Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented: "With less than a month to go until Tornado’s steam test you can feel the sense of anticipation in Darlington Locomotive Works. The Trust’s engineering team is working flat out to achieve this deadline with up to thirteen people working on the locomotive at any one time, excluding the multitude of contactors working on numerous components offsite. The laying of the track for the steam test outside Darlington Locomotive Works marks the achievement of another milestone for the project.
We are delighted that our supporters’ continued generosity means that we are steadily reducing our funding gap, which is now under £50,000. However if we are to achieve our project milestones we still need to raise the overwhelming majority of these funds as soon as possible. I would encourage all steam enthusiasts who haven’t yet contributed to this exciting project to help us to meet these deadlines by becoming a covenantor, making a donation, sponsoring a component or taking part in our bond issue. Just £49,434 and nine months stands between now and Tornado's main line passenger début. It’s time to get on board!”
Although the funding gap to complete Tornado to the project plan now stands at £49,432, once this gap has been bridged the Trust will need to raise approximately £800,000 to service the loans taken out and bond issue taken up to ensure the locomotive’s completion.
The locomotive is now 95.5% complete and the tender is presently 91.4% complete following the frames’ arrival at DLW. Tornado is still on schedule to enter mainline service in September 2008.
The tender frames have arrived in Darlington; pipe work continues apace and inside motion is nearing completion.
Pipe work continues apace, further progress has been made on motion fitting, a start has been made on electrical conduit and the superheater is now on for good. The tender frames are on their wheelsets.
Ian Howitt has continued with detailed fitting of motion – in particular with fitting of inside motion parts and definitive small end bushes.
PIPE WORK AND FITTINGS
Tom Snowball has almost finished the injector pipework including the large steam and water feed pipes from the injectors to the control valves on the back of the boiler.
The steam stand is almost complete at Multi-Tech and should be collected before Christmas.
South Coast Steam has delivered the latest set of water gauge top valves. Work to fit them to the engine is underway.
GN Steam continues to make pipe connectors to order including steam and exhaust connections to the turbogenerator and the “Air Ministry” connectors used on the injector steam and feed pipes.
D & M Foundries have cast the remaining oil boxes and delivery is expected imminently. GN Steam will then machine and complete them prior to fitting on the engine.
South Coast Steam has delivered a vacuum ejector control valve and now a decision needs to be made as to where it is to be positioned in the cab. Steve Wood has made adapters to enable the remaining boiler steam fittings to be hydraulic tested before the boiler hydraulic/steam test in January.
A pattern for the whistle base has been ordered from Elsfield Patterns which should be the last pattern required for non-ferrous fittings.
BRAKE AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT
All the air receivers except the wet tank have been fitted to the engine or the tender frame.
Between acting as assistant to other people and fettling inside motion parts for Ian Howitt, Peter Neesam has continued with the cladding including making and fitting washout door escutcheons.
The superheater header has been successfully fitted to the locomotive.
In the meantime, in collaboration with GN Steam, the steel steam pipe extensions which connect the lubricator and blower steam supplies to the front of the boiler have been made up and are in the process of being fitted. This needs to be completed before the superheater elements have been fitted as access is difficult with the elements in place.
Steve Wood has assembled the blast pipes and blower rings ready for Tom to braze the blower pipes together.
Mick Robinson has been making the fiendishly difficult seal assemblies where the main steam pipes pass through the outside of the smokebox to reach the outside cylinders. He has also drilled the smokebox for fitting the steam valves to the mechanical lubricator and auxiliary whistle pad, plus the elbow for the turbo-generator exhaust. He is about to fit the adaptor which allows the atomised oil/steam feed to the inside cylinder to pass through the smoke box.
David Elliott has visited The Tested Spring Company in Birmingham and they have quoted for miscellaneous springs for the locomotive including the reversing shaft balance gear and the cab door closing springs. He will order these shortly.
We are awaiting a quote from Barnshaws Section Benders for the main steam pipes from the superheater header to the cylinders.
BEARING SPRING GEAR
Coil springs for the bogie have been ordered. Delivery of the various leaf springs is awaited and Ian Howitt is continuing to produce spring rear details.
Quotes have been received the cab window frame patterns and castings.
Contact has been re-established with Romag at Consett for the Group Standard compliant cab glazings.
GN Steam is about to add access doors to the under seat cubicles and to modify the under-floor cubicle on the driver’s side to overcome a foul with the reversing bell crank/reversing rod pin assembly.
The overhauled coach alternator is back with Ian Howitt for fitting to the tender frame, along with the regulator box.
Paul Depledge has recently started work at DLW to fit conduit and terminal boxes round the engine for the electrical system
Rob Morland has continued to detail the electrical system with cable being ordered and delivered. David Elliott has spent much time on the layout of the under-seat cubicles to fit in TPWS equipment and main busbar/distribution panels.
TENDER (SPONSORED BY WILLIAM COOK CAST PRODUCTS LTD)
The tender wheelsets have been subject to ultrasonic and magnetic particle NDT to comply with the group standard requirements and Timken has pressed on the bearings. The tender frame has been delivered to DLW and is now united with the wheelsets. The air receivers have been re-fitted and Tom Snowball and Paul Depledge are piping the frame for air and electricity respectively. Ian Howitt is completing the last of the brake gear, but still has several spring bolts to make, along with the engine/tender draw gear and the buffers.
Much preparation work for the steam test in January has been undertaken and from now until then the preparations will take up most of the available manhours.
We have been invaded by TV companies over the last three weeks with BBC Working Lunch, and Tyne Tees North East Tonight filming Christmas features on the Trust, Marcel from BBC Sheffield filming the tender frame fitting and a local firm producing a video eventually destined for Google Earth.
Thanks to the Wensleydale Railway Association Infrastructure volunteers, we now have 74’ of new concrete sleepered rail outside the works which should suffice for the steam test.