The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust today announced that Tornado’s scheduled winter maintenance period will be extended by two months to the end of April. This extension will necessitate the postponement of a number of main line trains, including ‘The White Rose’ début in Brunswick Green livery, and a planned visit to the Severn Valley Railway over the Easter weekend. The Trust apologies for the inconvenience and disappointment that these changes will cause.
The extended maintenance period has been made necessary due to more extensive repairs being needed than originally planned. Although the full extent of the repairs has yet to be determined, they will now include the replacement of several hundred fixed stays and a number of flexible stays. In addition, upon arrival at the National Railway Museum in York, the Trust’s engineers identified cracks in the two back corners of the foundation ring and evidence of possible cracks in the front corners.
Whilst disappointing, all of these issues are known problems, some with fireboxes on the original Peppercorn class A1s and others on the Bulleid Pacifics, which also had all-steel, welded fireboxes as on Tornado. Only a very small number of weeping stays were identified out of the more that 2,000 in the firebox and therefore the overwhelming majority of the firebox stay replacements are precautionary to prevent further unplanned work during periods in traffic. The Trust is working with its boiler inspector and DB Meiningen, the boiler and firebox’s manufacturer, to determine the most appropriate way forward and further announcements will be made in due course.
Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:
"Although these problems with Tornado’s firebox are part of learning about the locomotive in today’s operational environment, they are a source of great disappointment to all of Tornado's supporters and customers and our customers' passengers. We will continue to investigate these matters and implement any results of that learning. We are working as hard as we can to bring Tornado back to full health and onto the main line at the end of April."
Further information on Tornado will be posted on www.a1steam.com as soon as it becomes available. Progress can be viewed here