The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and DB Meiningen representatives met a week ago and agreed a programme of works of repair for Tornado's firebox. The locomotive has been in intensive use for some two and a half years as Tornado has operated across the UK on main line charters and heritage railways. The boiler and firebox usage is similar to that which would be expected between heavy general overhauls in the 1950s on British Railways with regards to hot-cold-hot boiler cycles. The boiler can be seen at Meiningen here
The repair work will be undertaken in the DB Meiningen workshops and will concentrate on replacement of platework (new sections of plate are being fitted to both sides of the firebox for preventative maintenance reasons), renewal of stays (some 1,100 to be replaced, 650 as a consequence of the plate replacement) and work on the foundation ring (four new corners to be fitted). This work will return the boiler and firebox to 'as new' condition and provide for further reliable operations. The nature of the repairs required are in line with those effected to boilers of similar type and are a consequence of the use of the engine on around 300 days (with another 100 ancillary days) since she entered traffic. The comprehensive nature of the facilities at DB Meiningen mean that the repairs are already in hand to ensure the swiftest possible return to operations for Tornado. The repairs are expected to cost no more than £50,000.
The scope of work will enable Tornado to return to traffic in early May and take up a comprehensive programme of tours and heritage line visits in diverse locations from Edinburgh to Plymouth and Carlisle to Canterbury.
In the meantime work has continued with routine maintenance of the loco's frames while Ian Matthews has been busy applying coats of Brunswick green to the tender.
Ian Matthews applies the early BR emblem to a Brunswick green tender - Peter Neesam