Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost 50 years, is visiting the West Country and Wales for the first time Saturday 30 May 2009, hauling special trains organised by Pathfinder Tours. The new £3m Peppercorn class A1 pacific steam locomotive was built over almost 20 years by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a registered charity, at its Darlington Locomotive Works and was officially named Tornado by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in February of this year. The locomotive has since entered regular service on excursion trains on the Network Rail main line.
Frequently headlined in the national and international press and on TV and radio, No. 60163 Tornado was the subject of a BBC documentary ‘Absolutely Chuffed: The Men Who Built a Steam Engine’ broadcast on Christmas Eve on BBC2 last year and is soon to appear in an episode of the BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ programme racing a Jaguar XK120 car and Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle from London to Edinburgh with presenter Jeremy Clarkson on-board. Hired by Woodchester based Pathfinder Tours, Tornado will be hauling two special ‘Severn Coast Express’ excursion trains on Saturday 30th May 2009.
The first train departs from Bristol Temple Meads station at 06:42hrs initially diesel hauled, picking up passengers at Bristol Parkway (06:57hrs) and Cam & Dursley (07:19hrs). At Gloucester (08:02hrs) Tornado takes over the ‘Severn Coast Express’ and crosses into Wales for the first time via Chepstow and Newport before reaching its destination of Cardiff Central station at 09:43hrs. Following a three hour break in the Welsh capital, Tornado departs Cardiff at 12:41hrs and returns the ‘Severn Coast Express’ to Bristol, passing through the Severn Tunnel for the first time, before arriving at Brunel’s magnificent Bristol Temple Meads station, also for the first time, at 13:40hrs. The train then continues diesel hauled calling at Bristol Parkway (14:22hrs), Cam & Dursley (14:43hrs) and reaching Gloucester at 15:12hrs. Fares for this historic trip are Standard Class £49.00 (junior £24.50), First Class Plus, including light refreshments, £79.00 (junior £59.00) and Premier Dining, including the Great British Breakfast, £119.00 (junior £99.00).
The second train departs diesel hauled from Gloucester at 15:34hrs, calling at Cam & Dursley (15:53hrs) and Bristol Parkway (16:20hrs). Upon reaching Bristol Temple Meads station, Tornado replaces the diesel locomotive on the ‘Severn Coast Express’ and departs at 17:08hrs for a trip across the Somerset Flats via Taunton and the West Somerset Railway to Minehead, arriving at 19:45hrs. The return diesel hauled train departs Minehead at 20:40hrs and arrives back at Bristol Temple Meads station at 22:57hrs. A special roach coach will then return passengers to Bristol Parkway (23:30hrs), Cam & Dursley (23:45hrs) and Gloucester (23:55hrs). Fares for this evening trip are Standard Class £45.00 (Junior £22.50), First Class Plus, including light refreshments, £75.00 (junior £55.00) and Premier Dining, including a four course dinner with wine and aperitif, £115.00 (junior £95.00).
Tickets can be purchased from Pathfinder Tours (Tel: 01453 835414; Web: www.pathfindertours.co.uk; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Book for both trips and get a discount on the second trip: £10 per person Standard Class and £20 per person in both first Class Plus and Premier Dining.
Commenting on bringing Tornado to Wales and the West Country for the first time, Peter Watts, general manager, Pathfinder Tours, said: “We are pleased to be able to bring this magnificent steam locomotive to Wales and the West Country for the very first time. Tornado has proven to be a star attraction where ever she has appeared. Some tickets are still available for seats on both trips of the ‘Severn Coast Express’ but they are filling up rapidly.”
Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust added: “We are delighted that Pathfinder Tours has chosen to take Tornado to Wales and the West Country for the first time on the ‘Severn Coast Express’ – most appropriate as the locomotive was named by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in February of this year. We hope that railway enthusiasts and members of the public who have followed Tornado’s progress in the press will take this opportunity to travel behind her on one of these historic journeys.”
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.
Tornado will be at the West Somerset Railway – www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk – from Sunday 31st May to Sunday 14th June 2009.