The project to build Tornado has had a high media profile since its launch in 1990 but never more so than following her first public move in steam on August 1 2008.

Media representatives surround Tornado at the 'First Moves' weekend, Aug 2008
Media representatives surround Tornado at the ‘First Moves’ weekend, Aug 2008

Over the years articles have appeared in almost every UK national newspaper, many regional papers, national and local television and radio, and the specialist engineering and railway press. It’s not just the UK press that has covered the story. Tornado has appeared in the media in many overseas countries including Australia, China, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and the USA.

Media contact

Media enquiries should be made to Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust at or on +44 (0)7710 878979.

Please note that this is not a general enquiries number and is for press use only.

A home fit for an A1!


The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce plans for a new multi-million-pound main line connected base in Darlington. If its fundraising attempts are successful, the new site will be operational in time to play a central role in the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025.

At the heart of the new base will be the four-track Whessoe Road engine shed which was built by the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1861. Designed by William Peachey, it was one of the S&DR’s last developments before the company was absorbed by the North Eastern Railway in 1863. The shed went on to serve as a wagon repair and paint shop, before falling into disuse in the late 20th Century. Thought to be one of the oldest surviving engine sheds in the world, it will require major roof repairs and other remedial works before it can again house live steam locomotives.

The Trust also plans to build a purpose built, three-road workshop, complete with overhead cranes and educational facilities, where it can maintain and overhaul its locomotive and carriage fleet, as well as build additional locomotives, such as its planned third new steam locomotive, Gresley class V4 No. 3403. Other planned features of the new ‘Darlington Locomotive Works’ include a 70-foot diameter turntable and a carriage shed to house the Trust’s proposed BR mark 3 carriage-based charter train.  The site can be easily and relatively cheaply reconnected to the national network, the depot would be connected directly onto the existing head shunt/siding at the north end of the North Road Goods Loop, sited west of Network Rail’s North Road station on the line from Darlington to Bishop Auckland.

A key priority for the Trust is that the site is made publicly accessible on regular advertised open days. It has also identified a quarter to one-third of a mile long running line which could be used for limited steam-hauled passenger rides, running parallel to the Bishop Auckland branch, as well as its more important role as a basic test-bed for the Trusts new and overhauled locomotives. The site also has potential as an operational base should an idea from Darlington Borough Council to run steam hauled shuttle services between Darlington and Bishop Auckland come to fruition.  The land adjacent to the engine shed is currently used by a vehicle component recovery business and all the relevant land is owned by Network Rail. Encouraging discussions have been held with the tenant and Darlington Borough Council has already identified an alternative site for the operation to relocate to. The Trust has appointed Darlington-based lifelong railwayman Paul Bruce as its Whessoe Road project director.

Graeme Bunker-James, Trustee and Operations Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Our long-awaited new base will be somewhere that both Tornado and Prince of Wales can truly call ‘home’. We hope that we will be able to operate the world’s newest steam locomotives from the world’s oldest active main line engine shed – a true ‘Top Shed’ of the north!  The intention is to open the Whessoe Road site as an operational base for the Trust soon after we complete the construction of Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales, which is scheduled for 2021/22 – and in good time to play a central role in the celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 2025.”

The Trust has already held positive talks with Network Rail about the site and been visited by both its Chairman Sir Peter Hendy and Chief Engineer Jon Shaw. The Trust is also working with local stakeholders, including Darlington Borough Council, Ben Houchen (Mayor of the Tees Valley Combined Authority) and Jenny Chapman MP (Darlington) to explore funding options.  A consequence of the proposal is that the Trust will vacate the former S&DR carriage works on Hopetown Lane – just 100 yards south of Whessoe Road – that it has occupied for the past 20 years.

The 1861 locomotive shed at Whessoe Road – A1SLT

The proposed track layout at Whessoe Road – A1SLT

Convention raffle winners

The hugely successful raffle was drawn at the Convention and we are pleased to announce the winners (who will also be contacted):
1st prize – 22002 Mr Atkins
2nd prize – 36884 Douglas Blades
3rd prize – 19344 Miss J Sandles
4th prize – 28569 Angela Brinkrian
5th prize – 37379 Peter Beale
6th prize – 26475 Rob Dixon
7th and 8th prize – 01868 J Scott and 29607 Andy Weaver
5 x P2 Books – 28182 Kirkland, 25237 Foakes, 39700 Mary Fransella, 20956 Nigel Lukowski, 24881 J R Sylvia Steele
Congratulations to all our winners, commiserations to those who didn’t and thanks to all of those who took part! Total raised £8661.00!

2018 Tornado Railtours brochure released

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust are extremely proud to be celebrating Tornado’s Tenth Anniversary in 2018. We have accomplished so much since this new build locomotive was completed a decade ago, and hope to continue developing steam travel for many years to come. From appearing on TV in ‘Top Gear’ and on film in ‘Paddington 2’, to grabbing headlines for reaching 100mph and operating a timetabled service during the S&C ‘plandampf’, Tornado draws crowds where ever she goes and we would like to invite you to be a part of our special year.

The 2018 tour diary promises to be our best yet, with railtours running country wide, allowing more people than ever to access our trains. Tornado will be hauling trains from the East and West Midlands, East Anglia, London and the North East offering passengers the opportunity to visit historic cities and seaside towns, crossing mountain vistas and rolling countryside. 2018 also sees the start of Tornado running at 90mph where permitted, the only steam locomotive certified to do so in the UK. This makes her not only the newest, but also the fastest steam locomotive on the modern railway network. As a part of our celebrations we are delighted to be offering our birthday railtour starting in Darlington, the home of the Trust and where the engine was completed.  We are also marking this momentous anniversary with a very special Pullman train run with our friends at Belmond and hope many of
you will join us on this luxury railtour to Yorkshire. Every train in this brochure is promoted by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, with all profits going directly towards keeping Tornado on the main line in future years. There is a great variety on offer in our brochure, and we hope that you will be able join us to celebrate ten years with Tornado. You can download the brochure here.

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.

‘The Ebor Flyer’

Saturday 14th April - 90mph London to York and return

Following a successful test run in April 2017, when Tornado reached a top speed of 100mph, passengers are now invited to join the locomotive on ‘The Ebor Flyer’. This will be the first public train when Tornado will be authorised to operate at speeds up to 90mph on the East Coast Main Line. The destination for this …

More information...

Tornado set to steam in to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Tornado, will be working on the scenic North Yorkshire Moors Railway line from Saturday 3rd March to Sunday 11th March, and you don’t want to miss it!  The popular locomotive is always a big hit wherever it goes; catching people’s eyes with its elegance and speed, this year reaching a staggering 100mph – a preservation steam record!

Chris Price, General Manager at North Yorkshire Moors Railway, said, “We’re very excited about the arrival of the iconic Tornado and are sure it will delight visitors travelling up and down our line.  Over the years we’ve had many guest locomotives visit us and we expect Tornado to be one of the best yet. With its searing speed and fantastic recent history, it’s sure to be a head turner!”

Graeme Bunker-James of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, ‘’It has been several years since Tornado visited the North Yorkshire Moors and we are very much looking forward to returning locomotive to such a scenic railway line.’’

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a heritage railway running through the North York Moors National Park. First opened in 1836 as the Whitby and Pickering Railway, the railway was planned in 1831 by George Stephenson as a means of opening up trade routes inland from the then important seaport of Whitby. The line closed in 1965 and was reopened in 1973 by the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust Ltd. The preserved line is now a significant tourist attraction and has been awarded many industry accolades.

For more information about NYMR, or to book tickets, visit Tickets for the Tornado visit are on sale from Monday 11th September.

The Trust respectfully requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.


Tornado is seen at Goathland during her first visit to the NYMR in 2009 – Don Brundell

Tornado and Paddington 2 – not the station!


The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce that the locomotive plays a starring role in the new PADDINGTON 2 movie to be released on 10th November 2017 along with luxury vintage train, Belmond British Pullman.

PADDINGTON 2 is an upcoming British-French family-comedy film directed by Paul King, co-written by King and Simon Farnaby, and produced by David Heyman. The film sees stars Ben Whishaw (as the voice of Paddington) Hugh Grant (as Phoenix Buchanan, a faded and narcissistic actor), Brendan Gleeson (as Knuckles McGinty, a safecracker), Hugh Bonneville (as Henry Brown), Sally Hawkins (as Mary Brown), Julie Walters (as Mrs Bird), Jim Broadbent (as Samuel Gruber), Peter Capaldi (as Mr Curry), Madeleine Harris (as Judy Brown), Samuel Joslin (as Jonathan Brown), Imelda Staunton (as the voice of Lucy, Paddington’s aunt) and Tornado as itself. No. 60163 took part in filming at Paddington station and at Leavesden Studios in December and January 2017. The film is set to release in the UK on 10th November 2017.

The much-anticipated sequel to the worldwide hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief, who appears to be a master of disguise…

In celebration of the release of PADDINGTON 2 on 10th November 2017, No. 60163 Tornado is to haul two Paddington Afternoon Tea journeys aboard Belmond British Pullman, bringing the magic of Paddington’s adventures to London’s favourite train. Departing from London Victoria Station on 2nd December 2017 and 16th February 2018, the luxurious 1920s and 1930s carriages will take families on a Paddington-inspired journey of a lifetime. Suitable for small and grown up bears, the Afternoon Tea menu includes sweet treats and marmalade sandwiches.  Paddington-inspired activities are also available on-board for families throughout the journey to fully immerse themselves in the world of Paddington.

Graeme Bunker-James, Trustee and Operations Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “We were delighted to be asked to provide No. 60163 Tornado for the filming of PADDINGTON 2 alongside the Belmond British Pullman – even more so as the locomotive stars as itself in the movie and is central to the plot. We don’t want to give anything away and ruin any surprises, but suffice to say that Paddington gets into a number of sticky situations involving Tornado.

“Paddington – and Tornado – fans of all ages can experience some of the magic of the film for themselves by travelling on one of the Paddington Afternoon Tea journeys aboard Belmond British Pullman hauled by No. 60163 on either 2nd December 2017 and 16th February 2018. And the Trust has its very own club – the Tornado Team – for younger Tornado fans aged from five to fifteen.”

The Trust respectfully requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.

Tornado to star at Barrow Hill re-opening

As the comprehensive restoration and building work, made possible by National Lottery players, continues apace at the unique Midland Railway roundhouse, further details of the exciting events planned for the much anticipated relaunch of Barrow Hill Roundhouse in September 2017 have been released and tickets are now on sale.

To cope with demand, the Grand Reopening Gala originally planned to take place over two days will now start on Friday 22nd September, continuing on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September.  The three day celebration will mark the reopening of Barrow Hill Roundhouse following the completion of the £1.2 million restoration project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).  The gala will star two icons of steam, Tornado and the National Railway Museum’s A3 No. 60103 Flying Scotsman.  This will be the first visit to the Roundhouse by Flying Scotsman since a BR Open Day in 1974.  It will also be the first opportunity for many to get up close to the locomotive alongside her sister East Coast racehorse, 100mph Tornado, against the unique and authentic backdrop of the Roundhouse.  Entry to the event will include a train ride behind these locos.

Doors open at 09:00hrs and the event closes at 17:00hrs.  Last entry is 15:00hrs.

Ticket prices:   Adults – £22.00

Children (16 and under) – £11.00

Family (two adults and two children) – £53.00

Tickets are available from  Please note that tickets for this event will not be available to buy on the day.

Tickets are now also on sale for “Down the Line”, a professionally produced play commissioned as part of the celebratory events to mark the reopening of Barrow Hill Roundhouse and supported by The Arts Council.  There will be three performances on the evenings of Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd September.  The show will involve a cast of professional actors and hundreds of local people, including a community choir and Ireland Colliery Chesterfield Brass Band.  The audience will be an integral part of the play as they follow the drama in and around the Roundhouse building. The Roundhouse team is delighted to announce that the play will include guest appearances by Flying Scotsman and Tornado. The play tells the story of Barrow Hill from the coming of the railways to the present day and our guide is a fictional Site Foreman, ‘Shunter’, whose family have lived in the area for generations. Doors open at 18:30hrs, performances commence at 19:00hrs and finish at 22:30hrs.

Ticket prices:   Adults – £13.20

Children (16 and under) – £6.60

Tickets are available from

Unfortunately Rocket, previously announced as another visitor to the Roundhouse in September, is no longer able to attend the celebrations but the Roundhouse team are in the final stages of negotiating the appearance of another locomotive and an announcement is expected soon.  In the meantime, the HLF funded restoration project continues on time and to budget.

Mervyn Allcock, General Manager of Barrow Hill Roundhouse commented “The team has been working really hard to make sure everything is ready for September.  The new extension will certainly grab the attention of our visitors as they arrive for the relaunch celebrations but the Roundhouse itself will continue to offer its atmospheric glimpse into the past as we celebrate the history and the future of this historic building.”

New for 2018 – ‘The North Briton’ – Saturday 24th February

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce its first railtour of 2018, on Saturday 24th February; and what finer way to start the year than enjoying a steam-hauled journey over the magnificent Settle & Carlisle Railway!

Specially for our East Anglian customers, the train departs from Cambridge, Ely, March and Peterborough with a Class 67 diesel at the head. We call also at Newark before reaching Belmont Yard, just south of Doncaster, where the diesel is detached and No. 60163 backs down on to the train.

After a final pick-up at Doncaster, Tornado gets into her stride as we run via Hambleton Junctions and Leeds, then up the picturesque Aire Valley, passing the Worth Valley Railway at Keighley and the market town of Skipton.

At Settle Junction the real purpose of the day begins! The long gruelling climb to Blea Moor Summit includes the crossing of the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct. True to her name, Tornado will roar through the glorious scenery of Dentdale, topping Ais Gill Summit before descending through Appleby to arrive at Carlisle. The station is right in the heart of the compact ‘border city’ and you will have a couple of hours in which to stretch your legs and explore.

But our steam adventure is far from over! We take our seats once more and enjoy a trip right across England at its narrowest point, west to east, taking the Low Fell Curve and arriving at Tyne Yard in Gateshead where 60163 is detached. Our Class 67 loco will have made her way from Doncaster ready for the homeward run along the East Coast Main Line.  You can see full details and book here.

In April 2017, Tornado is seen at Arksey with ‘The North Briton’ – Geoff Griffiths

This tour is promoted by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust with UK Railtours acting as ticket agents. All profits will go towards keeping Tornado on the main line in future years.

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

Station Depart Arrive
Cambridge 07.30 23.00
Ely 07.50 22.40
March 08.10 22.20
Peterborough 08.30 22.00
Newark Northgate 09.15 21.15
Doncaster 10.30 20.30