The construction of Tornado is chronicled below, click on a year to see progress:


By the start of 2008 the end of the project was within sight.  A huge number of small tasks still needed to be completed but with the boiler in the frames and the key ancillaries attached it would only be a matter of days before the certification process could begin.  In early January 2008 the hydraulic and boiler tests were successfully completed on the planned days, after some late night working. The hydraulic test was successfully completed on Monday 7th January 2008 in the presence of John Glaze (Boiler Inspector) and Paul Molyneux-Berry from the Deltarail VAB.

The boiler set up for the hydraulic test, with John Glaze, Boiler Inspector. Both gauges at 360 psi during the successful hydraulic test

The boiler was lit up for the first time by Dorothy Mather on Wednesday 9th January and allowed to warm slowly. Pressure was raised initially to 100 PSI on the following day and the live steam injector tested. This was fed from the DRPS loco water tank in the NELPG end of the building with the aid of several fire hoses kindly lent by NELPG. With the water tank delivery pump running, sufficient water was delivered to the injector to enable it to start first time.  Pressure was subsequently raised to 175 PSI to further test the injector which continued to function correctly.  On Friday 11th January, the formal steam test was carried out under the direction of John Glaze and Paul Molyneux-Berry and was successful.

Vice President Malcolm Crawley shovels the first coal into Tornado's firebox President Dorothy Mather adds the lighted rags
Steam is raised Successful boiler test, and Tornado's 10-year boiler certificate is awarded

After that the loco was taken back inside the works, the boiler drained, once cool, the smokebox, tubes, firebox and grate pressure washed and various fittings removed to enable construction to be resumed.

blast pipe and blower rings prepared for installation

The blast pipe assembly including blower rings was fitted in the smokebox for the steam test as were the chimney and liner. A large number of gaskets and quantities of packing material had been obtained for the steam test and beyond. The smoke box was partially sealed using mastic to enable the blower to function.  During March the chimney was properly attached to the liner and set up in the correct position over the blast pipes and bolted to the smokebox.  The order for main steam pipe components was placed with Induction Pipe Bending Ltd at Sunderland and the components delivered. MultiTech made the special flanged joints for the main steam pipes.

Cab front windscreen frame fitted April 2008 - shown opened
Cab front windscreen frame fitted April 2008 – shown opened

Spring 2008 saw William Lane in the process of casting the cab front window frames from patterns produced by Elsfield Patterns.  GN Steam continued with the modifications to the cab floor and under seat cubicles.  By March the cab front window frames and side screen frames had been machined by an engineering company owned by a covenantor at a very reasonable price.  By May the cab and floor plates had been grit blasted and the interior finish painted in apple green including the sides and the inside of the roof. Andrew Daniel, the contract joiner who works for the LNERCA has made up and fitted the cab floor woodwork.

The cab front windscreens and side screens were assembled (minus glass) to await fitting of catches which the Trust’s Anglia Support Group deliveried during the Spring Covenantors’ Meeting. Glazing was ordered from Romag. The pipe work and equipment had been stripped out in anticipation of painting. Further adjustment was made to the front flange of the cab to make a better fit with the boiler cladding.

The Trust took delivery of the tender tank from North View Engineering on 6th February during which time it was tried in place and found to fit. It was then lifted again and placed on wood blocks to facilitate completion of work on the plumbing and electrical installation on the frames.  

Lifting the tender tank from low-loader to the chassis Checking the fit of the tender tank onto the chassis
Tender tank raised on blocks on chassis The tank fitting crew

Work was also progressed on the frames, centering on the final fitting of the springs ans other parts such as the buffers. In March the bogie coil springs had delivered and Ian Howitt delivered all the bogie and side control details.The Cartazzi spring hangers are almost finished and delivery is expected shortly. The modified bogie crosshead has been delivered by MultiTech.  In May the bogie spring and side control gear was fitted.. The coupled wheel springs had been delivered and the coupled wheel spring links fitted to the axle/cannonboxes. The springs would not be fitted until the remaining pipe and motion work was complete as they hampered access. The set of buffers was completed at I D Howitt Ltd, Crofton Works.


Cylinders – the piston and valve rings were delivered in April, the valve rings fitted and the valve spindles inserted in the valve chests. Following a discussions, we omitted the ring stops on the pistons as current practice is not to fit them. Steve Andrews of The Thompson B1 Locomotive Trust produced the piston rod packings and Ian Howitt completed spherical machining of the details. Packing springs were delivered by The Tested Spring Company in Birmingham. The oil injection port in the middle of each cylinder was drilled through the liner to meet the existing feeds from the lubricators. Peter Neesam de-burred and cleaned out the steam and exhaust passages in the cylinders in anticipation of final assembly.

Valves and motion – the connevting rod small end bushes were complete and outside motion re-fitted with felt pads in the bearing and the inside valve gear re-erected with the eccentric rod adjusted to provide the correct travel in both forward and reverse. The inside connecting rod torque setting was completed and the rod was ready for final fitting at the appropriate time. Ian Howitt continued to assemble motion including fitting the last of the pins and delivered some of the stuffing box details. The reverser stand had been re-assembled in the cab and the reversing gear was now complete with the exception of the drive to, and indicator plate for, the cut off indicator which could only be completed after the valve setting which was expected to be done after the Spring Bank Holiday under the guidance of John Graham.

Chimney and blast pipe alignment

Boiler and smokebox – the main steam pipe components from Induction Pipe Bending Ltd in Sunderland were delivered.  MultiTech of Featherstone then completed the main steam pipe flanges. Taylors of Leeds was contracted to fabricate and weld the steam pipe assembles from the kit of parts. Having been welded at Leeds, the welds non-destructive tested and complete pipes hydraulic tested, the steam pipes were returned to Darlington and finally fitted in the smokebox. A large number of gaskets had to be procured for steam fittings and pipe joints. Peter Neesam completed insulating the boiler and re-fitting the cladding, including manufacture of the trailing coupled wheel splashers. The drawing for the new banjo dome casing was finished and was sent to the North Norfolk Railway for manufacture. The fire arch was cast in situ which enabled the fire hole door mask to be fitted which in turn permitted completion of the backhead cladding. GN Steam manufactured the fire hole leg guards and these were now fitted to the backhead. The chimney had been properly attached to the liner and set up in the correct position over the blastpipes and bolted to the smokebox – it was susequently removed to facilitate access to the smokebox. The smokebox was fitted out including the anti-vacuum valve and top cover and the blastpipe fitted for the last time. The regulator cross shaft and other back head fittings were finally fitted. The boiler hand rails had been made and fitted. The cladding was thus effectively complete as ceramic fibre insulation and aluminium foil were fitted to the boiler, followed by the cladding sheets themselves.

A red letter day! On 3rd July 2008, Tornado rests on her springs for the first time, exactly 70 years to within an hour since fellow LNER designed locomotive Mallard reached the world steam speed record of 126MPH.  The rest of the month was occupied with final fitting miles of electrical cable and wiring up the components in the cubicles, finishing the cab fittings, completing the air braking systems and preparing and painting the loco and tender in works grey – the latter task undertaken by Ian Matthews to a very high standard.  Rob Morland fitted and commisioned much of the extremely complex electrical gear including the frame and injector overflow lights, the safety equipment in the cab cubicles, cab lighting, headlights and the roof mounted switch gear. You can see an interview with Rob here.


One of the two switch panels on the cab roof

Finally, on the first weekend in August, 2008, Tornado moved in steam for the first time, the culmination of eighteen years hard work lived and breathed in front of the assembled press, dignitaries and covenantors.  Waved away by the Mayor of Darlington and with Dorothy Mather on the footplate, Tornado eased up and down the short length of track laid for the event.


Tornado in works grey at Darlington

After a successful debut at her birthplace, little time was wasted in moving the locomotive to the Great Central Railway at Loughborough for testing and running in.  While at the GCR Tornado underwent extensive analysis by the vehicle acceptance bodies to ensure she would be fit to haul passenger trains on preserved lines and Network Rail.


Tornado in action at the GCR

While at the Great Central Railway No. 60163 hauled her first passenger trains, initially for covenantors and then for the general public, and was the star guest at the railway’s gala.  It might have been expected that some teething troubles would need fixing but the loco worked perfectly “straight out of the box” and delighted the team that had built it.  Test loads were gradually built up and culminated in the loco hauling eleven coaches and a “dead” diesel and developing an estimated 2,000hp in doing so.  The opportunity was also taken to run at 60mph and conduct track force tests for Delta Rail.  By the beginning of November Tornado had been transferred to the National Railway Museum which would act as her base for the three planned mainline test runs.  These were a stepped series of trips with increasing loads and speeds finishing with a 75mph dash to Newcastle and back on the 17th of November.  The test runs were generally a success but the failure of the white metal of the inside and one of the outside crossheads led to an improvement in lubrication to the inner one and re-metalling of both.  Delta Rail were once again on board for the Newcastle run and the loco and support coach were festooned with cables to facilitate this – after an astonishingly quick start from York the loco showed it had an incredible appetite for hard work and high speed running, recroding an amazing average of 71.2mph before the scheduled emergency stop just beyond Chester-le-Street (which also showed how well the brakes worked!).

With the loco returned to York for a visit to the paint shop at the NRM, the final pieces were added to the certification data and paperwork, allowing Delta Rail to report that Tornado had met the requirements for acceptance onto Network Rail, the Office of Rail Regulation issuing their own authorisation on the 27th of January 2009.  Meanwhile, Ian Matthews and his team worked their magic in the facilities kindly offered by the NRM, rubbing down the works grey and applying a pristine coat of LNER apple green with “BRITISH RAILWAYS” in full on the tender.  On December the 13th the final result was unveiled before hundreds of covenantors and supporters of the Trust in the Great Hall at the National Railway Museum.  The rest, as they say, will be history…….





Back on wheels
Back on wheels


Motion – By spring 2007 Bedestone had completed the grinding of the inside radius link and it went to I D Howitt Ltd at Crofton for assembly to the radius link trunnions which had been completed by Multi-Tech.  All the case-hardened inside valve gear components had been collected from Holts and were at Crofton for grinding. The inside reversing rod lifting arms and cross shaft had been fitted, the reverser cross shaft removed and the arms to drive the inside cylinder reverser and for the balance spring slid on. The final positions would be set on assembly of the rest of the inside valve gear. The inside big end brasses had been finished, machined and hand fitted to the crank pin, and the inside connecting rod had been trial fitted to the crank pin. All the rods and components were weighed and the connecting and eccentric rods swung to determine the pendulum period to permit calculation of the centre of percussion. This was done in the presence of Andrew Hemming, a former marine diesel engineer, who was in the process of finalising the wheel balancing calculations. The oil rod oil box tops had been completed and were fitted to the rods.

Boiler ancillariesThe superheater header casting was subjected to ultrasonic non-destructive testing at Keighley Laboratories and found to be sound. It was sent to Multi-Tech for machining.  Great Northern Steam completed the ash pan and it was delivered to Darlington Locomotive Works where it was lowered into place on the frames to check the fit. Good progress had been made with the boiler clothing and the rocking grate lever brackets had been fitted to the back of the firebox.  The new chimney pattern was at South Lincs Patterns for casting.


Red paint between the frames
Red paint between the frames

Pipework and fittings – fittings, for which patterns were made by Elsfield Patterns and South Lincs Patterns, had been cast by the latter company. Good progress had been made with the pipe work between the frames. Great Northern Steam was tasked to make a large number of cones, nipples and nuts of various sizes for the steam pipe work. The ex-Sir Nigel Gresley exhaust injector had a mounting bracket made and the rear section of the exhaust steam pipe had been completed.

Tornado's two air-pumps after testing on arrival in the UK
Tornado’s two air-pumps after testing on arrival in the UK

Brakes and air system – the brake star stay was refitted, and the front pump and two brake cylinder were fitted. Design work was under way to mount the pump governors and for pipe work between the governors and the pumps. Great Northern Steam continued work on the modified cab floor structure design and a trial fit was expected in the summer.  A slight re-design eliminated the need for forgings for the brake gear.  North View machined the brake lever fulcrum casting which was bolted to the cross stay.  Brake hangers, pull rods and compensating levers were made by I D Howitt Ltd, and brake blocks including spares) had been delivered for the engine and tender.

Trailing wheel set during balancing at Dowding & Mills
Trailing wheel set during balancing at Dowding & Mills

Wheelsets – the wheelsets were sent for balancing at Dowding & Mills.  By drilling out a pre-determined number of holes in the back of the balance weights, weight could be progressively added until the desired dynamics had been achieved.

Tender – the Vehicle Acceptance Body agreed the modified tender axle profiles and an amended order had been placed with Firth Rixson. Delivery was expected by the end of February. William Cook Cast Products Ltd (the Trust’s premier sponsor and sponsor of the tender) cast and proof machined all the wheels. The axle boxes were also  cast and machined. Timken delivered the Class D cartridge bearings to be fitted to the axles after the wheelsets were assembled by Ian Riley at Bury.  The tender brake cylinders and the alternator mounting were fitted to the tender. North View had completed the tender tank base which was moved to Crofton for fitting to the frames which were turned over by crane with BBC Sheffield’s cameraman present.

Quotes were received the cab window frame patterns and castings. Contact was re-established with Romag at Consett for the Group Standard compliant cab glazings. GN Steam added access doors to the under seat cubicles and to modified the under-floor cubicle on the driver’s side to overcome a foul with the reversing bell crank/reversing rod pin assembly.  During December the cab window frame castings were delivered to the Trust’s East Anglia group of volunteers which had agreed to make details and assemble them once the main window frames had been machined.

Cab front windscreen frames received Jan 2008
Cab front windscreen frames received Jan 2008

North View Engineering of Darlington completed the tender tank details (coal doors, feed pipe connections, shovel plate etc). A successful water test was carried out.  Ian Matthews painted the axleboxes and covers in grey and axles in finished red gloss. Ian Howitt completed the brake gear at Crofton and by the winter of 2007 had completed the spring gear. The main and brake reservoir receivers were fitted to the tender frames.

Tender front details being completed at North View Engineering, Darlington
Tender front details being completed at North View Engineering, Darlington

Tender front details being completed at North View Engineering, Darlington

Tender front details being completed at North View Engineering, Darlington
Tender front details being completed at North View Engineering, Darlington

Tender front details being completed at North View Engineering, Darlington

Tender tank virtually completed at North View Engineering, Darlington
Tender tank virtually completed at North View Engineering, Darlington

Tender tank virtually completed at North View Engineering, Darlington

Leak testing of tender tank
Leak testing of tender tank

Leak testing of tender tank

Front air pump mounted between the frames
Front air pump mounted between the frames


Cylinders and Valves –  North View Engineering made progress on the valve heads and spindles. Steve Wood completed machining valve spindle crosshead guides in February and started on Cartazzi spring hanger brackets. Ufone restarted work on the replacement inside piston.  During the autumn the Trust was making great progress with the valve gear and motion components. The valve heads and spindles were now completed and in the works in Darlington. The oil box tops for the crosshead drop arm boxes and machining of the valve spindle crossheads were completed. and the cross heads white metalled.

The valve spindles and heads were completed at North View, in the mean time Ian Howitt  made the bronze bushes for the front valve chest covers and temporary steel bushes for the rear covers to support a parallel bar to enable final setting of the valve spindle crosshead guides to be done by Steve Wood under Ian’s supervision.  The inside top slide bar had been final fitted to the inside cylinder.  The order for machining of the valve spindle crossheads was placed with Multi-Tech at Featherstone.

Motion – Eccentric rods were brought from Ufone for finishing elsewhere. In mid-February, the remaining outside motion parts went to Holts Bros, Halifax for hardening.  By the summer the last of the outside valve gear had been returned with the working surfaces case hardened. The inside eccentric was  fitted to the leading driving axle and the already forged inside motion parts machined.  By June the last of the outside valve gear had been returned with the working surfaces case hardened and the inside eccentric was being fitted to the leading driving axle.

Pipework – Ian Howitt had completed the exhaust injector steam pipe. Following hydraulic testing and the fitting of clips,it was positioned on the engine. The driving wheels were removed to facilitate fitting of the injector pipe clips. Pipe was acquired to enable the vacuum train pipe to be installed.  By the summer installation of the vacuum train pipe was complete from the front almost to the rear of the engine. The pipework efforts were being directed to that which had to be installed before the boiler could be fitted. Work continued on grinding the outside motion and the radius link die blocks. Various jigs to assist on assembly of the radius links had also been made.  Two test specimens of BS570 070M55 (EN9) motion pins were made and then induction hardened and subjected to sectioning and hardness testing by Keighley Laboratories. This confirmed that the hardness and penetration of the hardened case was satisfactory, and that the core material remained soft and ductile as required. The results were presented to the VAB who indicated agreement to the change. The pins were now manufactured.

Sanders – of the Class 86 gear from Shoeburyness, (stripped and cleaned by the volunteers) only the sand traps were usable. Volunteers made adaptors to allow them to fit Tornado’s sand boxes. The traps needed new air strainers.  The ejector layout differs from the A1 type making mounting and pipework more complex. The East Anglia Group made 6 new ones to the later fabricated design. Tubing for these and the sand pipes was acquired and collected from Darlington in April. Six flame cut blanks for sand box lids were taken to the Group.

Boiler –  Meiningen asked to move the mounting blocks for water gauges and blower outboard by 1.57″ to allow the internal injector delivery pipes to clear the crown stays. Drawings showing the extent of the changes elicited no significant objections so Meiningen was authorised to make the change. An order was placed for machining and fitting the regulator mechanism. The pallet of components including front boiler support, regulator castings, regulator stuffing box, water gauge assemblies, fusible and washout plugs, and one blow down valve was despatched to Meiningen by M Machine on Tuesday 14th February. The rocking grate mechanism was ordered from North View Engineering.  Grate patterns from Elsfield Patterns were taken to South Lincs Patterns who made the castings. They finished casting the firebars.  South Lincs Foundry of Spalding delivered the 165 cast iron firebars and carriers and North View Engineering Ltd in Darlington completed the carriers and rocking mechanism. The safety valves were tested on No. 60009 Union of South Africa prior to CE marking. This was completed by mid June at which point they were sent to Meiningen for fitting to the boiler

Summer 2006 – The boiler arrived!   Following a successful hydraulic testing in Meiningen, witnessed by all the required approval bodies, Tornado’s boiler was given the confirmatory CE marking.  After some very careful – and somewhat euphoric – inspection, the whole unit was parked overnight on the field behind the Locomotive Works.  Sunday morning saw the early arrival of a large crane plus other lorry loads of associated equipment.  The boiler was soon swinging gently from the crane ready to be lowered into the works.

Other fittings – The Severn Valley Railway will carry out our safety valve testing on No. 60009 Union of South Africa in early May in time for delivery for our boiler’s steam test in June. We procured water gauge glasses and gauge protector glasses from J B Treasure of Liverpool (use of the gauge glasses in the Trust collection was abandoned: they are all subtly different, the glass did not comply with the current British Standard and the rear doors were unuseable). New doors were laser profiled and, with the help of Dennis Pearson of DPS Screenprint Co, we sourced vitreous enamelling for the black and white diagonal stripes on the doors.

Brake system – The Trust ordered two air pumps from Meiningen.  Installation of the vacuum train pipe was completed from the front almost to the rear of the engine. The pipework efforts were all being directed to that which had to be installed before the boiler was fitted.

Tender – The tender for Tornado was the subject of a major sponsorship deal with The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s principal sponsor, William Cook Cast Products Limited. The actual construction of the tender will be done by I D Howitt Ltd.  By the summer of 2006 Ian Howitt was making good progress fitting hornblocks and other castings to the frame plates. The driven bolt work was largely complete by the spring. North view Engineering completed the welding of the drag boxes, and delivery of the fully machined parts was due by the end of March. The detailed design of the revised tender tank was circulated for comment by the VAB.  The basic frame structure was nearing completion at Ian Howitt’s works at Crofton with the fitting of the front and back drag boxes. Because the Trust was unable to source disc wheels at a realistic price it was decided to use spoked wheels – at least three A1s ran with them. The redesign of the tender tank to increase water capacity to 6000 gallons at the expense of a slight reduction in coal space was completed. The new design was fully welded.  By June the basic frame structure was nearing completion at Ian Howitt’s works at Crofton with the fitting of the front and back drag boxes. Because we were unable to source disc wheels at a realistic price we opted for spoked wheels – at least three A1s ran with them. By the autumn a dimensional survey indicated that the frame was correct within tolerance in length, distance between frame plates and squareness. The horn faces still required trueing up, but this could await completion of the axleboxes in case any problems with them required a concession on the final dimensions of the hornblocks. The wheel and axlebox design was subjected to preliminary scrutiny by the VAB and approved for patterns and casting.  Work on finalising the tank drawings was completed and a revised layout was schemed for the brake actuating gear to facilitate conversion to air brakes from the original steam operation. The redesigned brake cross shaft and hand brake arrangement were detailed and the associated stress calculations made.


Boiler – in January 2005 the Trust was in a position to sign a contract with Meiningen.  The contract was with Dampflokwerk Meiningen (Steam Locomotive Works Meiningen), a workshop of the Deutsche Bahn (the German Federal Railway) , through its subsidiary DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH (DB Rolling Stock Maintenance Company), and followed on from an initial order for the redesign of the original LNER Diagram 118 boiler for the 21st century.  The boiler was scheduled to be completed in June 2006.

Deutsch Bahn's Werk Meiningen
Deutsch Bahn’s Werk Meiningen

Frames – work continued to make and fit new sections of the front footplating over the valve gear (including lids to allow it to be oiled). The original footplate drawing shows a continuous plate from the step behind the smokebox as far as the outside steam pipes. A drawing which came to light later shows removable plates over the front sand boxes giving access to them and the valve gear immediately behind the valve chests. Further parts were delivered for the raised portions of the footplate over the cylinders. The steam pipe covers had also been ordered to be fitted at the same time as the raised footplating. With wheels out (to finish the footplate/splasher fitting) Ian Howitt honed the inside crank pin.

Tender – A start on the tender had been made with manufacture of patterns for the hornblocks and spring guard brackets (which also serve as tender tank mountings)

Brakes – HSBC Rail (rolling stock leasing company) most generously donated two sets of brake control and sanding equipment from two Class 86 locomotives being disposed of at Shoeburyness. No. 86223 was stripped on 3rd March – just about the coldest day of the winter with blizzard conditions for half the day – while No. 86209 was stripped a week later in more pleasant weather. Help was given by Anglia Group Covenantor John Smith and his colleague Tom Sharrick who assisted on both occasions. The brake equipment required overhauling by an approved brake equipment repair shop before it could be used.

Motion –  Ufone continued to make progress with the outside motion machining. They completed the radius links, radius link trunnions and the union links. The radius links were case hardened and sent to Bedestone Ltd in Birmingham to have the slot and hole ground. The case hardening proved to be a problematic process as the radial slot closed up by almost 1/16″ which would have resulted in too much of the hardened case being ground away. To overcome this, the links were annealed (which softens the hard case) and jacked out with a small 30 tonne jack acquired for the purpose. They were subsequently re-hardened.

Platework – the footplating was nearing completion and the smoke deflector brackets had been made enabling the deflectors to be fitted to the smokebox. Great Northern Steam were contracted to make the outside steam pipe casings using a mock up to get the shape right.

Fittings – the drain cocks were finished, and the first of the non-ferrous fittings were finished by South Coast Steam Ltd in the form of two 3-way anti-carbonisers (atomisers) which form a mist of oil and steam to lubricate the cylinders. The anti-carbonisers were not at the top of our list of priorities. However, as we do not have a drawing and the ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’ group sent one to South Coast Steam for repair, the opportunity was taken to make drawings and produce two new ones for us. The next fittings tackled were the  water gauges and safety valves which were needed for testing the boiler in Germany. The Trust was also fortunate to acquire a Wakefield 7Z mechanical lubricator from South Coast Steam. This item had come off an ex-MOD diesel shunter and was in good condition. It required some modification as the ratchet drive on the front of the lubricator needed to be moved to the back to suit our locomotive.


Boiler – 2004 saw the launch of the Trust’s £500,000 bond issue to finance the construction of the boiler and complete the locomotive.  Following a very good initial response and uptake of bonds it was announced that the Trust had chosen Dampflokwerk  Meiningen (Steam Locomotive Works Meiningen), a workshop of the Deutsche Bahn (the German Federal Railway) and through its subsidiary DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH (DB Rolling Stock Maintenance Company), as the  supplier for the boiler and associated equipment for the new locomotive. This decision came as the culmination of almost three years of exhaustive discussions with a number of possible suppliers in the UK and continental Europe as well as with the authorities on certification and quality matters.  The final design would be classified Diagram 118a and would be coal-fired with a steel firebox and all-welded barrel.  Meiningen would be able to design, build and fully certify the boiler to current EU safety standards and this homologation was an important factor in selecting the company for the boiler’s construction.

Motion – The Trust could announce that No. 60163 Tornado was now a Pacific following the fitting of all four coupling rods to its six 6ft 8in driving wheels (the name Pacific refers to the 4-6-2 wheel arrangement under the Whyte Notation of steam locomotive wheel arrangements) which now rotated freely together for the first time. Each of the four 7ft 6in rods weighs around two hundredweight and after forging, extensive machining and heat treatment, the four cost around £22,000 to manufacture. These rods are vital components within the £150,000 valve gear and motion assemblies, which were now the focus of work on Tornado at the Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works.

The Trust also started work on the fitting of the rest of the outside motion. The bushes for the connecting rods were machined at Ian Howitt Ltd, Wakefield and one side of the locomotive had now been fitted with a mock-up of parts of its valve gear. This was to enable accurate measurements to be taken to set the length of the eccentric rod as the traditional method of heating the rod to stretch/shrink it used when the original Peppercorn A1s were built in 1948/9 is no longer recommended as it can affect the rod’s metallurgical properties.

Cylinders and valves – the six cast iron valve chest liners were cryogenically shrunk into the valve chests.  The liners were machined slightly oversize, placed in a bath of liquid nitrogen and inserted – as they warmed up they expanded to become a tight fit.

Cab – the cab was returned from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway where it had been finally rivetted.  The East Anglia Support Group provided the side windows and the bucket seats were made free of charge by the aircraft outfitters, Marshalls of Cambridge.



Frames – the main activity in early 2003 was the fitting of the Cartazzi hornblocks and hornstays.  A great amount of adjustment and re-adjustment was required to ensure the necessary clearances were adhered to.  It became apparent the the LNER had modified the working of the Cartazzi slides when the A1s were in service but these changes had not been recorded on the original drawings.  In consequence the Trust opted to increase the nominal clearance of the axleboxes in the hornblocks from 0.025″ to 0.050″ .  By the autumn the footplating down the sides of the locomotive had been made and fitted.


The Cartazzi slide with roller bearing fitted

Wheelsets – with their tyres now fitted and turned the driving wheels were taken to North View Engineering in Darlington to have their crankpins finished.  Having had the hornblocks welded in position the bogie wheelsets could be trial fitted.  The cannon boxes and axleboxes for the coupled and bogie wheels had finally been fitted with their bearings and should now remain in place until the loco’s first overhaul.

Motion – Hawk Fasteners supplied over £1000 worth of bolts, slotted nuts and washers to fit the slidebars which were now ready for final erection, a process completed by the end of the year.  The crossheads were white-metalled and had the oilways milled and drilled at North View.  The remaining valve gear forgings had been delivered for machining and Ufone completed the inside connecting rod and strap.


The fully machined coupling and connecting rods

Cylinders and valves – Ufone machined all six valvechest liners and the front steamchest covers were machined by North View and delivered to the works.  Meanwhile A1 Trust volunteers were making good progress producing the cylinder draincocks.


Frames –  Following the completion of the optical alignment survey of the frames by staff from the Severn Valley Railway, the middle and rear cannon boxes for the driving wheels of the roller bearing- fitted locomotive were now in position. The front cannon box was in position by the end of June. The fitting involved working to clearances of less than 0.002in due to the roller bearings, compared with 0.02in on a conventional plain bearing locomotive. The coupling rods had their knuckle pin bushes machined and fitted; the fettling of one rod had been completed, with the other due to be completed by October. The forgings for the remainder of the motion, the valve gear, were also ordered.  This included the eccentric rods, expansion links, radius rods, combination levers, union links and valve spindles.


 Forging in progress at Hesketh’s foundry in Bury


The drop hammer is used to forge the coupling rods

Motion – the eccentrics (return) cranks, finished by Ufone, fitted the square spigots on the crank pins with no hand fettling.  With the optical survey completed the drawing for the inside connecting rod could be finished, with the dimension for length corrected for the “growth” in the middle cylinder casting (one of the non-compliances).  The reversing shaft bracket was fitted and the coupling and connecting rods polished.  By the spring the expansion link brackets had been fitted to the frames.  Work on reducing the height of the cab to the new Railtrack standard of 13ft continued and Darlington Locomotive Works now had a functioning Bridgeport milling machine. Considerable progress had also been made towards selecting a supplier for the boiler. As a part of the pre-qualification process, a visit to the locomotive works at Meiningen in Germany with the Trust’s VAB (vehicle acceptance body) took place in January and one was also organised to Interlok at Pila in Poland during July.


Engineering Link, the Trust’s VAB, paid a visit to Darlington Locomotive Works on 28 May 2002 as part of their on-going certification process for the locomotive.  By late 2002 the rear steam chest covers (patterns, castings and machining) had been ordered from Kings Heath Patterns at Birmingham.  Production of the ‘as built’ frame arrangement drawing on CAD was well underway to enable detailed stress calculations to be carried out on the frame modifications (two-piece to one-piece frames) as part of the certification process.  The Matterson jacks and lifting beams were proof load tested to 25% overload as part of routine certification of lifting gear and a new lifting beam was ordered to attach to rear of engine to allow wheels to be rolled in under engine with a single lift .

A new structural floor over the offices at DLW was nearing completion. This would create a safe and dry storage area for the Trust’s patterns and allow space for a formally organised store at ground level for new components and for construction of other major components for the locomotive.  By the October Convention in 2002 the locomotive’s frames had become a rolling chassis and 150 supporters of the project were treated to the sight of Tornado ‘moving’ for the first time!





Due to to a number of external pressures, progress during 2001 unfortunately slowed.  Following an approach by Darlington Council, the Trust relinquished the southern half of the Hopetown building to give the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) a base in the city.  Although not required for the construction of Tornado, it had been hoped to attract sufficient contract work to keep this part of the works busy but this, alas, had proved hard to achieve.  All the machinery and facilities were consolidated in the northern half of the building and work continued on fitting this out for the final assmbly of the locomotive.


A driving wheelset with tyres fitted

Another issue which brought progress to a stand in 2001 was that of non-conformance.  Concerns had been raised that there might problems with the frames, something that had been recognised in 1997, soon after the frames had been delivered to Darlington.  The problems were mostly relatively minor in nature and no immediate action was taken, other than with the hornguides and middle motion bracket.  An independent survey indicated that there were less than sixty non-conformances that required rectification.  The cost of the work, £13, 908, was largely borne, under warranty, by the contractors.

The boiler –  meanwhile, work continued to find a supplier who could build a boiler based on the original LNER diagram 118 design while meeting modern EU pressure vessel directives and satisfy Railway Safety Ltd., HMRI, Railtrack and our insurers.  The Trust approached a dozen UK firms of which three responded but the turmoil the British pressure vessel industry was going through at the time caused them to drop out, either through lack of resources or because of the Trust’s requirement that the boiler be designed and built by the same company.  In consequence attention turned to Europe.  Interlok, a Polish company initially expressed an interest but gradually Dampflokwerk Meiningen emerged as the front runner.  Based in the former East Germany, the ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn locomotive works was still capable of manufacturing such engineering masterpieces and, critically, was still part of German Federal Railways (Deutsche Bahn).


Coupling Rods and Motion – At the start of the year the rear coupling rods had the machining completed by Ufone, meanwhile the machining of further rods was underway. The crosshead machining had also started in preparation for welding on the crosshead arms, which drive the drag links that are connected to the combination levers.

Wheelsets Work continued at DLW to fit the manganese steel liners to the hornblocks to enable the wheelsets to be located in the frames. Serco Railtest conducted the mandatory ultrasonic inspection of the axles and crank pins to confirm their metallurgical integrity and to provide reference traces against which future scans could be compared. Machining of the roller bearing axle cannon boxes for the intermediate and trailing driving wheelsets was also completed at Ufone.


Cannon boxes ready for machining




The bogie with its wheelsets in place

Smokebox – The smokebox was removed from the locomotive following its trial fit. This was to enable further work to be done including welding the stiffening plates into the bottom of the box, fitting the blast pipe and steam pipe extensions, fitting the chimney and liner assembly and tidying up the remaining platework.
Darlington Locomotive Works – The development of Darlington Locomotive Works, home of Tornado, continued to accelerate.  Recent equipment acquisitions included a new 6m x 6m five tonne overhead crane funded by a £10,000 grant from Darlington Borough Council.  In addition to enabling DLW to take delivery of the 6ft 8in driving wheelsets without complication, it was invaluable in both production tasks, such as the drilling of the bogie, and material handling. It was also been used to lift the smokebox and cab off Tornado to enable the frames to be lifted and the wheelsets fitted. The long-term loan of a set of Matterson jacks from the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) further boosted progress at the works.  Initial investigations indicated that the jacks were mechanically sound but required a complete rewire. A representative of Matterson worked with the Locomotive Construction Company Ltd (LCC – the subsidiary of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust that is assembling Tornado) to bring the jacks up to full working order. In addition Matterson’s produced drawings of jacking brackets – for the LCC to fabricate – to enable a straight “in one go” lift. The existing beams would require two lifts. The jacks were restored by the LCC and put into service.





Motion – 1999 saw a start made on forging the motion components.  The first major motion components were forged for the half completed locomotive. These massive steel forgings included the three connecting rods, which  transfer the power from Tornado’s three cylinders to its six 6ft 8in driving wheels. These forgings were formed from one foot square,  cast steel billets weighing a total of 5 tons and were forged into shape using a 1 ton air hammer whilst at between 860 and 1200 °C by John Hesketh & Son at Bury. The forgings were forwarded in batches to be machined by Ufone Precision Engineers at Rowley Regis to be delivered to the Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works (DLW) to be fitted to No. 60163 by July 2000. The total cost of the three sets of motion (including valve gear) was estimated to be around £130,000.

Wheelsets – The Trust made novel use of rape seed oil from Tesco’s to assemble the wheelsets. The oil, more usually found in the average kitchen, was used by the Trust’s contractor, Ian Riley of Riley & Son (Electromech) Ltd of Bury to enable Tornado’s six 6ft 8in driving wheels, four 3ft 2in front bogie wheels and two 3ft 8in Cartazzi (trailing) wheels to be pressed onto their axles.


Today, railway wheels are fitted the their axles by heating the wheels so that they expand and then shrink-fitting them to their axles. Due to the roller bearings having to be fitted to Tornado’s axles before the wheels, the Trust reverted to the traditional method of pressing on the wheels to avoid the hot wheel damaging the bearing. Tests conducted on behalf of the Trust showed that an initial interference of 0.00025 per inch of diameter, a taper on the axle of 1 in 500 and lubrication courtesy of rape seed oil from Tesco’s would facilitate the required 10 to 12 tons per inch diameter of pressing force.


David Elliott, David Champion and Dorothy Mather plus a pair of drivers!

The trial fitting of the wheels to their tyres and axles was the culmination of the most complicated logistics exercise yet undertaken by the Trust. The fitting of the 12 wheels to their axles was completed during September. The steel tyres had already been fitted to the two 3ft 8in Cartazzi (trailing) wheels by the Trust’s contractor, Ian Riley of Riley & Son (Electromech) Ltd of Bury and the tyres had been turned to their final profile, followed by the four 3ft 2in front bogie wheels. Performing a similar operation on Tornado’s six 6ft 8in driving wheels was more complicated due to their size. The demise of steam on British Railways over 30 years ago has left few workshops able to machine such large wheels – modern diesel and electric locomotive’s wheels are much smaller. Tornado’s six 6ft 8in driving wheels therefore had to be moved from Bury to the Severn Valley Railway’s workshops at Bridgnorth for turning, going back to Bury for the tyres to be fitted, before again visiting the SVR for the newly fitted tyres to be turned.

Roller bearings – Before the wheels could be test fitted to Tornado, five of the locomotive’s six wheelsets had their roller bearings fitted. The 46 different spacer, abutment, sealing and adjustment rings for the 12 Timken taper roller bearings had to be manufactured and located on the driving and bogie axles before the wheels were pressed on. The leading driving wheelset has a total of four roller bearings in two individual axle boxes. This is necessitated by the crank for the middle of the three cylinders. The remaining two driving and bogie wheelsets have two roller bearings each which are each housed in a cannon box of a tubular construction that encases the axle across the width of the frames.

The cannon and axle boxes which were cast in steel by Wm Cook Cast Products at Burton on Trent were machined by Ufone Precision Engineers at Rowley Regis, West Midlands. This work also involved welding a total of 96 pieces of highly wear resistant manganese steel to the guides in the cannon boxes which slide up and down in the horn blocks. The manganese steel liners were supplied by Aurora Metals of Sheffield. The trailing truck (cartazzi) wheelset has outside roller bearings enabling the bearings and axle boxes to be fitted after the wheels have been pressed on to the axle.

Patterns – The patterns were ordered for the piston crossheads, valve spindle crosshead guides and the cylinder covers. The most complex pattern needed for the construction of Tornado was ordered from Kings Heath Patterns of Birmingham, who produced the patterns for Tornado’s three cylinders. The pattern for the superheater header was estimated at around £9,000 to be cast in SG Iron.

Smokebox – The shell of the smokebox was now approaching completion, with the smokebox door, door fittings and  ring (built by Ian Howitt at Crofton near Wakefield) assembled in Darlington Locomotive Works in readiness for fitting to the locomotive. The chimney, chimney liner and blastpipe had been cast by Charles W Taylor at North Eastern Foundry, South Shields through a very generous sponsorship arrangement.   The chimney, chimney liner, blast pipe and three steam pipes were delivered to DLW following completion of machining by Ufone Precision Engineers at Dudley, West Midlands.  Ian Howitt made the distinctive superheater header covers, which are fitted to the rear of the smokebox. These deceptively simple looking items would originally have been made by pressing red hot plate between male and female dies.  This process was not viable for making two covers, as the tooling costs would be excessive. Instead, a single male former was made and the covers manually ‘panel beaten’ from 10mm plate using the former to create the right shape.  By the the time of the annual convention the smokebox and smoke deflectors had been trial fitted, the cab was in place and the loco was “sitting” on its wheels for the first time, albeit with a large banner hanging between cab and smokebox appealing for £250,000 to fill the “gap”!


Bogie – The bogie bottom centre, end stretchers and crosshead castings were dispatched to Ufone for machining