Over 100 supporters of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust gathered at Darlington Locomotive Works on Saturday 28th July to celebrate the tenth birthday of new steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado. The locomotive made its first moves in front of the world’s press on 1st August 2008 and has subsequently become a household name.
Since completion in Darlington in 2008, new Peppercorn class A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado has covered over 100,000 miles and seen service on the Network Rail main line and heritage railways right across Great Britain. Highlights have included three Royal Trains including the naming by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in February 2009; BBC Top Gear ‘Race to the North’ with Jeremy Clarkson on the footplate; ‘The Winton’ train to commemorate the 70th anniversary on the Kinder Transport; the rescuing of stranded commuters in Kent; the re-opening of the Settle to Carlisle Railway; the first steam locomotive in the UK to achieve 100mph for 50 years; featuring in two BBC documentaries, ‘Absolutely Chuffed – the Men Who Built a Steam Engine’ and ‘Tornado the 100mph Steam Engine’, and starring in PADDINGTON 2 the movie.
No. 60163 Tornado was named in honour of the crews who flew RAF Tornado fast jets during the first Gulf War in 1990/91 when the project to build the new Peppercorn class A1 steam locomotive was launched. The locomotive originally carried crests from the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment (TTTE) and RAF Cottesmore on its nameplates but following the closure of the former and the transfer of the latter to other uses, Tornado now carries the crests of RAF Leeming (former Tornado base close to Darlington) and RAF Marham (current home of the Tornado Force).
Tornado’s birthday party featured the showing of both of the BBC’s documentaries on Tornado – ‘Absolutely Chuffed – the Men Who Built a Steam Engine’ and ‘Tornado the 100mph Steam Engine’ – narrated by their Producer Tom Ingall, a review of Tornado’s first 10 years in traffic, a hog roast, a band which included the Trust’s President David Champion and a spectacular Tornado shaped birthday cake. Guests also had the opportunity to see for the first time new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales under construction and with its eight 6ft 2in driving wheels fitted.
Mark Allatt, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “On 1st August No. 60163 Tornado celebrates her tenth birthday and remains the only new main line steam locomotive to be completed in Britain since 1960 despite over 20 standard gauge new build projects being launched. Tornado’s first 100,000 miles have seen the locomotive criss-cross Great Britain, a testimony to those supporters who stuck with the project over the 18 years that it took to fundraise and build – ‘This locomotive was built and paid for by people who shared a vision and were determined to turn it into reality’.
“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.”
Tornado is currently undergoing repairs at the Nene Valley Railway following her failure on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ on 14th April 2018 and is expected to return to traffic shortly.
The Trust respectfully requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.