Although boiler problems precluded its planned appearance at the West Somerset Railway in July the WSR has now received better news of the new express steam locomotive number 60163 Tornado.
The engine’s owners the A1 Locomotive Trust have advised the WSR that repair work has progressed well and not only should Tornado be available for its pre-planned five day visit between September 13th and 17th but it will also be appearing at two special event weekends earlier in the month.
Subject to the availability of the engine it will make a headlining appearance at the Late Summer Weekend on September 4th and 5th, running in company with three other steam locomotives and three vintage diesels on an intensive train service over the twenty miles of line between Bishops Lydeard (near Taunton) and Minehead. To add some extra interest one of the steam locomotives operating alongside Tornado will be another Pacific, number 34046 Braunton of the “West Country” class which is due to join Tornado on mainline excursion train work in 2011. To add to the attractiveness of the weekend normal WSR fares will apply and can even be obtained at a discount if booked by Tuesday September 1st.
The following weekend Tornado will be running service trains whilst the 11th annual Campaign for Real Ale (Somerset Branch) Beer Festival takes place at Minehead station. The Beer Festival is a celebration of British traditional brewing with over 100 beers in varying styles, many from the award-winning smaller breweries of Somerset but others from further afield.West Somerset Railway General Manager Paul Conibeare was delighted when the phone call from the A1 Locomotive Trust was received. “We were all naturally disappointed with the bad news regarding Tornado last month”, he said “but the news concerning the repairs and the likelihood of its appearing for extra days in September has given us all a lift. We hope our visitors will support UK tourism this year and enjoy travelling through our glorious Somerset countryside behind this beautiful locomotive.”
Sun, sea and steam, the epitome of the West Somerset Railway - Don Bishop