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.

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

Iconic LNER designs inspire Tornado poster

Today we have published two new posters by renowned railway artist Stephen Millership featuring our locomotives. The designs of the posters were inspired by the iconic posters of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) from the 1930s and 1940s.

Tornado 10 Years in Steam has been produced to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the completion of Tornado at Darlington Locomotive Works in 2008. The poster was designed by Stephen Millership and drew its inspiration from the iconic Silver Jubilee poster by Frank Newbould published by the LNER to mark the entry into service of Britain’s first streamlined train in 1935.

A Giant Resurrected has been produced to promote the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales at Darlington Locomotive Works. The poster was designed by Stephen Millership and drew its inspiration from the iconic Giants Refreshed poster by Terence Cuneo published by the LNER to mark the restoration of its locomotives from wartime Black liveries to Apple Green and Garter Blue liveries in 1947.

Both posters have been produced on A1 size 200gsm paper and are available to purchase for £15.00 each (including postage & packing) from The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust at with all profits going towards the featured locomotive. Tornado 10 Years in Steam can be purchased here and A Giant Resurrected here – ideal Christmas presents!

Mark Allatt, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “The London & North Eastern Railway not only built some of the finest steam locomotives to operate in Great Britain but also promoted its services with some of the most iconic posters ever produced, working with artists including Tom Purvis, Frank Newbould and Terence Cuneo.

“As the re-creator of long-lost LNER steam locomotive designs, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust wanted to celebrate Tornado’s tenth birthday and promote the construction of the seventh class P2 Prince of Wales and we could think of no more appropriate way than to commission two new posters from renowned illustrator Stephen Millership whose work pays homage to the golden age of steam.

Tornado 10 Years in Steam and A Giant Resurrected are both available to buy from for only £15.00 each – the perfect Christmas present for anyone with a love of steam or a passion for travel posters.”

Stephen Millership added, “When I was approached by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust to design and illustrate posters for both Tornado and Prince of Wales locomotives, I was thrilled. The project was made even more exciting when I was asked to base the posters on the classic LNER designs of the past. Terence Cuneo’s original poster Giants Refreshed has always been a favourite of mine, so to try and capture some of the magic of that poster using my illustration style was a challenge and a joy. I feel very pleased to have played a small part in both these amazing railway projects.”

The posters are illustrated below (water-marked for copyright purposes).

The Prince of Wales 69th Birthday

Today marks the 69th birthday of the Prince of Wales.  It is worth remembering that No. 2007 was named in his honour of his 65th birthday!  This is how we announced the news then…..

“In honour of Prince Charles’s 65th Birthday, Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive is to be named after the heir to the throne.  The P2 Steam Locomotive Company (P2SLC), the builder of Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive, is delighted to announce that the name of its new Gresley class P2 2-8-2 steam locomotive will be ‘Prince of Wales’. The new steam locomotive is being named in honour of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, to coincide with his 65th birthday celebrations and The Queen has kindly approved the use of His Royal Highness’s name for the locomotive.

Prince Charles also named Tornado at York and No. 60163 has hauled the Royal Train three times on his behalf – happy birthday Your Royal Highness!

Tornado and Paddington at the Nene Valley Railway

In celebration of the release of Paddington 2 we are pleased to announce

Tornado and Paddington™

Sunday 6th May 2018

Ride a Steam Train behind Tornado at Wansford!
Plus meet Paddington at intervals throughout the day!
Lots of Fun for all the family and don’t forget to bring your camera!

Paddington with Tornado’s crew at…. Paddington! – Alex Morton

Licensed Buffet Car
Turntable Café serving hot/cold food and refreshments from 08:30hrs
Wansford Shop open with a selection of Paddington Gifts and toys
Children’s Play area and Riverside Picnic area at Wansford
Garden Railway at Wansford
Second-Hand Book Shop open
Railcar Service from Wansford to Yarwell

Britain’s most exclusive railtour – with Tornado


We are delighted to announce that as part of its 10th birthday celebrations next year Tornado will haul an exclusive Golden Eagle Luxury Trains charter using the ‘Royal Scotsman’ carriages from Inverness to Penzance as part of a 2,000 mile itinerary.  Tickets have already gone on sale for Britain’s most exclusive ever steam railtour. Just 38 passengers will be able to travel on this multi-day trip with places costing from £29,995 sharing. Departing from Edinburgh on 15th October 2018, and ending there 12 days later, the anniversary railtour will combine some of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations including the Highlands, Stonehenge, Bath and Snowdonia. The nights before and after the trip are spent in Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel – formerly the North British Hotel – alongside Waverley station. The tour marks the UK debut for its promoter, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains which, although based in Altrincham near Manchester, has its main business in Russia.

Accommodation during the tour is primarily to be aboard the ‘Royal Scotsman’ itself, the ten vehicles of which include a pair of dining carriages and ‘State Cars’ fitted out with cabins, based on former Pullman coaches. As well as ex-LNER Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado, the train is also to use LMS Fowler/Stanier 4-6-0 No. 46100 Royal Scot in North Wales, plus the locomotives of various heritage railways.

Amongst the planned cultural activities are dinners in Cawdor and Peckforton castles and the itinerary also includes overnight running behind Tornado on 17th/18th October, while the train makes its way between Edinburgh and Chester. This is only the second time that Tornado has hauled a sleeper train, the first being with the Royal Train in July 2012 with HRH The Prince of Wales on-board.

At different points, the train is expected to stable overnight at Broomhill (Strathspey Railway), Bridgnorth (Severn Valley) and Minehead (West Somerset); it will spend the final night at Darlington North Road, adjacent to Tornado’s Darlington Locomotive Works birthplace and where No. 2007 Prince of Wales is now under construction. The itinerary also takes in the Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland lines, to be reached via the Blaenau Ffestiniog branch behind Royal Scot.

Graeme Bunker-James, Operations Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented, “The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and Golden Eagle Luxury Trains have been discussing the possibility of something like this for a number of years, but things have now come together as part of Tornado’s tenth birthday celebrations. Although this is just one part of what looks like being an exciting tenth anniversary year with other things like 90mph running, it’s a great honour to be asked to haul such a prestigious trip – and of course it’s useful paid work for the locomotive too.

“The challenge of Tornado running from Inverness to Penzance is brilliant – as the primary locomotive on the tour we expect to cover 2,000 miles in total, albeit with sensible breaks in the itinerary. To that end, we’ll ‘stop’ No. 60163 at the end of September 2018 to make sure it’s fully prepared and we’ve already structured next year’s diary accordingly.”

Tim Littler, Founder and President, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, added, “We wanted to do something really high-end, putting the most luxurious British train with this amazing new-build locomotive.”

For further details and to book on this tour please contact Golden Eagle Travel on 0161 928 9410 or

The planned railway itinerary: 15th – 26th October 2018

15th October: Edinburgh to Inverness (No. 60163)

16th October: Inverness to Aviemore (No. 60163) for Strathspey Railway

17th/18th October: Strathspey Railway to Stirling to Edinburgh to Chester (No. 60163)

19th October: Chester to Llandudno Junction (class 66); Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog for Ffestiniog/Welsh Highland railways (No. 46100); Holyhead to Crewe (No. 46100)

20th October: Crewe to Minehead via West Somerset Railway (No. 60163)

21st October: WSR; Taunton to Penzance (No. 60163)

22nd October: Time in Cornwall

23rd October: Penzance to Lostwithiel (No. 60163); Lostwithiel to Fowey to Lostwithiel (No. 60163); Lostwithiel to Taunton (No. 60163); Taunton-Yeovil Junction (No. 60163).

24th October: Yeovil Junction to Salisbury to Oxford to Kidderminster (No. 60163); Kidderminster-Bridgnorth (No. 34027)

25th October: Bridgnorth to York to Darlington (No. 60163)

26th October: Darlington to Edinburgh (No. 60163)

Note: subject to change.

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

A home fit for an A1!


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

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

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

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

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

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

The 1861 locomotive shed at Whessoe Road – A1SLT

The proposed track layout at Whessoe Road – A1SLT

Convention raffle winners

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

2018 Tornado Railtours brochure released

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

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

Tornado’s tender appeal reaches £200,000 pledged

Over 163 supporters have now joined The 163 Pacifics Club – The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce that its fundraising campaign – The 163 Pacifics Club – to purchase the locomotive’s tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd has reached its initial target of £200,000 pledged.  Tornado’s tender is leased to the Trust under a 15-year loan agreement which will come to an end in 2021. The tender is currently owned by William Cook Cast Products Ltd (the Trust’s Principal Sponsor) as chairman Sir Andrew Cook CBE kindly offered to fund the construction of the tender in 2006, allowing funds being raised to be spent on the engine. By 2014 the Trust had repaid all the £1m debt needed to complete Tornado in 2008 and funded the conversion of BR Mk 1 BCK E21249 into her support coach. The 163 Pacifics Club was launched in September 2013 to fund the purchase of Tornado’s tender on the lease’s expiration in 2021.

Tornado’s tender is a development of those built for the original Peppercorn class A1s – mainly due to the different operating environment on the modern Network Rail main line. Due to the lack of surviving steam infrastructure, water capacity is at a premium and so Tornado’s tender carries 6,200 gallons, as opposed to 5,000 gallons, and seven tons of coal, rather than nine tons in the original A1s. The tender is also the home for many of Tornado’s other unique features including an alternator, Timken cartridge roller bearings (pre-greased sealed self-contained units which do not have to be fitted in enclosed axleboxes), Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS), National Radio Network (NRN) radio, Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway (GSM-R) radio, GPS tracker and of course the mobile phone charger!

Membership of The 163 Pacifics Club has grown steadily since its launch in September 2013 and 166 of the initial 163 ex-LNER Express Passenger ‘Pacific’s’ plus the newly released Raven class A2s, Thompson classes A2/1s, A2/2s, A2/3s, Peppercorn class A2s and Gresley class A4s (destroyed No. 4469 Gadwall) have already received new ‘shed allocations’. One supporter has chosen to sponsor the ‘honorary Pacific’, Gresley class W1 4-6-4 No. 10000/60700 which was un-named but also had 6ft 8in driving wheels.

Mark Allatt commented, “We are delighted that we have reached our initial target of £200,000 pledged for The 163 Pacifics Club and hope to be in a position to purchase Tornado’s tender from William Cook Cast Products Ltd before the end of its 15 year lease in 2021. Due to popular demand, we decided to release the remaining ex-LNER ‘Pacifics’ for sponsorship which led to a surge in support and within two weeks the initial target was achieved, meaning The 163 Pacifics Club now has 166 of its extended 210 members target.

“William Cook Cast Products Ltd has been principal sponsor to The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust through its chairman Sir Andrew Cook CBE since 1994, providing all the steel castings for No. 60163 Tornado and No. 2007 Prince of Wales – including all the wheels – at preferential rates and on generous terms – for which the Trust is enormously grateful. As we have released additional names, we still have 44 ‘Pacifics’ available for sponsorship, including some truly iconic ex-LNER locomotives – please contact the Trust on  or 01325 460163 for more information and to reserve your favourite ‘Pacific’. Any additional funds raised will be ring-fenced and used for the next overhaul of Tornado’s tender.

“Keeping Tornado on the Network Rail main line is expensive and time consuming and so the Trust is always seeking new supporters and volunteers to come on board. Next year will see the 10th anniversary of Tornado’s completion and we will be seeking to mark this milestone in an appropriate manner.”

06111503 Tender loaded DE

Tornado’s tender is loaded following its last overhaul at Darlington – A1SLT

Details of The 163 Pacifics Club:

  • The Trust needs to raise £200,000 to purchase Tornado’s tender
  • Although Tornado carries the number ‘60163’ – the next in the Peppercorn class A1 series following No. 60162 Saint Johnstoun – her pre-nationalisation LNER number would have been ‘163’
  • There were therefore 163 ex-LNER express passenger ‘Pacifics’ (wheel arrangement 4-6-2) from the Gresley class A3s/A4s, Thompson class A1/1 and Peppercorn class A1s
  • Due to popular demand, an additional 46 ‘Pacifics’ have been released from the Raven class A2s (five locomotives), Thompson classes A2/1s (four locomotives), A2/2s (six rebuilt Gresley class P2s), A2/3s (15 locomotives), Peppercorn class A2s (15 locomotives, including preserved No. 60532 Blue Peter) and Gresley class A4s (destroyed No. 4469Gadwall); in addition, the un-named Gresley class W1 4-6-4 No. 10000/60700 has been sponsored
  • If 163 people were to make a one-off donation of £960 (or alternatively donate £240 per month for four months), with the addition of Gift Aid (£240) this would raise £195,600. This club has now been extended to 210 to include the newly released names.
  • As with the previous fundraising schemes, this initiative comes with benefits for those who generously take part, including:
    • A numbered certificate recording the details of the donation and the number/name of the chosen ex- LNER passenger ‘Pacific’
    • Name inscribed on the official Roll of Honour in Darlington Locomotive Works which will detail the ‘Pacific’ sponsored
    • Entry into a draw for a main line footplate ride on No. 60163 Tornado.