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.

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

The Chester Christmas Cracker

25th November – Christmas begins here! A great day out featuring Tornado hard at work on the West Coast Main Line, an afternoon break in the medieval city of Chester and a festive Christmas Market all combine to bring you a really memorable day.  The outward route is via the main line through Tamworth and Stafford to Crewe, reaching Chester at lunchtime. A frequent shuttle bus links the station forecourt with the city centre. No other city encapsulates the ‘feel’ of Old England quite so well as Chester, with its truly splendid black and white timbered buildings (‘The Rows’) and the famous Eastgate Clock. Chester Castle and Military Museum are a short walk away, along the city walls.

Next to Chester’s ancient cathedral you will find Chester’s magical Christmas Market, with over seventy traditional wooden chalets huddled around a sparkling Christmas tree. There will be an abundance of festive treats and gifts on offer, including quality local and regional products, crafts, accessories, jewellery, unique gifts and stocking fillers, which are sure to make the perfect present.

Don’t forget to sample the delicious hot food and drink, including tasty mulled wine, local ales and hot chocolate from the Real Ale Bar; the perfect way to keep warm whilst enjoying the market.

We will have a break of over three and a half hours in Chester. With Tornado still in charge we return via Crewe and Stafford to Bescot Yard in the West Midlands where an electric loco takes over for our return home via Coventry.

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, to book go to UK Railtours.

Station Depart Arrive
London Euston 08.00 20.45
Watford Junction 08.30 20.25
Milton Keynes Central 09.00 20.05
Northampton 09.20 19.45

Standard Class
Price: £ 99.00

First Class Non-Dining
Includes complementary tea or coffee, a buffet car is available.
First Class Non-Dining
Price: £ 159.00

Option: Guaranteed Table for Two (per seat)
Price: £ 25.00

First Class Dining
Includes the Great British Breakfast and a four course dinner.
First Class Dining
Price: £ 245.00

Option: Guaranteed Table for Two (per seat)
Price: £ 25.00

One last push to fund the tender!

We are delighted to announce that the fundraising campaign to purchase Tornado’s tender from William Cook Cast Products has already reached 95% of its 163 member target to raise £200,000.

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. However, 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. The tender is leased to the Trust under a 15-year loan agreement which will come to an end 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 over 150 of the initial 163 ex-LNER Express Passenger ‘Pacifcs’ have already received new ‘shed allocations’. Due to popular demand, an additional 46 ‘Pacifics’ have now been released from the Raven class A2s, Thompson classes A2/1s, A2/2s, A2/3s, Peppercorn class A2s and Gresley class A4s (destroyed No. 4469 Gadwall). 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.

06111503 Tender loaded DE

Tornado’s tender is loaded at Darlington after its last overhaul – Bob Hughes

Details of The163 Pacifics Club:

  • We need 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, Thompson classes A2/1s, A2/2s, A2/3s, Peppercorn class A2s and Gresley class A4s (destroyed No. 4469 Gadwall)
  • 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.
  • As with the previous 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.

Mark Allatt, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:

“We are delighted that over 150 people have joined The163 Pacifics Club so far, meaning that we have already received pledges of 95% of the 163 needed to raise £200,000 to purchase Tornado’s tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd by 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.

“Due to popular demand, we have decided to release the remaining ex-LNER ‘Pacifics’ and there are some truly iconic names available to sponsor. Any additional funds raised will be ring-fenced and used for the next overhaul of Tornado’s tender. Please contact the Trust on or 01325 460163 for more information and to reserve your favourite ‘Pacific’.

Volunteers and Tornado – ‘Best of British’

Best of British magazine has named volunteers as the number one thing that makes Britain great, in a list of 250 Things That Make Britain Great, published in its May issue.  The list was compiled with input from readers, contributors and staff to celebrate the 250th issue of the nostalgia magazine. The list also recognises at least 24 charities. Macmillan is the highest ranked charity at number 13, followed by RNLI at 14.  Tornado made it to #31 on the list, ahead of Isambard Kingdom Brunel,  the National Railway Museum and Flying Scotsman!  However, we must pay tribute to our own volunteers, without whom No. 60163 would be able to run and No. 2007 be built.

Simon Stabler, the magazine’s editor, said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities, just look at the likes of the Royal Voluntary Service whose work at home and in hospitals allows older people to ‘live life happier’, Keep Britain Tidy which help people to show pride in their area and Cancer Research UK whose volunteers in their shops and behind the scenes contribute to the charity’s life-saving research.”

Bob Barton, a regular contributor to the magazine who nominated volunteers for the list, added: “The British are always willing to volunteer. Where would our heritage railways, little museums and parks be without them?”

The top 35 are listed below:

The Queen
Sir David Attenborough
Houses of Parliament
Sir Winston Churchill
The English Language
Village Fetes
Our sense of humour
Fish and Chips
The Great British Breakfast
Macmillan Cancer Support
The Royal National Lifeboat Institute
Red phone boxes
Real ale
The Beatles
Giving up your seat
National Museums
Brilliant architecture
Stunning scenery
The Mini
London Underground
Town and city parks
Dad’s Army
William Shakespeare
The Brompton
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Blackpool trams
Our rich musical heritage

Montage by Mandy Grant

‘Matey’ – one last time

Tornado heads to Cornwall on Spring Bank Holiday and will carry the ‘Matey’ headboard in memory of the late Ray Towell.  Ray had a house in Cornwall and always felt a strong pull to the west, reached by his beloved Great Western. Many a time he would journey west to spend time relaxing and recharging in the splendour Cornwall has to offer.
It is likely that this will be the third and last time the Matey headboard is carried by Tornado; the previous times being the first trip after Ray passed and the 100mph test run in April 2017. It will be retired and displayed in the support coach as a reminder of a gentleman who taught many of the A1 team how to run mainline steam and helped deliver Tornado onto the mainline in 2008.
02041603 - Winchfield - Andrew Shapland
Tornado is seen at Winchfield bearing the ‘Matey’ code and headboard – Andrew Shapland

Walton-on-the-Naze 150th Railway Celebration

Tornado will make history when it arrives in Walton to commemorate the town rail station’s 150th anniversary this August.  For the first time people will have a chance to hop aboard a steam special for a return journey from London Liverpool Street to Walton railway station.  Once in Walton, the train will then run to and from Colchester Town five times, giving 1,500 visitors an opportunity to enjoy an historic trip.

Thousands of people are expected to spend 12th August at the seaside town, where a fireworks display will round off a day’s worth of entertainment at 21:00hrs.  Visitors will be able to ride the attractions at Walton Pier for free having first collected a wristband from various top locations, such as the Naze Tower.

Event organisers Mark Platt, chairman of Tendring Council, and Edward Bell, founder of Love to Shop Local, said they wanted to hold an event to celebrate the railway’s landmark anniversary while also showcasing the best of local business.   Mr Platt said: “It’s an opportunity for Walton to shine and an opportunity to remind people of how Walton used to be a rail destination.  Commissioning the train from London to Walton is a major achievement and because it’s a non-stop service, rail enthusiasts get very excited, so we’ve had interest from other countries already, such as Holland.”

Proceeds from the day, and specially-made Tornado mugs, are being donated to St Helena Hospice, in Clacton, as Mr Platt’s chosen charity for August in his year as council chairman.  A London return ticket will cost passengers £99, while a return from Walton ranges between £17.50 and £80 for a family of four. Passengers will be treated to a buffet.

For tickets click here. Also email or freephone 0330 1138989.

Mark Platt stands next to Tornado at Stewarts Lane – Daily Gazette