Following the examination of Tornado’s boiler by officers of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and our boiler inspector we can confirm that repairs to the locomotive are now progressing to an agreed plan of work at Hither Green depot.
Following detailed metallurgical analysis we are pleased to be able to confirm that there are no defects with the materials used in the manufacture of the boiler, nor is there any long-term issue around the management of the boiler. Trust records show that Tornado's boiler has been through over 60 steaming cycles and been in traffic for over 200 days. This is significantly beyond the usage of any steam locomotive of a comparable type in preservation, which is reinforced when the nature of the operations undertaken today is considered. This number of steaming cycles is beyond that which the original Peppercorn class A1s would have experienced in British Railways service before being sent to a locomotive works for overhaul, typically every two years.
Although it is too early for firm conclusions to be reached about the causes of recent problems with Tornado's boiler, analysis to date suggests that the stay failures have occurred due to fatigue caused through usage. The boiler has received a thorough examination by our boiler inspector and has been declared to be in excellent condition, proving that it is working within its design parameters and is being well maintained.
Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:
"Although the recent problems with Tornado’s boiler 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 as soon as possible and back onto the main line where she belongs."
The Trust would like to place on record its thanks for all the assistance from our partners in effecting swift repairs and most particularly to Balfour Beatty Rail for making facilities available at Hither Green depot to the Trust at very short notice.
Information on when Tornado will return to traffic will be posted on www.a1steam.com as soon as it becomes available, progress can be viewed here.