The support coach currently being used by the Trust is usually to be seen with the Thompson B1 61264. As this historic locomotive is due to return to traffic after overhaul later this year, the Trust needs to have a replacement. In 2008 Mark 1 Brake Corridor Composition (BCK) E21249 was moved to Darlington Locomotive Works. The vehicle is a Swindon1961 built, five compartment composite brake with three second class and two first class compartments, two toilet compartments, a guard’s compartment and a caged luggage area. This coach was purchased by Barry and Linda Wilson who have now most generously agreed to donate it to the Trust for use as Tornado’s support coach.
Why does the Trust need a support coach?
A support coach and crew are an essential part of the long distance operation of preserved steam locomotives in the United Kingdom on the main line. Since main line steam operations ended in 1968, much if not all of the static infrastructure and paid staff required to support steam locomotive operation no longer exists, requiring the use of support coaches and crews to travel with the locomotive.
Our support crew is formed from volunteers giving their free time as holidays from work, if they are not retired. They often have to travel long distances before carrying out their duties on Tornado. A typical commitment is 100 hours for five hours of actual train running, although commitments of up to seven days are not unknown.
Support coaches are usually drawn from passenger brake coaches of the British Railways Mark 1 era, taking advantage of the existence of the guards/parcels van space for ease of conversion to workshop/stores/mess functions. The seating portion of the coach will often be of the compartment with side corridor style layout. In the Trust’s support coach, one part of the former van area will contain a storage and workshop area, while another will serve as the mess room. The passenger area will provide seating and/or sleeping accommodation.
How you can help
The Trust has set a target of achieving the overhaul and conversion of its own support coach for under £100,000. Following the success – thanks to your generosity – of our “Regular Donation” scheme for the construction of Tornado, the Trustees have decided to follow a similar route for the support coach. However, instead of “An A1 for the price of a pint”, we’ve decided to raise the “bread” in a different way:
“Use your loaf”
- The coach is 63ft 6in – or 762 inches – in length or 1,524 ‘slices” at ½ inch each.
- Each ‘slice’ can be sponsored for £50, or £100 for a ‘doorstep’, £1,000 for ‘half a loaf’ or £2,000 for a ‘loaf’.
- If all the slices are sponsored, the scheme will raise £76,200. If your donation is Gift Aided, this sum could rise to nearly £100,000. As with the Dedicated Donation scheme, “Use your loaf” comes with benefits for those who generously take part:
- A certificate recording the details of the sponsorship and a copy of a drawing of the coach noting which
‘slice(s)’ have been sponsored.
- Name inscribed on the official Roll of Honour carried on the coach which will detail the ‘slice(s)’ sponsored.
- Entry into a draw for a main line footplate ride on Tornado.
- Exclusive opportunity to order a Bachmann model of E21249 (a perfect companion to the new model of
Tornado) with the appropriate one of 1,524 certificates produced for sponsors. The model is expected to
cost about £25.
It really is that simple! With your help – and ‘slices’ – Tornado could be running with her own support coach by October. The team in Darlington is ready to start work – please “use your loaf” and complete the downloadable form today. Thank you.
Current progress with the support coach is illustrated in the gallery section.