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 or on +44 (0)7710 878979.

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

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

Crowds of photographers at Victoria – Peter Maynard


All submissions to this competition grant the A1SLT permission to use their photos for promotion purposes, with the photographer being credited 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.

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

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.

Tornado clocks up 100,000 miles!

TORNADO REACHED 100,000 MILES SINCE COMPLETION WHILST ON THE NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS RAILWAY – Milestone passed near Pickering on Sunday 11th March 2018

We are delighted to announce that the locomotive achieved 100,000 miles in service since completion in 2008 just outside Pickering on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on Sunday 11th March 2018 whilst hauling the last train of the day to Grosmont.

Since completion in Darlington in 2008, new Peppercorn class A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado has 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.

Mark Allatt, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “This summer Tornado is celebrating her 10th 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 cris-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’.”

Graeme Bunker-James, Operations Director added, “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. This year will see both the 10th anniversary of Tornado’s completion and the 100thanniversary of the RAF’s formation and we will be seeking to mark both milestones in an appropriate manner – watch this space!”

Tornado raises the rafters at Goathland on her way that 100,000th mile – Alan Weaver

Heritage Railway Association Awards

At the annual Heritage Railway Association awards ceremony held at the Burlington Arcade Hotel in Birmingham on 10th February, the Trust was honoured to be awarded not one but two national prizes. Firstly we received the Steam Railway Magazine Award, presented by editor Nick Brodrick, for “reaching out with Tornado to new and wider audiences” in recognition of the locomotive’s adventures in 2017, initially on the ‘Plandampf’ series on the Settle & Carlisle railway, then the 100mph run and its associated television coverage and finally in her appearance in the PADDINGTON 2 film. Secondly we scooped the John Coiley Locomotive Engineering award for the work associated with the 100mph run. Trustees and representatives of DB Cargo, Ricardo Rail, Resonate, Darlington Council and the Royal Navy were among the Trust party who attended the event. All photos by Sophie Bunker-James.

Nick Brodrick presents the Steam Railway Magazine Award to the assembled representatives of the Trust and bodies associated with it, Eddie Draper (Ricardo Rail), Huw Parker, Graeme Bunker-James, Mark Allatt, Jim Smith (DBC) and Owen Evans (Resonate Group)

The Steam Railway Magazine award

Lord Berkeley presents Rob Morland and David Elliott with the John Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award

The John Coiley award

‘The Devonian’

Saturday 8th September - Birmingham to Plymouth

Join us on board ‘The Devonian’ for a wonderful trip to the West Country with Tornado. Departing from Birmingham Snow Hill station our train will be hauled as far as Bristol by a Class 67 diesel locomotive. At Bristol Tornado will be waiting to take our train west across the Somerset levels and on through Whiteball Tunnel …

More information...

Darlington Road named after Tornado

We are delighted to announce that Darlington Borough Council has officially named a road in Darlington ‘Tornado Way’. This naming ceremony puts Tornado firmly on the Darlington map. The name of the road was chosen by public vote and The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust are honoured that Tornado Way is now the new name for a major commuter road. The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor will now be known as Tornado Way after it scooped almost 50% of the votes in a social media poll. Tornado Way follows the track bed of the original Stockton and Darlington railway from 1825.

The new name was unveiled on Thursday 8th February by Paul Bruce and Graeme Bunker-James of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Local Environment. Tornado Way was first opened to motorists in 2007, linking the A66 with Darlington town centre and providing a reprieve for congested Haughton Road.

Councillor Nick Wallis commented, “Darlington is rightly proud to be the birthplace of Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in the UK for over 50 years. We are delighted to name this road in its honour and excited about what the future may hold. Tornado Way has already unlocked a huge amount of positive development for the eastern side of Darlington, creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of new homes, and there is still more to come.”

Graeme Bunker-James, Operations Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, added, “This just shows how much the history of railway means to the people of Darlington. We’re delighted that No. 60163 Tornado has been invited to be as much a part of the town’s future as its past.”

Councillor Nick Wallis with Graeme Bunker-James and Paul Bruce and the new sign – Stuart Boulton

100mph film to be repeated on BBC4 Tuesday 13th February!

Tom Ingall, who produced the ‘Absolutely Chuffed’ video when Tornado first entered traffic, was on board with a film crew for No. 60163’s 100mph dash down the East Coast Main Line.  The fruits of this endeavour were initially  broadcast on regional TV stations but it is set to be repeated on BBC 4, Tuesday 13th Feb 10.30pm

Don’t miss it!

Tom Ingall is seen making the documentary for the BBC – Graham Langer

First components acquired for new Gresley class V4

We are pleased to announce that the first components have been acquired for the Trust’s third new steam locomotive – Gresley class V4 No. 3403.

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) class V4 was a class of 2-6-2 steam locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley 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).

The Trust has since 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 have been 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, added, “We want to be ready to start building 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 £2.5m 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.”

January winter maintenance update

The work continues at Locomotive Maintenance Services in Loughborough, encompassing a routine cylinder re-bore (which means, in theory, Tornado is at its greatest tractive ability with cylinders bored to the maximum and tyres turned to the minimum!), a full valve gear exam and routine renewals of pipework and unions.  One small modification has seen an additional trap-door let in to the ash pan to facilitate washing out at disposal.  Photos from Graeme Bunker-James.

Meanwhile, back in Darlington, the Trust has taken delivery of a full set of driving wheel tyres for Tornado as well as two additional air pumps and, most excitingly, a full set of tyres for the planned V4!  Photos from David Elliott

Tornado to the Bluebell in 2018!

We are pleased to confirm that plans are at an advanced stage for the Bluebell Railway to again host Tornado.  The locomotive will be at the railway for five days in 2018 to include the Spring Bank Holiday Monday on May 28th; days of operation will be: –

Friday 25th to Tuesday 29th May inclusive.

Events around the visit and rostering of duties are still being finalised – keep watching this space for more details.


The last time Tornado visited the Bluebell Railway she wore appropriate BR blue! – Nick Farrant