Most will be aware that just as the Covid-19 lockdown was beginning to bite, we moved Tornado to the Railway Museum at York. This should have been ahead of our first railtour this year on 21st March, but instead has enabled us to secure stable the locomotive and our support coach safely at the museum. Earlier this week, a visit to inspect both vehicles was permitted by the Museum team and A1SLT Locomotive Manager Richard Pearson travelled down from Darlington to conduct some minor tasks and check up on the electrical systems on the locomotive and coach.
During the previous visit Richard had fitted a trickle charger to the locomotive and tests of the electrical systems show the batteries and other functions appear in good order. The coach had been left connected to mains power and further testing of the electrics and cleaning of the coach water system has ensured all is in good order and ready for the return of our support crews – hopefully sometime soon!
Tornado has been stored under cover in the museum prep bay and since this is notoriously bad for roosting pigeons, the boiler barrel has been sheeted over to protect the paintwork. The benefit is that the motion and brightwork has been protected from the elements and Richard was pleased to report that the layers of oil and grease applied to further protect them have kept them free from rust. Richard added grease to the axlebox bearings and oiled some of the motion before moving the loco down the yard and back to distribute this around the bearings. He took care to leave the loco in a slightly different position to try and avoid any damage to bearings left in the same position throughout this period of down time.
We have left the boiler filled to the brim and dosed with water treatment to reduce corrosion as much as possible. We will conduct a detailed A Exam, which includes a boiler washout and internal examination before we return to traffic, which will provide us with reassurance that the period out of traffic has not caused any issues. Finally, before leaving York, the running boards and tender sides were washed down, removing some of the unavoidable signs of roosting pigeons. The museum site has been closed to visitors and all but essential staff who are unable to work from home and we must offer our grateful thanks to the Operations Team and Railway Museum staff who have enabled our extended stay and facilitated our inspections of the locomotive and coach. Photos and video by Richard Pearson.