Details of The 163 Pacifics Club:

  • The Trust needs to raise £200,000 to purchase Tornado’s tender
  • Although Tornado carries the number ‘60163’ – the next in the Peppercorn class A1 series following No. 60162 Saint Johnstoun – her pre-nationalisation LNER number would have been ‘163’
  • There were therefore 163 ex-LNER express passenger ‘Pacifics’ (wheel arrangement 4-6-2) from the Gresley class A3s/A4s, Thompson class A1/1 and Peppercorn class A1s
  • Due to popular demand, an additional 46 ‘Pacifics’ have been released from the Raven class A2s (five locomotives), Thompson classes A2/1s (four locomotives), A2/2s (six rebuilt Gresley class P2s), A2/3s (15 locomotives), Peppercorn class A2s (15 locomotives, including preserved No. 60532 Blue Peter) and Gresley class A4s (destroyed No. 4469Gadwall); in addition, the un-named Gresley class W1 4-6-4 No. 10000/60700 has been sponsored
  • If 163 people were to make a one-off donation of £960 (or alternatively donate £240 per month for four months), with the addition of Gift Aid (£240) this would raise £195,600. This club has now been extended to 210 to include the newly released names.
  • As with the previous fundraising schemes, this initiative comes with benefits for those who generously take part, including:
    • A numbered certificate recording the details of the donation and the number/name of the chosen ex- LNER passenger ‘Pacific’
    • Name inscribed on the official Roll of Honour in Darlington Locomotive Works which will detail the ‘Pacific’ sponsored
    • Entry into a draw for a main line footplate ride on No. 60163 Tornado.