For the first time ever our annual convention has gone virtual. It is now available for general viewing so learn more about the construction of the P2, new tours for Tornado and much more by viewing the YouTube video on this page.
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.
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.
Please note that this is not a general enquiries number and is for press use only.
Resplendent in its new coat of paint, Tornado is seen at Carnforth – A1SLT
Tornado has been repainted in BR locomotive green as part of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s 30th Anniversary celebrations and to commemorate the last of the original class, No. 60145 Saint Mungo.
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 with the first following the locomotive’s 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.
Steve Davies MBE, Chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “Saint Mungo’s most famous run was on New Year’s Eve 1965 when the North Eastern Region of British Railways ran a special train from York to Newcastle and return to commemorate the ending of main line steam, the locomotive achieving 100mph on the return leg. Like others of the class it was bereft of its nameplates but its performance inspired the formation of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in 1990 to build a brand new Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado.
“It wasn’t until 2008, when No. 60163 Tornado hauled passenger trains for the first time, that anyone had again experienced class A1 haulage and it was 2009 with the ‘Peppercorn Pioneers’ before true express speeds were once again experienced.
“As part of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s 30th Anniversary celebrations – and in recognition of the inspiration gained from this final survivor – we have repainted No. 60163 Tornado in BR locomotive green for the first time since 2012. This historic livery will be carried by the locomotive until her next overhaul which is now scheduled for 2022. We are grateful to Craftmaster Paints for their continued sponsorship of the painting of Tornado and to David Smith and West Coast Railways for completing such a fantastic job of repainting Tornado into BR locomotive green in such a short time.”
Over the duration of her first boiler certificate Tornado carried all of the Peppercorn class A1’s historic liveries of LNER apple green (with ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ on the tender), BR blue (with the emblem on the tender) and BR locomotive green (with both the emblem and the crest on the tender).
At the same time, Tornado’s support coach also received a new livery – A1SLT
The Trust is now working hard to get Tornado back onto the main line where she belongs and anticipate picking up the remainder of our 2020 programme as follows:
- Saturday 12th September – ‘The Queen of Scots’ – York to Edinburgh via Carlisle and return (Tornado from Carlisle) – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 19th September – ‘The Ticket to Ride’ – Darlington to Liverpool and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 3rd October – ‘The Easterling’ – London King’s Cross to Lowestoft – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Saturday 14th November – ‘The Cheshireman’ – Bristol to Chester – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Saturday 21st November – ‘The Cheshireman’ – London Euston to Chester – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Tuesday 24th November – ‘The Gloucester Christmas Market and Cardiff’ – from London – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Saturday 28th November – ‘The Yuletide Express’ – Ealing Broadway to York (Tornado on outward journey only) – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Saturday 12th December – ‘The Edinburgh Christmas Market’ – York to Edinburgh – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Thursday 17th December – ‘The Christmas White Rose’ – London to York (Tornado on return only) – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Saturday 19th December – ‘The Christmas White Rose’ – London to York (Tornado on outward journey only) – bookings through The Railway Touring Company
- Saturday 27th March – ‘The Fens and Fells Flyer’ Cambridge to Carlisle and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 3rd April – ‘The Aberdonian’ – Edinburgh to Aberdeen and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 10th April – ‘The Caledonian’ – Birmingham to Edinburgh and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 8th May – ‘The Cumbrian Explorer’ – Darlington to Carlisle and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 15th May – ‘The Jorvik Express’ – Liverpool to York and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 22nd May – ‘The Pennine Explorer’ – Leicester to Carlisle and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
All Tornado Railtours trains can be booked through the links above, or by calling 01325 488215. Railway Touring Company tours can be booked through the links above or through their website, www.railwaytouring.net, or by calling 01553 661500.
The Trust respectfully requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust – the registered charity that built, owns and operates world-famous 100mph new steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado and is currently building Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive No. 2007 Prince of Wales – has launched its 30th Anniversary fundraising appeals to keep Tornado operating on the main line and complete Prince of Wales.
It’s now 30 years since The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust was formed to build a new Peppercorn class A1 ‘Pacific’. The original A1s were built by British Railways in 1948/49, however all were scrapped by 1966. The last survivor No. 60145 Saint Mungo was the subject of a failed preservation attempt which left the final development of East Coast Main Line’s famous steam locomotive classes unrepresented in preservation.
The formal launch of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust was held at the Railway Institute in York on 17th November 1990 where it was announced that the 50th Peppercorn class A1 would carry the running number 60163 – the next in the sequence. The organisation was established with a clear mission: “To build and operate a Peppercorn class A1 ‘Pacific’ steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use.”
After 18 years of construction and fundraising – with the support of principal sponsor William Cook Cast Products Ltd – the £3 million locomotive was completed in August 2008. Tornado was named by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York station in February 2009 and in April 2017 became the first British steam locomotive to reach 100mph for 50 years.
Tornado roars along the East Coast Main Line during its 100mph run – Robin Coombes
Since completion, No. 60163 Tornado has steamed over 100,000 miles the length and breadth of Great Britain. Following her unveiling in works grey, Tornado has worn all of the historic Peppercorn class A1 liveries – apple green, BR locomotive green (with emblem and crest) and BR blue. In celebration of the Trust’s 30th Anniversary, Tornado is being temporarily returned to the BR locomotive green livery of No. 60145 Saint Mungo which inspired the organisation’s formation.
Following the completion of Tornado, the overhaul & conversion of its support coach E21249 and the repayment of the £1m of loans taken out to speed completion, the Trust launched its project to build a second new main line steam locomotive in 2013. The Gresley class P2 2-8-2 ‘Mikados’ were the most powerful express passenger locomotives to operate in the UK. Sadly, the design was never fully developed, and they were rebuilt as ‘Pacifics’ in 1943/4 before being scrapped by 1961.
We set ourselves a new challenge: “To develop, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 ‘Mikado’ steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use.” The project to build the seventh Gresley class P2 ‘Mikado’ is using the latest computer design and modelling techniques to enable it to deliver its true potential. We estimate that No. 2007 Prince of Wales will cost around £5m to build over a 7-10 year period and with your continued help the locomotive is on track for completion within the next three years.
Steve Davies, Chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “We’ve come a long way since those humble beginnings in York 30 years ago thanks to the generous donations of time and money from our dedicated supporters. We are now seeking to attract new supporters to come on-board and help us with our ambitious development plans.
“With this increased support, the next few years will see the first of the two new boilers delivered and fitted to No. 60163 Tornado during her next overhaul; the acquisition and overhaul of E35457 for use as a support coach for No. 2007 Prince of Wales; the completion, testing and operation of our new Gresley class P2; the relocation of the Trust’s operations to a new, larger main line connected site in Darlington where we can build, maintain and operate new steam locomotives; and the start of the construction of our third new ex-LNER steam locomotive, yet-to-be-named Gresley class V4 No. 3403.
“As part of our 30th Anniversary we are asking railway enthusiasts who share our vision to consider the different ways in which they might help us to protect what we have achieved to-date and realise our ambitious plans for the future. We are looking to welcome new ‘price of a pint of beer a week’ supporters for both No. 60163 Tornado – in particular the very real need to raise funds for her next overhaul – and to complete the build No. 2007 Prince of Wales.
“As an aside I sometimes sense in some quarters a view that once a new steam locomotive is built it requires little further support. Nothing could be further from the truth and both Tornado now, and Prince of Wales in the future, require additional support to remain in traffic. Tornado in particular at the moment as the impact of COVID-19 has significantly impacted on railtour revenue.”
Tornado masquerades as Saint Mungo in honour of the latter’s role in the formation of the Trust – Steve Davies
(No. 60163 was specially prepared for a Steam Railway magazine cover photo before being re-painted in BR locomotive green)
It’s hard to believe that it is now 30 years since The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust was formed to build a new Peppercorn class A1 ‘Pacific’. The original A1s were built by British Railways in 1948/49, however all were scrapped by 1966. The last survivor No. 60145 Saint Mungo was the subject of a failed preservation attempt which left the final development of East Coast Main Line’s famous steam locomotive classes unrepresented in preservation.
The formal launch of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust was held at the Railway Institute in York on 17th November 1990. To loud applause it was announced that the 50th Peppercorn class A1 would carry the running number 60163 – the next in the sequence. The organisation was established with a clear mission: “To build and operate a Peppercorn class A1 ‘Pacific’ steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use.”
After 18 years of construction and fundraising with the support of principal sponsor William Cook Cast Products Ltd, the £3 million locomotive was completed in August 2008. Tornado was named by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York station in February 2009 and in April 2017 became the first British steam locomotive to reach 100mph for 50 years.
Remember how it all started in 2008? – Chris Milner
Since completion, No. 60163 Tornado has steamed over 100,000 miles the length and breadth of Great Britain. Following her unveiling in works grey, Tornado has worn all of the historic Peppercorn class A1 liveries – apple green, BR locomotive green (with emblem and crest) and BR blue. In celebration of the Trust’s 30th Anniversary, Tornado is being temporarily returned to the BR locomotive green livery of No. 60145 Saint Mungo which inspired the organisation’s formation. Following the completion of Tornado, the overhaul & conversion of its support coach E21249 and the repayment of the £1m of loans taken out to speed completion, the Trust launched its project to build a second new main line steam locomotive in 2013 – Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales.
With your generous donations of time and money, we’ve come a long way since those humble beginnings in York 30 years ago. With your continued support, the next few years will see the first of the two new boilers delivered and fitted to No. 60163 Tornado during her next overhaul; the acquisition and overhaul of E35457 for use as a support coach for No. 2007 Prince of Wales; the completion, testing and operation of our new Gresley class P2; the relocation of the Trust’s operations to a new, larger main line connected site in Darlington where we can build, maintain and operate new steam locomotives; and the start of the construction of our third new ex-LNER steam locomotive, yet-to-be-named Gresley class V4 No. 3403.
As part of our 30th Anniversary we are asking our supporters to consider the different ways in which they might help us to protect what we have achieved to-date and realise our ambitious plans for the future. There is currently a very real need to raise funds for Tornado’s next overhaul – in some quarters there seems to be a view that once a new steam locomotive is built it requires little further support. Nothing could be further from the truth and both Tornado now, and Prince of Wales in the future, require additional support to remain in traffic. Tornado is in particular need at the moment as the impact of Covid-19 has significantly impacted on railtour revenue.
It only remains to thank you in advance for your support. You can download the full Appeals Leaflet here and you can support our 30th Anniversary Appeals by downloading this form. Alternatively you can also support Tornado by joining one of our railtours and travelling behind this masterpiece of 21st century steam technology! You can contact us by emailing or calling 01325 460163.
Tornado with last year’s ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ – Alan Weaver
At the end of July Tornado was back in steam on the main line for a test run to Carnforth ahead of work on the support coach.
We were delighted to see the engine in fine fettle after spending much of the first half of the year parked up at the National Railway Museum in York, as all steam trains ceased following the onset of the pandemic. This period of isolation came to an end on 24th July when the locomotive moved to Lancashire and Tornado is now being prepared for trains in September.
The engine was prepped by our engineering team at the NRM ahead of the move. In this new age, our Support Crew numbers were limited but the smaller team worked well within the new social distancing guidelines. They report that the move was quite uneventful – which is always a good sign!
Watch this space for updates from Carnforth.
Tornado is spruced up at the NRM – Charlotte Graham
Now in steam. No. 60163 prepares to leave a somewhat forlorn No. 60009 behind – Charlotte Graham
En route – Tornado passes through Bingley – Tony Jackson
Most will be aware that just as the Covid-19 lockdown was beginning to bite, we moved Tornado to the Railway Museum at York. This should have been ahead of our first railtour this year on 21st March, but instead has enabled us to secure stable the locomotive and our support coach safely at the museum. Earlier this week, a visit to inspect both vehicles was permitted by the Museum team and A1SLT Locomotive Manager Richard Pearson travelled down from Darlington to conduct some minor tasks and check up on the electrical systems on the locomotive and coach.
During the previous visit Richard had fitted a trickle charger to the locomotive and tests of the electrical systems show the batteries and other functions appear in good order. The coach had been left connected to mains power and further testing of the electrics and cleaning of the coach water system has ensured all is in good order and ready for the return of our support crews – hopefully sometime soon!
Tornado has been stored under cover in the museum prep bay and since this is notoriously bad for roosting pigeons, the boiler barrel has been sheeted over to protect the paintwork. The benefit is that the motion and brightwork has been protected from the elements and Richard was pleased to report that the layers of oil and grease applied to further protect them have kept them free from rust. Richard added grease to the axlebox bearings and oiled some of the motion before moving the loco down the yard and back to distribute this around the bearings. He took care to leave the loco in a slightly different position to try and avoid any damage to bearings left in the same position throughout this period of down time.
We have left the boiler filled to the brim and dosed with water treatment to reduce corrosion as much as possible. We will conduct a detailed A Exam, which includes a boiler washout and internal examination before we return to traffic, which will provide us with reassurance that the period out of traffic has not caused any issues. Finally, before leaving York, the running boards and tender sides were washed down, removing some of the unavoidable signs of roosting pigeons. The museum site has been closed to visitors and all but essential staff who are unable to work from home and we must offer our grateful thanks to the Operations Team and Railway Museum staff who have enabled our extended stay and facilitated our inspections of the locomotive and coach. Photos and video by Richard Pearson.
With shops re-opening this week, we are all probably wondering what “the new normal” will look like as we continue to emerge from Covid-19 lockdown. We are very much looking forward to the time when our railtours can resume and we can welcome you aboard once more. We are provisionally planning our first railtours with Tornado in September 2020. In July our team will be undertaking the necessary maintenance procedures and other work to ensure Tornado continues to be in tip-top condition for our return. As railtours begin to return to the network, passenger and staff safety will be our priority and we will be working with our industry colleagues to ensure we keep pace with Government guidelines and requirements.
Our first planned tour is ‘The Aberdonian’ on Thursday 3rd September. The tourism and hospitality industry in Scotland is planning to re-open on 17th July and so we feel that this is a robust plan. We will implement appropriate elements of social distancing such as reduced seating capacity, use of PPE by our staff, provision of hand sanitiser, regular cleaning and so forth in common with others in the hospitality and tourism sector. As guidance from government changes we will update our policies and procedures as necessary in close consultation with the relevant suppliers.
If you have had a tour with Tornado postponed during the lockdown period, please rest assured that we are planning to reschedule these trains as the picture becomes clearer. If we are unable to fit them into the 2020 calendar (taking account of reduced daylight hours from October), they will be moved into next year, and we hope that you will be able to join us on the new date.
The last few months have been a challenge to all charities and businesses, and we are no different. Now we are moving out of the lockdown we can start looking forward to travelling with Tornado once again. We hope you can join us this September for our first four tours of the year including two fabulous trips to Aberdeen, a visit to Stirling and Edinburgh from York and a first visit to Liverpool. We look forward to welcoming you safely on board.
- Thursday 3rd September – ‘The Aberdonian’ – Edinburgh to Aberdeen and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Thursday 10th September – ‘The Aberdonian’ – Edinburgh to Aberdeen and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 12th September – ‘The Queen of Scots’ – York to Edinburgh and Stirling and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
- Saturday 19th September – ‘The Ticket to Ride’ – Darlington to Liverpool and return – bookings through Tornado Railtours
Tornado on the Royal Border Bridge – Henry Elliott
One year on significant progress made on two new boilers for Prince of Wales and Tornado
We are delighted to announce that significant progress has been made on our two new boilers. In June 2019 the Trust placed a £1m order with Dampflokwerk Meiningen (Steam Locomotive Works Meiningen), a workshop of the Deutsche Bahn (the German Federal Railway) for two new Diagram 118 boilers for its two new steam locomotives. The order is to supply the boiler for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales, currently under construction at Darlington Locomotive Works, and a ‘spare’ boiler for use on both No. 2007 and No. 60163 Tornado, which has completed its first decade of operations since completion in 2008. This order will enable the Trust to rotate the three identical boilers over its two locomotives, with two operational boilers and one ‘spare’ undergoing overhaul at any one time. DB Meiningen delivered Tornado’s original boiler in July 2006.
This strategic move by the Trust will reduce the time out of traffic for each locomotive by around four months, increase the potential revenue earned by both locomotive during each operational cycle and reduce the cost of their overhauls. By ordering both boilers at once and leveraging the purchasing power of the supporters of both locomotives, the Trust has saved a six-figure sum that would have otherwise been required if the two boilers had been procured separately. The first new boiler – to be fitted to No. 60163 Tornado during its next overhaul – will be delivered during 2020 with the second – to be fitted to No. 2007 Prince of Wales – scheduled to be delivered in 2021.
One year on from the announcement of the £1m order and following the approval of the updated design by notified body TüV Sud, DB Meiningen is making good progress with major components for the boilers, including: the boiler barrel sections have been rolled and welded, including the thickened sections where the domes are located; the dome covers have been pressed & machined; the firebox tube plates have been drilled; the foundation ring sections have been forged & the foundation rings welded together; and a full set of superheater elements has been completed and is ready for delivery.
The Trust is using a variety of fundraising methods to support the procurement of the two new boilers in line with its policy of hypothecating the funding of each locomotive. The funding of the boiler for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales and its contribution to the ‘spare’ boiler is coming from The Boiler Club which was launched in October 2016 to raise £600,000 plus Gift Aid from 300 supporters each donating £2,000 in up to 40 payments. To date, over 190 supporters have subscribed to The Boiler Club pledging around £460,000 including Gift Aid. The funding of Peppercorn class A1 No. 60163 Tornado’s contribution to the ‘spare’ boiler has come from extending its ‘I ♥ 60163’ fundraising campaign. Additional funding for the ‘spare’ boiler will also come from recent legacies to the Trust.
Graeme Bunker-James, Commercial Director, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented, “We are delighted with the progress being made by DB Meiningen on our two new boilers. With all the major pressings produced and boiler barrel sections rolled we now have a kit of parts ready to start the assembly of the first boiler’s firebox shell and boiler barrel.
“The decision to procure two new boilers – one for the ‘heir’ Prince of Wales and the second a ‘spare’ for both No. 2007 and Tornado – is a major strategic move by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and fulfils a long-held desire to have three boilers for our two locomotives in order to reduce their time out of traffic during overhauls and act as an insurance policy. Having a ‘spare’ boiler will greatly assist with the delivery of regular itinerary tours and ensure that we are a reliable provider of locomotives to our customers as well as our direct passengers.
“The start of construction of the boiler for No. 2007 Prince of Wales is the next major milestone in the project to build Britain’s most powerful steam locomotive and its delivery in 2021 keeps the project on-track for completion within the next three years. The Trust was only able to make such a bold move due to the loyalty and generosity of its supporters of both locomotives. We therefore urge those not yet on-board to join us as a ‘price of a pint of beer a week’ covenantor, to either locomotive, or as a member of The Boiler Club for Prince of Wales.”
Photos by Christopher Wörfel, DBM/A1SLT
A coned section of the boiler barrel where the banjo dome will be fitted
The drilled firebox tubeplate
The two completed foundation rings
A stack of completed superheater elements
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to announce that Steve Davies MBE has been appointed as Chairman.
A former Colonel in the British Army, Steve has been a lifelong railway enthusiast, and is involved in a significant number of heritage railway projects both on a professional and voluntary basis. His Army career saw him serve in a wide variety of countries, many on operations. He rose to become the Commanding Officer of his Regiment.
Steve enjoyed two tours in the Ministry of Defence in London engaged at the military/political strategic level, and his final military appointment was as Chief of Staff of a Division with responsibility for military planning across almost half of the UK. It was whilst on secondment to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces that he exercised his personal initiative to create the Country’s National Railway Museum, in close cooperation with His Excellency President Kabbah, which continues to thrive today and with which he remains closely associated as President of the British Charity The Friends of The Sierra Leone National Railway Museum.
On retirement from the Army, Steve subsequently served as Director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester – site of the world’s oldest surviving railway terminus (circa 1830) – then as Director of the National Railway Museum in York, during which time he devised, negotiated and implemented the repatriation of class A4 Pacifics No. 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower and No. 4489 Dominion of Canada from North America to take part in an Award-winning exhibition marking the 75th anniversary of No. 4468 Mallard achieving the World Record for Steam Traction of 126 mph.
Steve, who lives in North Yorkshire, is the Founder and Managing Director of The International Railway Heritage Consultancy Limited which provides a one-stop-shop for railway heritage organisations internationally, in order that they might access the skills they need to support their respective operations. Amongst its many projects, Steve’s company is supporting – Pro Bono – the extension of the Bala Lake Railway, and was heavily involved in planning and delivering a Channel 4 TV programme focusing on carriage restoration. Last year he advised the government of Nigeria on improving the Railway Museum in Lagos, including an assessment of the potential to return British-built ‘River Class’ 2-8-2s to working order for main line use. Steve joined the Board of Trustees of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in October 2019.
Commenting on his appointment, Steve said, “It’s a great honour be appointed chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. I’ve worked closely with the organisation for many years and was delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on board The Royal Train to the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, hauled by Tornado, on my final day as Director. I look forward to working with the other Trustees, Staff, Volunteers and Supporters to deliver on the Trust’s promises – keeping No. 60163 Tornado operating successfully on the main line, completing the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales, starting work on Gresley class V4 No. 3403, and expanding the Trust’s base in Darlington. I have always been attracted to exciting, ambitious and very professionally delivered projects and organisations, and in that respect I know I am going to feel very much at home with The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.
“I have been a lifelong railway enthusiast and enjoyed the privilege of growing up in the 1960s in Darwen in the industrial heartland of Lancashire, bearing witness to the final years of main line steam. My grandfather was a driver at Lower Darwen Shed (24D) and I undoubtedly derived much of my interest and passion for the subject from him. My subsequent Army career also provided me with the opportunity to explore railways at an international level, and fond recollections of cabbing locos in the Berlin area during the final days of Deutsche Reichsbahn steam, discovering working steam in former Yugoslavia, and establishing the now-thriving National Railway Museum of Sierra Leone, are never far from my mind.
“Subsequently I became Director of the National Railway Museum, and was lucky to be able to make a contribution to the gathering of all six surviving A4s to commemorate Mallard’s epic world speed record for steam traction, bringing considerable pleasure to many. I am, therefore, by nature attracted to prestigious and ambitious projects, which is why I am so thrilled to have been invited to become Chairman as I cannot think of any other organisation in British – nay, international – railway heritage whose objectives, excitement, uniqueness, prestige and ability to deliver precisely what our covenantors donate their hard-earned cash for, can match what we stand for and achieve. Thirty years ago, we were looked on as an oddity. Now we represent steam’s best hope of still operating on the main line thirty years from now.
“There is something exhilarating and reassuring in equal measure in building brand-new steam locomotives, designed from the outset to be compatible with the contemporary railway network, and our business model is stable, sustainable and efficient thanks to the money we receive from our supporters, and the long hours given to our organisation by our many volunteers.
“These are challenging times for the whole of our country and railway heritage is not immune from the privations of an increasingly difficult economic situation. I and my Council colleagues are already taking the necessary steps to protect the Trust from the worst effects of the situation, and I believe that we are well placed to weather the storm. But I would be doing you a disservice if I gave the impression that it will be easy – it won’t be. Your continued support will give us the resources and thinking time we need to steer the ship through these choppy waters; better still – and I know these are difficult times financially – perhaps this is the moment to make that extra contribution you may having been putting off for another time?”
The Board of Trustees, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, added, “We are delighted announce the appointment of Steve Davies MBE as the Trust’s fourth Chairman. Steve is an internationally recognised and respected leader in the world of heritage railways and we are honoured that he has agreed to serve as Chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. Steve’s vast knowledge and experience will help us to continue to transform our organisation as we move towards the completion and operation of our second new main line steam locomotive, the commencement of the project to build our third, and the development of our facilities in Darlington.”