To build and operate a Peppercorn class A1 Pacific steam locomotive

The £1.2 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded restoration of the Grade II listed Barrow Hill Roundhouse near Chesterfield is now well underway and we are able to confirm the initial details of its grand re-opening which will take place in September 2017.  With work due to be completed at the end of August, this will give the Barrow Hill team a few weeks to prepare for the September 2017 relaunch event: the highlight of this four day celebration will be the visit of three icons of steam – A3 No. 60103 Flying Scotsman, A1 No. 60163 Tornado and Rocket.  This will be the first visit to the Roundhouse by Flying Scotsman since a BR Open Day in 1974 and will be the first opportunity for many in the region to get up close to the locomotive alongside her sister East Coast racehorse Tornado, seen against the unique and authentic backdrop of the Roundhouse.

The four day celebration is taking place from Thursday 21st September 2017 to Sunday 24th September 2017. Thursday 21st September will see the premiere of a specially commissioned play funded by the Arts Council celebrating the incredible survival story of the Roundhouse with live steam adding an exciting backdrop. The play will continue on the evenings of Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September. Then during the day on Saturday 23rd September and Sunday 24th September the Roundhouse will open its doors to the general public for a truly special steam gala with visitors able to see for the first time the comprehensive but sympathetic HLF-funded restoration.


No. 60163 during a visit to Barrow Hill in 2009 – Neil Whitaker

Contractors T&C Williams of Sheffield started work on site in January and their first job was to remove the 1960s flat roofed kitchen extension. This area has now been cleared and levelled ready to be replaced with a larger, light and modern new entrance building incorporating a new kitchen, eating area and toilets. The design of the new building will allow the original doors and windows on this side of the Roundhouse to be revealed for the first time in over 50 years.  Work has also started on vital conservation work in the Roundhouse itself as the steel structure of the roof is treated and repainted. In other parts of the Roundhouse false ceilings have been temporarily removed to reveal the unique roof structure of the building whilst it is re-wired. The original blue brick flooring has also been taken up so that an underfloor heating system can be installed before the bricks are carefully replaced. Work is also taking place on the Coal Stage – the Roundhouse’s viewing area during special events – to provide an improved walking route and viewing area with new safety railings for visitors.

Mervyn Allcock, General Manager of Barrow Hill Roundhouse said “It has been amazing to see a building that I and many others have worked so hard to preserve now having work done to it to give it a new lease of life. Our September relaunch promises to be a fabulous celebration of all the hard work that is going on at the Roundhouse at the moment and will mark the start of the next exciting chapter in the story of this amazing architectural survivor in the most appropriate way.”

Selside with a snowy Pen-y-Ghent in the background – Alan Weaver

Waitby near Kirby Stephen – Geoff Griffiths

Dent (with Dent Head Viaduct in the background) – Ian Hardman

The last train of the series leaves Skipton – Alan Weaver

With the landscape dominating the scene, Tornado crosses Lunds Viaduct – Mike Glen

Dwarfed by the architecture, the train  crosses Ribblehead Viaduct – Mike Glen

Despite the weak sunshine, it still looks pretty bleak – Mike Glen

Helwith Bridge – Andrew Dennison

Blea Moor Tunnel – Andrew Southwell

The first day of these ground-breaking trains over the fabled Settle & Carlisle Railway failed to produce typical S&C weather (horizontal rain/sleet/snow, delete as appropriate!) and was blessed with watery winter sunshine, albeit accompanied by a stiff breeze.  In consequence we have been sent some outstanding images of the trains, many of which we are delighted to feature here.

Garsdale – Geoff Griffiths

Blea Moor Tunnel – Neil Wroe

Kelber Hill Farm, Gargrave – Steve Armitage

Ribblehead – Emma Seddon

Ribblehead Viaduct – Liam Barnes

Watering at Appleby – June Williams

Evening departure, Settle – Liam Barnes

Following the announcement at its convention last year that The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is to build a new charter train (based around British Railways mark 3 coaches) and is seeking a new main line connected base in the Darlington area, the Trust is restructuring its management team to take on board these initiatives as well as to continue to deliver the Trust’s on-going activities including its own-promoted railtours for No. 60163 Tornado and the construction on new £5m Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.
Mark Allatt has advised the Trustees that after 16 years as Chairman of the organisation – and 26 years spearheading the Trust’s marketing, PR and fundraising – he wishes to step aside from the Chairmanship and focus on the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales as P2 Project Director. Mark will continue as a Trustee and in addition to his leadership of the P2 Project, where he will prioritise PR, fundraising and marketing, he will also continue to have oversight of and contribute to the rest of the Trust’s PR, marketing and fundraising activities, as well as playing an important role in the Trust’s strategic planning across all of its commitments. David Elliott will continue to lead the engineering and Graeme Bunker the operations and commercial aspects of the P2 Project.
Trustee and Operations Director Graeme Bunker will be expanding his existing role as Chairman of the Tornado Steam Traction Executive (which manages the operation of Tornado) and will lead all of No.60163 Tornado’s support activities. In this role he will be assisted by Lt. Col Huw Parker as Deputy Operations Director and David Wright of Locomotive Maintenance Services as our Running Engineer. Sophie Bunker-James, the Trust’s Education Officer will also be taking a more active role in the promotion ofTornado and its rail tours.
The Trust is pleased to appoint Graham Langer as a Trustee. Graham has been a covenantor since 2005 and a volunteer since 2008 and now edits the Trust’s in-house publications (The Communication Cord, The Tornado Telegraph and  Mikado Messenger) as well as being Trust webmaster. Graham is General Manager of Accucraft (UK) Ltd, which manufactures small scale live steam locomotives. Graham will continue to take the lead on all supporter communications.
As a reflection of the Trust’s previously announced ambitions, Paul Bruce, a senior rail executive with significant property project experience, has been appointed as an advisor to the Trustees and will be leading the Trust’s ambitious plans for an expanded, main line connected facility in the Darlington area.
The change of structure means that the Trust retains strong leadership of both of its locomotives, ably supported by the many volunteers and suppliers involved with both of them, under the overall guidance of the Trustees. The process of recruiting a new Chairman has now begun, and further announcements regarding this (and other appointments) will be made over the coming months.
Speaking on behalf of the Trustees Graeme Bunker said, “On behalf of all us involved with Tornado and Prince of Wales, we would like to thank Mark for his dedication and commitment in leading the Trust during such a successful period. This has witnessed the completion of Tornado, the purchase and total rebuild of our support coach and now the exciting launch and first stages of building a brand new P2. Mark has been a passionate advocate of the Trust, working tirelessly over many years, and has been an instrumental part of the successful team since the launch of the project to build a new A1. We are very pleased that Mark is continuing to be part of that team and will spearhead the P2 project with passion, enthusiasm and commitment. As the Trust’s activities expand, it is also a pleasure to welcome Paul Bruce to the team and Graham Langer as a Trustee.”
Mark Allatt added, “After almost 16 years as Chairman of the Trust since taking over from our now President David Champion in 2001, 26 years leading the Trust’s marketing, PR and fundraising as well as my numerous other Trust commitments, the role had become far too big for one person to manage in their spare time as a volunteer. I have therefore decided to focus my available time on leading the P2 Project, where we have already spent over £1m on construction and have received pledges from supporters for over 45% of the £5m needed to complete No.2007. I am also pleased to be continuing my oversight of all of the Trust’s marketing, PR and fundraising activities which are also now far too large for one volunteer to deliver. I have hugely enjoyed my time as Chairman and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Trust’s supporters for their support and generosity over this time. I look forward to being able to drive the construction of No.2007 Prince of Wales forward.”

Tornado powers through Wolverton with ‘The Red Rose’ – Neil Whitaker


Tornado crosses Oxley Viaduct, Wolverhampton – Jim Knight

Two fine images of the train in the Shropshire landscape – Tim Croton

 With twilight approaching, Tornado heads home – Tim Croton

In Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the preserved Nene Valley Railway, we are pleased to announce a return visit of  Tornado for their ‘Best of British’ Weekend on 22nd and 23rd April 2017.

You can also drive and fire Tornado with the NVR Driver Experience Courses on 21st and 24th April see their web page for more details here.

There will also be a ‘Best of British’ Jolly Fisherman Fish & Chips special hauled by Tornado 21st April – again see the web page for more details here.

For full details of the ‘Best of British’ Weekend featuring Tornado, see the web page for all details here.

When she was last on the NVR, Tornado is seen at Wansford – Mandy Grant

Tornado gets away from a slack Clapham Junction – Kenny Felstead

Shalford – Trevor White

Tornado at Victoria after returning with the first ‘Belmond British Pullman of 2017 – Edward Hindell

Autumn 2016

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Trains formed of Mk 2 carriages hauled by Tornado will replace DMUs on timetabled trains over the Settle & Carlisle (S&C) route next month.  Tornado will haul the Northern trains over the S&C between Skipton and Appleby on three consecutive days. The first timetabled ordinary main line passenger steam trains to run in England for 50 years are the result of a pioneering modern and heritage industry alliance, formed to help revive the economic fortunes of the beleaguered S&C as well as the towns and villages that it serves. The railway, which was opened in 1875, was severed by a major landslip last February and has been in limbo ever since.

This collaborative alliance comprises Northern, Network Rail, DB Cargo, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and Friends of the S&C, together with RAIL and Steam Railway from the Bauer Media magazine portfolio, who came up with the proposal two years ago.  The historic community trains are being promoted under the banner ‘I LOVE S&C’.

RAIL Managing Editor Nigel Harris said, “Former Steam Railway Editor Tony Streeter and I first suggested this to Northern MD Alex Hynes a couple of years ago, but with the old franchise in its last days, it just wasn’t possible to pull it all together. Severance of the S&C gave us the opportunity to finally run a German-style ‘Plandampf’ operation, and it was fantastic to see how everyone at NR, Northern and DB grabbed the idea and ran with it.

“Northern MD Alex Hynes and NR Route Managing Director Rob McIntosh deserve special thanks. They proved how devolved decision making and regional collaboration at ground level really works. We need to see much more of that!”

Graeme Bunker, Operations Director of A1SLT, responded, saying, “Having been approached to help with the development and planning of the operation it is really wonderful to see it now being implemented. We are pleased that Tornado will be part of raising the profile of the route once again, providing a unique opportunity to the local community and those visiting the area.”

Traditional DMU paths on 14th – 16th February will be surrendered to Tornado. The 10:45hrs ex-Skipton and 15:07hrs ex-Appleby will be steam-hauled trains supplemented by morning and evening extras, running in reverse order. Tickets bought in advance or from National Rail ticket offices will be permissible for travel. For ticketing details follow this link.


Tornado battles the wind on Ribblehead Viaduct, an iconic image from the 3rd October 2009 – Ian McDonald