Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in the UK for almost 50 years, will be visiting towns the length and breadth of Britain between now and Christmas. Although completed only two years ago, Tornado has already become something of a national icon following her many appearances on national television – including the ‘Great Race to the North’ on Top Gear – and her naming by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and subsequent use on the Royal Train. Large crowds continue to appear wherever she goes and she is proving to be a major draw for new customers on heritage railways and main line tours alike.
Some of the highlights of Tornado’s autumn programme (see 'Travel with Tornado' page) include:
Saturday 25th September - 'The Tamar Devonian' - Eastleigh (60163 Tornado and 6024 King Edward I from Bristol) to Plymouth and return. Tornado’s first main line double-headed train. The train starts diesel hauled picking up passengers at Southampton Central, Romsey, Salisbury, Warminster, Trowbridge, Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads, where the two locomotives will be ready to take over for the initial run across the Somerset Levels to Taunton. Then it's on over the Blackdown Hills to Exeter and along the famous south Devon sea wall, with its fabulous views, before skirting the undulating flank of Dartmoor, and the steep climbs of Dainton and Rattery banks, culminating in the final run down into Plymouth. Passengers will have around four hours in Plymouth before a late afternoon departure. Adult fares start at just £99 and tickets are still available from Pathfinder Tours (Tel: 01453 835414 Web: www.pathfindertours.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Sunday 26th September - 'The Torbay Express' - Bristol Temple Meads to Kingswear and return, picking up passengers at Weston-Super-Mare, Taunton and Exeter St David’s. This will be the only opportunity to travel behind Tornado on ‘The Torbay Express’ this year. Adult fares start at £75 and a few tickets are still available from Torbay Express Ltd (www.torbayexpress.co.uk Tel: 01453 834477 Email: email@example.com)
Saturday 2nd October - 'The Merseyside Tornado' - Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford, Lichfield Trent Valley to London Euston and return hauled throughout by Tornado. The first steam hauled excursion to depart from Merseyside’s newest transport interchange and Tornado’s first visit to the City of Liverpool. The ‘Merseyside Tornado’ will also pick up (and set down) passengers at Runcorn, Crewe, Stafford and Lichfield Trent Valley with a mid-day arrival in Euston, allowing a four hour stop-over in the capital. HF Railtours provide passengers with ‘Fine Dining’ experiences in both the Pullman style and First Class Plus sections of the trains featuring only the best of freshly prepared British produce augmented by top quality wines. Adult fares start at just £89 and tickets are still available from HF Railtours (Telephone Pathfinder Tours: 01453 835414; Web: www.hf-railtours.co.uk)
Monday 4th to Wednesday 6th October 2010 - Driver Experience Days at Barrow Hill Roundhouse, Chesterfield. Opportunities to drive and fire Tornado are very rare and places are strictly limited. The cost is £550 per person and a maximum of four people per day will be allowed to take part. The day will start at 9:00am with breakfast and then the group will then be split into two and take turns to fire and drive Tornado and the 0-6-0 Peckett 2000 throughout the morning. After lunch and a tour of the roundhouse the driving and firing turns will continue using Tornado. Participants will receive a commemorative certificate, signed by representatives of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and Barrow Hill Roundhouse. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday 22nd October - 'The Royal Borderer' - Doncaster to Edinburgh and return (Tornado from/to York to Edinburgh). This train celebrates the 160th anniversary of the Royal Border Bridge en-route back from an afternoon in Edinburgh. It re-traces a major part of last year’s famous Top Gear ‘Race to the North’. Starting at Doncaster where many of the original A1s were built, Tornado will haul ‘The Royal Borderer’ from York to Edinburgh and back, calling additionally at Darlington, Durham and Newcastle to pick up passengers, giving some three hours in Edinburgh. Along the way passengers will be able to enjoy the varied and rich rolling countryside, including numerous landmarks, that form the border between England and Scotland. There are also glimpses of the North Sea as the train runs along part of the attractive Northumbrian and Scottish coastline. On the return journey the train will take a break in historic Berwick-Upon-Tweed as the famous 28 arch, Grade 1 listed Royal Border Bridge is lit up at 6pm to celebrate its 160th Anniversary. Adult fares start at just £99 and tickets are still available from Pathfinder Tours (Tel: 01453 835414 Web: www.pathfindertours.co.uk Email: email@example.com )
Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented:
“Tornado’s autumn programme of main line tours and heritage railway visits will take the locomotive to new places like Liverpool and the East Lancs Railway, to more familiar ones like Bristol and Swanage and on the East Coast Main Line route of her long-gone sisters from York to Edinburgh. There are even exclusive opportunities to drive and fire Tornado at Barrow Hill Roundhouse. Now with over 25,000 miles on the clock since being completed in 2008, Tornado seems to have become something of a national icon. The essence of her story is written on plaques carried by Tornado - ‘this locomotive was built and paid for by people who shared a vision and were determined to turn it into reality’. You just can’t get any more British than that!”
Tornado starred 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. The first showing of the programme was watched by over seven million people. 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 in Darlington, Country Durham. 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 2008 on BBC2. The locomotive was officially named by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in February 2009 and has since entered regular service on excursion trains on the Network Rail main line.
The Trust requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.