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, chairman 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 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.

Tornado – repair update

Following Tornado’s failure whilst hauling ‘The Ebor Flyer’ investigations have continued and are now drawing to a close. On conclusion of the investigation we will publish an update on the key findings.
Our priority is the investigation, however repair activity is proceeding and we are grateful to those suppliers who have responded swiftly to manufacture new components for the locomotive. We are also grateful to Locomotive Services Ltd and Jeremy Hosking who have loaned components obtained for the overhaul of A2 Blue Peter so as to speed the repairs. We also extend our thanks to DB Cargo for their support in carrying out this investigation.
It is anticipated that repairs will be concluded in June to enable running in activity to commence and a main line test run to take place. Tornado will then pick up its diary in July, commencing with the RAF100 train from Lincoln to London on 10th July.
Operations Director Graeme Bunker-James said ‘We are pleased to say that progress is positive in returning Tornado to operation. We apologise to those who have had their plans disrupted and hope that those affected will be able to travel behind Tornado very soon.’

Motion repair update

No time has been wasted in arranging the forging and machining of the replacement parts for Tornado’s  motion.  Whilst we work hard with our partners to fully understand the causes of the failure on 14/4/18, we have been able to place the order for key new components.  Stephenson Engineering at Atherton have already forged a new combination lever and union link and these are now ready for machining.  Following their very kind offer to lend us replacements parts, David Elliott visited LNWRH at Crewe to look at the equivalent components off Blue Peter and while they are capable of being used the present rate of manufacture of new motion parts means they may not be needed.  We are grateful for the way our friends and industry partners have rallied to help us in this impressive manner and the kind offers of donations by our supporters – the best way you can help Tornado in the long term is to sign up as a Covenantor, you can find out how to do this here.

The billet for the combination lever – David Elliott

The inside union link forging – David Elliott

Tornado – a further update

Following Tornado’s failure on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ at Sandy on Saturday 14th April 2018, the locomotive was hauled to Peterborough by GBRF class 66 No. 66744 Crossrail, removed from the train at Peterborough and immediately transferred to the nearby Nene Valley Railway where it was taken to their principal maintenance location at Wansford. ‘The Ebor Flyer’ then continued its journey to York diesel hauled. RAIB were notified on the day and ORR are aware of the incident.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust would like to apologise to anyone whose journey was disrupted on Saturday, be that on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ or on service trains affected.

On Sunday 15th April, in the presence of one of DB Cargo’s appointed independent steam locomotive examiners, a thorough pit inspection and strip-down of the immediately affected components was undertaken. What we know so far is that the front valve on the middle valve spindle seized in the valve liner. This caused significant stresses to the combination lever which failed, causing the loss of the lower part of it, allowing it and the union link to flail which in turn caused the lower part of the drop link to separate from the crosshead. This is almost certainly due to a lubrication failure in that area, although the exact cause of such a failure is not known at the present time and investigations continue in this area. We are also examining all components and reviewing all relevant records and design and installation drawings. The nature of the failure suggests that even at 75mph the incident would have occurred. All damage thereafter is consequential and would readily explain how parts of the inside valve gear became detached in the manner they did.

The Trust is carrying out its own investigation and working alongside DB Cargo, our certification body and our insurers.

The locomotive is being carefully dismantled and as well as the obvious visual exams, NDT and other techniques are also being used.

Independent of this, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has secured the services of First Class Partnerships (FCP) to provide an overview and independent opinion on both the immediate causes and effect of the failure and the wider impact on the future main line running of No. 60163 Tornado.

As to repairs, the locomotive will require the valve liner to be honed or bored, and a new valve head and rings fitted. A new combination lever, union link and crosshead are also needed. Other items will require inspection and possible repair, but a full list hasn’t yet been produced and agreed. Jeremy Hosking’s Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust has kindly offered to lend us the combination lever and the inside union link from Peppercorn class A2 No. 60532 Blue Peter as these are likely to be the longest lead time items to make. We would like to thank them and also the other suppliers and contractors who have contacted us to offer help. It is too early to quantify the total cost but that of the replacement of the known damaged parts is around £20,000. Tornado is insured, but not all items will be covered – we will know more in the coming days. However, our understanding of the information available to date is that the breakdown was not speed related and could have occurred at any time.

The Trust is humbled to have received messages of support from across the country, internationally and from senior rail industry partners. Such messages are very encouraging as the Trust looks to recover from the disappointment of the events of Saturday 14th April.

Because we did not deliver the day out we hoped to for passengers travelling on ‘The Ebor Flyer’, we have given each passenger a discount off a future Tornado-hauled railtour. Furthermore, we are looking at the option of re-running the train in the future with a repaired Tornado and will ensure all passengers on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ get the first chance to book tickets.

Following on from this, we have postponed our visit to the Midland Railway Centre (Saturday 21st April 2018) and we have also postponed ‘The Ynys Môn Express’ which was due to run on Saturday 28th April 2018, a date is yet to be confirmed as to when this tour will be rescheduled. Additionally, we regret that we will be rearranging the Tornado Team day that was due to be at the Nene Valley Railway on Saturday 12th May 2018 – again a rescheduled date will be announced in due course.

You can support the work of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust by becoming one of our monthly Covenantors and donating from £10.00 per month towards No. 60163 Tornado. This is our core fundraising initiative and we have around 1,200 people who regularly donate towards the maintenance and upkeep of Tornado. For more information on how you can support the Trust in this way, or to make a one-off Donation, please click here, call 01325 460163 or email enquiries@a1steam.com.

Tornado – repair update

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust would like to apologise for the disruption caused to passengers travelling on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ on Saturday 14th April 2018 and passengers on other trains, particularly Virgin Trains East Coast customers, impacted by No. 60163 Tornado’s breakdown. The locomotive came to a stop just south of Sandy with a broken combination lever. Investigations have so far revealed that this was due to the middle piston valve overheating and binding in the valve chest. The root cause is not yet fully clear, but it is likely that insufficient lubrication was an issue. Investigations continue to establish the cause of failure in the lubrication system and any contributing factors.

Tornado has run many miles since winter maintenance with no obvious issues in this area. Whilst we have been asked if the higher speed was a factor in the failure, at present we believe it not to be. It probably happened slightly earlier in the journey than if running at lower speed, but it most likely would still have happened.

Because we did not deliver the day out we hoped to for passengers travelling on ‘The Ebor Flyer’, we have given each passenger a voucher with discount off a future Tornado-hauled railtour. Furthermore, we are looking at the option of re-running the train in the future with a repaired Tornado and will ensure all passengers on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ get the first chance to book tickets.

Following on from this, we have postponed our visit to the Midland Railway Centre (Saturday 21st April 2018) and we have also postponed ‘The Ynys Môn Express’ which was due to run on Saturday 28th April 2018, a date is yet to be confirmed as to when this tour will be rescheduled. Additionally, we regret that we will be rearranging the Tornado Team day that was due to be at the Nene Valley Railway on Saturday 12th May 2018 – again a rescheduled date will be announced in due course.

We are now concentrating our efforts on continuing the investigation and undertaking the necessary repairs.

You can support the work of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust by becoming one of our monthly Covenantors and donating from £10.00 per month towards No. 60163 Tornado. This is our core fundraising initiative and we have around 1,200 people who regularly donate towards the maintenance and upkeep of Tornado. For more information on how you can support the Trust in this way, or to make a one-off Donation, please click here, call 01325 460163 or email .

‘The Ebor Flyer’ – update

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is disappointed to announce that No. 60163 Tornado failed whilst hauling ‘The Ebor Flyer’ on Saturday 14th April 2018 south of Peterborough. The failure was due to damaged inside motion. At this time the cause of the damage is not known but is not thought to be speed-related. Tornado was taken off the train at Peterborough and will be moved to the Nene Valley Railway for inspection and repairs. The Trust is conducting a thorough investigation. Further announcements will be made when the Trust has more information.

Tornado at ten photographic competition

Tornado at Ten – Photography Competition

We would like to invite both budding and more established photographers to enter their photos of Tornado in her tenth year. The winner will receive two First Class dining tickets on a days railtour of their choice.

Our judges will focus on interesting angles, light and surroundings. Tornado is taking trains along some beautiful routes this year, so it is the perfect opportunity to get that seaside, countryside or even city landmark shot!

Please send your photos, along with your name, and the date and location they were taken, to competition@a1steam.com

Crowds of photographers at Victoria – Peter Maynard

T&Cs

Photos must be taken in 2018, the year that Tornado turns ten.

You must own the rights to the photograph.

All submissions to this competition grant the A1SLT permission to use their photos without payment for promotion purposes including in published materials. This permission is granted indefinitely.

The photographer will receive credit whenever their image is used.

To be considered for this prize, we ask that all images are taken legally, on public land and always from a position of safety.

The winner will be announced at The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust convention in October 2018.

AWS issue resolved

Following the recent issues with the AWS system on Tornado we are pleased to be able to report that the issue has been resolved. As an intermittent fault it was not easy to diagnose, nor had such a fault occurred previously on Tornado or any other locomotive fitted with the same system. We are grateful to Sharpe Engineering Solutions, Locomotive Maintenance Services and Thales for their help in diagnosing the problem.

A minor modification to the electro-pneumatic system has now resolved the issue.