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 1st August 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, Trustee of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust at mark.allatt@a1steam.com or on +44 (0)7710 878979.

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

Tornado repair update

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is pleased to report that No. 60163 Tornado has successfully completed approximately 50 miles of post-repairs running-in on the Nene Valley Railway (NVR). This was followed by a detailed examination of the locomotive, as a result of which we will be undertaking a number of further checks and making some adjustments. As a consequence, Tornado has not been operating on the NVR but it is anticipated that it will be operating on Friday 21st September. The locomotive is then scheduled to haul passenger trains at the Nene Valley Railway’s ‘Tornado at Ten’ event on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd September as part of completing preparations for main line running.

Due to the need to ensure that the locomotive is fully run in, and to complete all necessary recertification processes it has been necessary to postpone ‘The Ynys Mon Express’ tour of 29th September and ‘The Auld Reekie’ tour of 7th October. We would like to apologise to those affected and all lead passengers have been written to, to outline the new details.

The Trust would again like to thank its supporters, passengers, volunteers and contractors for their patience and support over the last few months. There will be frequent updates as Tornado nears her return to the main line.

‘The Aberdonian’ – new programme of trains for 2019

We are pleased to announce ‘The Aberdonian’, a brand new programme of five steam-hauled trains between Edinburgh and Aberdeen for 2019.

The launch train for ‘The Aberdonian’ will run on Thursday 14th March 2019 with the main series of Tornado-hauled trains running on Thursday 1st, Thursday 8th and Saturday 31st August and Saturday 7th September 2019. ‘The Aberdonian’ will depart Edinburgh Waverley station at around 09:30hrs for Aberdeen, returning at around 20:30hrs.

Passengers are invited to join Tornado, star of Paddington 2 and Top Gear, at Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket stations, before steaming across The Forth Bridge and along the beautiful Fife coastline. As the journey progresses, the train spans The Tay Bridge before crossing Dundee on its way to its first stop of Carnoustie where passengers can elect to alight for a day of golf. The railway then runs along cliff tops and through lush countryside via the coastal towns of Arbroath, Montrose and Stonehaven before arriving into Aberdeen’s light and airy station. On arrival at Aberdeen, passengers can choose to take one of the optional onward excursions or simply explore the city at their own pace.

For the passengers electing to stay in Aberdeen and experience its heritage and history, there many attractions within easy walking distance of the station. Those wishing to explore Aberdeenshire further can book onto one of three off-train excursions that offer an authentic taste of the local area, choosing from a distillery, a castle and a highland cattle farm. After a break of around four hours, Tornado will haul ‘The Aberdonian’ on its return journey to Edinburgh following the outward route.

Adult tickets are priced at Standard Class £99, First Class £159, First Class Dining £235.

For further details about these trains and how to book can be found via a1steam.com/railtours or call 01438 715050.

Riddell Graham, VisitScotland Director of Industry & Destination Development, said, “I am delighted to hear about The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s latest programme of steam trains between Edinburgh and Aberdeen. These journeys will give visitors the chance to step back in time and enjoy the stunning scenery of the east of Scotland, all within these wonderful trains which showcase our rich heritage.

“Everything we do at VisitScotland is about creating a passion for Scotland and innovative events like this help create a destination and customer experience worth talking about.”

Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail, added, “Scotland and its railway will massively welcome this series of steam hauled trains, crossing the iconic Forth Bridge and connecting the Granite City of Aberdeen with the Scottish capital. Tornado is a shining example of British engineering, reflecting the country that invented railways, and giving pleasure on every trip to thousands of Scots as it traverses Scotland. I hope this series of trips become a permanent feature of the Scottish railway scene. Network Rail strongly supports this initiative.”

Graeme Bunker-James, Operations Director and Trustee of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented that “We are extremely proud to be launching ‘The Aberdonian’ series of new special steam-hauled trains from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, taking in the fabulous sights of the east coast of Scotland. Hauled by our famous new steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado, crossing the iconic Forth Bridge, exploring some of the best scenery Scotland has to offer and visiting Aberdeen and the surrounding area will make this an unforgettable day out for all who travel. There is even the option to dine on-board and enjoy fabulous dishes using the very best Scottish ingredients prepared by our on-board chefs.”

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 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.

‘The Aberdonian’ offers the opportunity to relive a bygone age of steam travel, evoking the glamour of the 1930s. Heritage carriages provide a nostalgic journey back in time, where passengers can enjoy the beautiful scenery as plumes of steam drift past the windows, and Tornado’s whistle can be heard.

Passengers booking First Class can look forward to luxurious surroundings, travelling in a comfortable and roomy seat with curtains by the windows. For a little more indulgence, there is the First Class Dining experience, with silver service for all meals, each cooked on the train by an elite team of chefs. Passengers can enjoy a full English breakfast on the outward journey and a relaxed four course dinner on the way home as the sun sets, the station lights twinkle and Tornado’s reassuring rhythmical exhaust sets the seal on a memorable day out. Alternatively, Standard Class seating is also available for those simply wishing to enjoy the scenery and have an enjoyable day out. A buffet car is available in Standard Class. ‘The Aberdonian’ is set to be a wonderful day out for all, and the ideal way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or simply spending time together as friends and family.

You can see more details here https://www.a1steam.com/2018/09/12/the-aberdonian/

V4 design reaches pre-launch stage

We are pleased to announce that we have formed a new subsidiary, The V4 Steam Locomotive Company Limited, to carry out the building of our third new steam locomotive – the yet-to-be-named new Gresley class V4 No. 3403 – as part of its preparations for the formal launch of the project. We can also confirm that we have acquired over 500 original class V4 drawings from Malcolm Barlow, a Doncaster scrap dealer who launched the now defunct Gresley V4 Society in 1994 to build a new example of the class.

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) class V4 was a class of 2-6-2 steam locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley – who also designed world-famous No. 4472 Flying Scotsman and world speed record holder No. 4468 Mallard – for mixed-traffic use. It was Gresley’s last design for the LNER before he died in 1941. The class V4s had similarities in their appearance and mechanical layout to the class V2s of which pioneer No. 4771 Green Arrow is preserved as a part of the National Collection. The class V2s, introduced in 1936, had limited route availability and the class V4 was a lightweight alternative, suitable for use over the whole of the LNER network.

Two locomotives were built at the LNER’s Doncaster Works in 1941. The first locomotive, No. 3401 Bantam Cock, had a scaled-down version of the Gresley Pacific boiler with a grate area of 27½ sq ft. Its tractive effort of 27,000 lbs was produced by boiler pressure of 250 psi and three cylinders of 15in diameter. The second locomotive, No. 3402, incorporated a fully welded steel firebox and a single thermic syphon for water circulation. It was not named, but was known unofficially as Bantam Hen. The class was tried on the Great Eastern section of the LNER, and was well received, with more power than the existing Gresley class B17 4-6-0s and better riding qualities. It was anticipated that many more would be produced, but after the sudden death of Gresley in April 1941 and his succession by Edward Thompson, no more were built. Instead, the simpler two-cylinder Thompson class B1 4-6-0 was adopted as the LNER’s standard mixed-traffic locomotive and 410 were built between 1942 and 1952. The two locomotives were sent to Scotland for use on the West Highland Line, although their wheel arrangement was not particularly suitable for the line’s steep gradients. The two class V4s were renumbered Nos. 1700/1 in 1946 and later became British Railways Nos. 61700/1. Both locomotives were scrapped in 1957 when their boilers became due for renewal.

At its Silver Jubilee Convention in October 2015, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust announced that it would follow its Peppercorn class A1 4-6-2 No. 60163 Tornado and Gresley class P2 2-8-2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales with the construction of further extinct LNER steam locomotives – a Gresley class V4 2-6-2, a Gresley class V3 2-6-2T and a Gresley class K3 2-6-0. At its Annual Convention in September 2017, the Trust confirmed that it has started work identifying and scanning the original drawings for the Gresley class V4 at the National Railway Museum in York in order that the design book for new locomotive could be created within 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD).

In January 2018, the Trust revealed that it had acquired and taken delivery of a complete set of fully-certified tyres for the new Gresley class V4’s pony, Cartazzi and 5ft 8in driving wheels. They were purchased from David Buck, owner of Thompson class B1 4-6-0 No. 61306 Mayflower, along with a chimney, two BR class 08 shunter speedometer drive generators and two two-stage single spindle air pumps of Finnish origin including lubricator pumps and check valves for use on No. 2007. The tyres were originally manufactured in South Africa in the late 1990s for Malcolm Barlow, a Doncaster scrap dealer who launched the Gresley V4 Society in 1994 to build a new example of the class. David Buck acquired the parts six months ago in a job lot of items that Malcolm Barlow had salvaged from Doncaster Works on its closure – including a number of class B1 components.

Mark Allatt, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “We are now in the pre-launch phase of the project to build our third new main line steam locomotive, with the formation of The V4 Steam Locomotive Company to actually build No. 3403, the opening of both the company and charitable bank accounts and the detailed review of over 500 acquired drawings.

“We want to be ready to start assembling our new Gresley class V4 as soon as our new class P2 is completed. If we’re in our new and much larger base at Whessoe Road by then – and there’s a good chance we will be – we could even start work on No. 3403 before No. 2007 Prince of Wales steams in 2021. We anticipate the project costing around £3m and taking around five years subject to the pace of fundraising. Our new Gresley class V4 is an ideal locomotive for regional main line tours, repeat main line itineraries and the longer, main line connected heritage railways.

“Unlike the class P2, where we have had to do a considerable amount of development work to complete the job that Sir Nigel Gresley started in 1934, there will be very little redesign work needed as there were no known problems with the Gresley class V4s.

“Although there is no specific appeal open for No. 3403 yet, any donations made towards it will be ring-fenced for the project. The next steps will be to launch a website for the project and The Founder’s Club to fund the early stages of the project. More announcements will be made during 2018 as the project builds up steam.”

Repair update – 10th August

** Note – We have been asked if Tornado will be in steam over the Bank Holiday weekend and advise that the loco will not be operating. We are approaching the final stage of reassembly and will advise when test running is to begin, which we anticipate will be the first week of September following various independent inspections

Update – 10th August 2018

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and its contractors are continuing the work to return No. 60163 Tornado to operational service. We are pleased to report that the two outside engines are now rebuilt and ready for final inspection before testing and running in operations. In the coming week the equivalent work will be undertaken on the inside engine so that the locomotive can then be weighed and prepared for steaming. It is anticipated that Tornado will make its first moves under its own power around the Bank Holiday weekend. We are pleased to confirm that all of the components required for the reinstatement to traffic of No. 60163 are now to hand or undergoing final machining. This includes the replacement outside union link which has been manufactured by Stephenson Engineering of Manchester.

The Trust would again like to apologise to those who have had their plans disrupted. It is now anticipated that Tornado will undertake running in operations at the Nene Valley Railway before returning to main line operations on Saturday 29th September with ‘The Ynys Mon Express’ from Leicester to Holyhead.

The following alterations will now apply to Tornado’s diary for the remainder of 2018 (passengers are in the process of being written to):

  • Monday 27th August – ‘The Canterbury Tale – Peterborough to Canterbury – Cancelled
  • Saturday 8th September – ‘The Devonian’ – Birmingham to Plymouth – Postponed to Spring 2019 (date tbc)
  • Saturday 15th September – ‘The Talisman’ – London to Newcastle – steam leg hauled by No. 60009 Union of South Africa

The following rail tours will then be hauled by No. 60163 Tornado with tickets available from our booking agent UK Railtours on 01438 715050.

  • Saturday 29th September – ‘The Ynys Mon Express’ – Leicester to Holyhead
  • Sunday 7th October – ‘The Auld Reekie’ – Doncaster to Edinburgh – (Deltic D9009 on the return leg)
  • Saturday 1st December – ‘The Christmas Border Raider’ – Birmingham to Carlisle via the Settle and Carlisle Railway

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust would again like to apologise to its loyal passengers and supporters for the disruption caused following Tornado’s failure on 14th April and subsequent time out of traffic undergoing inspection and repairs. We would like to thank all of our volunteers, staff and contractors for their hard work over the past few months to return Tornado to main line service.

A much better sight!  Tornado’s left hand motion is re-assembled – Graeme Bunker-James

Tornado’s tender purchased – 28 year dream complete!

The 163 Pacifics Club raises over £200,000.

On the day marking the 50th anniversary of the end of scheduled steam-hauled services on British Railways, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce that it has purchased the locomotive’s tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd following the success of The 163 Pacifics Club fundraising campaign.

Just a week ago on Saturday 28th July, over 100 supporters of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust gathered at Darlington Locomotive Works to celebrate the tenth birthday of 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.

Tornado’s tender was leased to the Trust under a 15-year loan agreement which was due to come to an end in 2021. The tender was 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 building 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.

Since completion in Darlington in 2008, 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 of 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.

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 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!

Mark Allatt, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “On 1st August No. 60163 Tornado celebrated 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.

“We are delighted that thanks to the generosity of our dedicated supporters we have raised more than £200,000 plus gift aid through our The 163 Pacifics Club fundraising campaign. This means that we are now in a position to purchase Tornado’s tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd three years before the end of its 15 year lease in 2021.

“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 well as assisting with the funding of Tornado’s boiler. Any additional funds raised have been ring-fenced and will be 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. There could be no better way to celebrate Tornado’s first ten years in steam than the purchase of her tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd, thus completing the project to build a new Peppercorn class A1 ‘Pacific’ launched in 1990.”

Sir Andrew Cook CBE, Chairman, William Cook Cast Products Ltd, added, “William Cook Cast Products Ltd has been delighted to be associated with The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for almost 25 years, supplying all of the steel castings for both No. 60163 Tornado and No. 2007 Prince of Wales and assisting with the funding of Tornado’s boiler, as well as purchasing and leasing back to the Trust Tornado’s tender, which enabled funds raised to focus on the construction of the engine. As the Trust’s Principal Sponsor, I believe that the building of Tornado is a great example of ‘The Cook Guiding Principles’ – Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence… persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Tornado’s tender at Darlington Locomotive Works – John Wilkinson

Details of The 163 Pacifics Club:

The Trust needed 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 available for sponsorship
Due to popular demand, an additional 46 ‘Pacifics’ were released for sponsorship 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. 4469 Gadwall); in addition, the un-named Gresley class W1 4-6-4 No. 10000/60700 has been sponsored.
163 people made a one-off donation of £960 (or alternatively donated £240 per month for four months), with the addition of Gift Aid (£240) this raised £195,600; the club was subsequently extended to 210 places to include the newly released names.As with the previous fundraising schemes, this initiative came 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.
Membership of The 163 Pacifics Club grew steadily from its launch in September 2013. In July 2017 the additional Pacifics were added to those available for sponsorship and by September 2017 The 163 Pacifics Club had passed its initial 163 members target.

Tornado celebrates her birthday in style

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.

A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Vacancy: Engineering and Workshop Manager

Vacancy: Engineering and Workshop Manager

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (A1SLT) at its base in Darlington in the role of Engineering and Workshop Manager.

A1SLT is the UK’s premier organisation for the building of brand new full-size steam locomotives. A1SLT is now seeking an experienced engineering manager to join its team in Darlington in the role of Engineering and Works Manager as construction activity on its second locomotive significantly increases.

This critical role will lead the team of staff, contractors and volunteers who are building a brand new main line locomotive, No. 2007 Prince of Wales through the Trust’s subsidiary company, The P2 Steam Locomotive Company (P2SLC). The role will also provide engineering management support to the existing new build locomotive, No. 60163 Tornado, in operation on the main line and preserved railways. The successful individual will additionally take a lead in the delivery of the third locomotive constructed by the Trust.

The successful applicant will be adept in the management of engineering projects and be experienced in leading teams. Experience of steam locomotive engineering would be an advantage. The role also requires hands on engineering activity as well as management and administration skills.

The role will be part of the team based in Darlington where the company has dedicated workshop facilities. There will be a need to travel from time to time to visit operating locomotives and suppliers, sometimes overseas.

The role attracts a salary of c.£35,000 dependent on experience. More could be available for an exceptional candidate.

For further information, a copy of the role description or to apply please contact recruitment@a1steam.com . Applications should include a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the role and how your experience and skills match the demands of this position. Applicants should also include an up to date CV.

Applications must be received by 10th August 2018 and interviews will be held on 17th August 2018 subject to availability.

Tornado – repair update 16th July

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and its contractors continue to work hard to return No. 60163 Tornado to traffic following the locomotive’s failure on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ in April. Unfortunately, there will be a further delay to Tornado’s return to traffic due to the ongoing hot weather and a need to replace one of the outside union links due to the identification of a tiny flaw in its surface.

This defect only affects the hardened surface of the union link, rather than the strong core, but requires replacement before main line operations can recommence. This is not considered to be associated with the failure of the locomotive on the 14th April and does not prohibit operations at 25mph on a preserved railway. It is anticipated that a new union link will be completed in early August and will then require fitting to the locomotive which takes two to three days. We are grateful to Robert Stephenson and his team, of Stephenson Engineering Ltd of Atherton, for the fast turnaround in manufacturing the new union link. This process requires a new forging and then there are machining and case hardening processes to complete.

We have undertaken the critical next stage in reassembly of the locomotive by confirming with our certification body and operator DB Cargo that the repair work carried out to date, including key components newly manufactured, are to the correct specifications. The next key inspection will be in the following seven days at which point the reassembly of the locomotive can then be completed ready for operations. It is likely that several further inspections will be required during test running and as part of a main line loaded test run.

The on-going hot weather continues to cause concern around our ability to test the locomotive at 25mph and complete running in activities. There is currently a steam ban on the Nene Valley Railway where the locomotive will be tested and run in. At present there is a steam ban on many preserved railways and on most of Network Rail a diesel is required to provide most of the traction power thus prohibiting a test run. In some places, such as the West Coast Main Line, no steam at all can run under any operating conditions. We continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure we can complete as much running in as possible and schedule a test run just as soon as is practical.

As a consequence of these delays we have, unfortunately, had to cancel the planned circular tours from Darlington on Sunday 29th July and we are postponing ‘The Mad Hatter’ railtour which will now run in Spring 2019 on a date yet to be confirmed. Our booking agent UK Railtours is contacting all affected passengers.

We have also spoken with our railtour operating customers and recommended that they work with us to identify a replacement locomotive for other trains in mid-August due to the issues described above. It is hoped that the locomotive will be reassembled and operational by this time, but the continued hot weather means that we are not confident that we will be able to complete the necessary running in and main line test runs in time to operate these trains.

As such the following applies to our programme: –

• Sunday 29th July – Darlington Circulars – Cancelled
• Wednesday 1st August – ‘The Mad Hatter’ – Postponed to Spring 2019
• Saturday 11th August – ‘Settle and Carlisle Golden Express 1’ – Hauled by another locomotive
• Wednesday 15th August – ‘Settle and Carlisle Golden Express 2’ – Hauled by another locomotive
• Saturday 18th August – ‘The Bard of Avon’ – Hauled by another locomotive

The above are subject to any restrictions due to high fire risk imposed by Network Rail. Passengers will be contacted directly by the appropriate railtour promoter or booking agent when more information becomes available. It is planned that Tornado will return to traffic on the 27th August with ‘The Canterbury Tale’ from Peterborough to Canterbury and return.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust apologises for the disappointment that this will cause to all passengers who have booked on these trains and our supporters – we hope that there will be something of interest in the remainder of our 2018 and our yet-to-be-published 2019 programme of railtours and heritage railway visits.

We would like to thank our supporters, friends and colleagues in the industry for their support and assistance as we return Tornado to operations.

Repairs update

Repairs continue apace to get Tornado back into traffic. The work to re-bore the valves is complete and manufacture or repair of the necessary new components is well advanced. The nature of the repairs is that much work is undertaken away from the locomotive and reassembly then follows, and we are now moving to complete the reassembly. We hope to have the locomotive in steam by the week of 2nd July when we will run the locomotive in at the Nene Valley Railway and a main line test run will then take place.

All efforts are being expended to return the locomotive to operational duties just as soon as possible. To ensure that the July 10th RAF 100 train runs with steam we have made the necessary arrangements so that LNER A4 60009 Union of South Africa is available to work this train. Whilst we know this will disappoint some, it has taken longer to complete the manufacture of the new crosshead than anticipated and the risk of Tornado not being available is too great to not make a robust alternative plan. We are grateful to John Cameron and his team for making the locomotive available and for Network Rail and DB Cargo for making the necessary arrangements. We will be contacting all passengers in the next week to confirm the change.

 

The newly completed Combination Lever and Union Link – Leigh Taylor

The lubricator and reservoir ready to be returned to the locomotive – David Wright

Valve head completing final machining ready for ring grooves to be cut – David Wright

Repair progess

Work continues to return Tornado to operation following the unfortunate incident on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ on 14th April. Our focus is on repairs to the engine’s valve bores, including the fitment of new valve liners to the middle valve, and on machining other components such as the new crosshead, union link and combination lever. In due course it will move on to the new valve heads.that are required and smaller components like fitted bolts and so forth as we reinstate the locomotive to operations.

The investigation progresses, and whilst it continues, the focus is on an alignment issue on the middle valve, analysis of the clearances in the valve rings and a concern over contamination or degradation in the lubrication used. We will continue to work through these issues to ensure robust conclusions are reached and agree suitable actions with our industry partners to avoid a re-occurrence.

It is still our intention that the locomotive will return to traffic, picking up its programme of trains from the 10th  July.
All photos by Robert Stephenson Co. Ltd.

The newly machined union link.
The combination lever being machined.
A closer image of the combination lever.