Tornado will be heading back to Kent on Saturday 15th May 2010 with ‘The Canterbury Tornado’ excursion from Bristol, promoted by Pathfinder Tours. Tornado, famous for rescuing stranded commuters in Kent during the December snow-storms, has returned from a busy spring of operations on the Mid-Hants and Great Central Railways and at Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon.
The day begins diesel hauled from Bristol Temple Meads station and the other pick-up stations through to the London area where we change locomotives to new Peppercorn class A1 Tornado. This superb machine, already with a couple of all time steam records to its credit, will first head us across the Thames. With hard uphill work ahead we follow one of the traditional 'boat train' routes to the Channel ports of Folkestone and Dover. From Brixton we take the alternative 'Catford Loop' to regain the main line at Shortlands Junction, climbing then steeply through Bromley South and on through Orpington (1118hrs) to a summit at Knockholt. Over ten miles of descent is interrupted by two miles up through Sevenoaks (1128hrs), but Tornado can then get to show her paces to Tonbridge (1139hrs). From there we head almost dead straight across open country via Paddock Wood (1150hrs) and Headcorn (1205hrs) to Ashford (1221hrs). Tornado then turns to the north, following the River Great Stour gently downstream to our destination of Canterbury (1246-1555hrs).
After the break, we resume our journey on the long and gentle descent through open country to the small town of Minster, where we turn to the south, through Sandwich (1623hrs) to Deal (1629hrs) and onto the steep climb past Martin Mill, then downhill to Dover (1652hrs). Now turning to the west we run at the foot of the world famous 'White Cliffs of Dover', with views across the English Channel on the climb to Folkestone (1705hrs). Away again we soon come alongside the Channel Tunnel main line, following it back to Ashford (1721hrs), where we hope to be able to pass through at close to our maximum permitted speed. We can expect to keep up the pace until the approach to Headcorn (1738-1750hrs). Away again and the locomotive should be quickly back into her stride, through Paddock Wood (1804-1816hrs) to Tonbridge (1824hrs). There are now over ten miles of hard climbing ahead, through Hildenborough and Sevenoaks Tunnel, with over a mile of downgrades through Sevenoaks (1834hrs) before the remainder of the ascent to Knockholt Summit. It is almost all downhill from here, back through Bromley and the Catford Loop to Brixton (1935hrs) and then into London's Victoria station (1943hrs). Here Tornado will hand over to diesel traction for the journey back to our joining points.
The pick-up and set-down timings for ‘The Canterbury Tornado’ on Saturday 15th May 2010 are:
Bristol Temple Meads: 0615; 0040
Bath Spa: 0630; 0025
Trowbridge: 0650; 0010
Westbury: 0655; 0000
Warminster: 0705; 2355
Salisbury: 0730; 2330
Andover: 0750; 2310
Whitchurch: 0805; 2300
Basingstoke: 0820; 2245
“After a busy couple of months away, it will be good to take Tornado back to Kent with ‘The Canterbury Tornado’. The locomotive is performing very well and the Trust is working hard to pay off the remaining £500,000 of the loans taken out to complete the locomotive and to raise the £100,000 needed to provide Tornado with her own support vehicle.”
The Trust respectfully requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado's main line passenger trains follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.