In 2010, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust launched a public appeal for funding to help pay for the provision of a support coach to accompany Tornado
on its tours around the length and breadth of the British Isles. The public appeal was called "Use Your Loaf" and 'slices', 'doorsteps' and 'loaves' are still available for a short time only! You can find out how here
. On Monday 1st April at Darlington Locomotive Works (originally the historic carriage works of the Stockton & Darlington Railway), the coach can be seen by the public for the very first time and appreciated in immaculate condition. The works will open at 11am and close at 3pm. Parking is available at Head of Steam Museum next to the Works.
The support coach, or vehicle in railway parlance, plays a critical role in the successful operation of Tornado when out on the main line as it not only accommodates in relative comfort our volunteer support crew, but also the necessary tools and equipment necessary to maintain the locomotive when out on the National Network. In addition to the operational requirements, the vehicle also plays a pivotal role in the Trust’s on going fund raising efforts through on board merchandising with the coach providing dedicated space and facilities for this key activity including storage, cash registers along with chip and pin machines.
The vehicle, a converted heritage BR Mk 1 coach, is nearing completion and now looks resplendent in British Railways crimson and cream livery. The vehicle is a perfect match for Tornado in her current British Railways express blue livery, colours the original A1 Class sported during the 1950s. Completion of this project would not have been possible without the generosity of many individual contributors, but also support from the corporate world. It is hoped the vehicle will soon accompany Tornado out on the main line once essential accreditation work is carried out at the Weardale Railway early in April by EMC Services of York.
Mark Allatt, Chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust said, “This is the culmination of three years of hard work by our dedicated team of volunteers and contractors to not only restore this heritage carriage, but to also fit and kit it out to class leading standards. The coach is completely unique and boasts a wealth of features not seen in support coaches to date. It’s a real asset for the A1 Trust and all those who help keep Tornado steaming the length and breadth of the National Network.”
Monday 1st April at Darlington Locomotive Works gives a great opportunity to see the coach up close and see first-hand all the facilities and equipment it has. Also on hand will be the extensive range of Tornado merchandise available for purchase including an exclusive limited edition model of the coach in the popular 00 gauge by Bachmann. The funds raised through this activity is critical to ensure the on-going success of the Trust and keeping Tornado on the main line.
The support coach nears completion at Hopetown Works - David Elliott