At the end of September, Tornado's boiler left Darlington Locomotive Works headed for Locomotive Maintenance Services (LMS) in Loughborough. On arrival, the ashpan was fitted beneath the firebox and it was lifted as one onto the frames. A few minor adjustments have been required to best position the boiler and, having been in steam to appreciate expansion, the boiler is now secured onto the frames. Over the last month, the team have been working to re-affix the necessary pipework and fitments that connect to it.
The boiler arrived in Loughborough on Tuesday 26th September and was promptly reunited with the frames. To ensure all clearances were understood, the boiler was steamed outside the LMS works over the weekend of the 14th October. The locomotive was then moved inside to enable further reinstatement of pipework and fittings. The smokebox has since been sealed and bolted down to the saddle. The team are now focussed on connecting the pipework and reinstalling the footplate fittings and associated connections.
Towards the end of October, the brick arch formers were assembled and the concrete cast in situ. This is an arduous job, shifting a lot of concrete, but it is now cast and ready for service. As always when putting a locomotive back together after overhaul, there are snags! The newly fitted take-off for the second turbo generator, which shuts off steam direct from the boiler, fouls the cladding and will need adjustment. The injector clacks also require lapping to improve their seating. These are all the type of small jobs that must be completed before the locomotive is ready for operations, and invariably take longer than we would like! That said, the team at LMS and those from A1SLT are all focused on returning the engine to running condition in the next month.
After two long years of overhaul activity, The Trust now looks forward to seeing No. 60163 Tornado in steam as the locomotive goes for running in and ETCS testing at the RIDC test centre before Christmas. The A1 will then return to main line and heritage line operations from Spring 2024.
To date, the overhaul has cost the Trust in excess of half a million pounds, and the extended time frame means Tornado has lost income anticipated from earnings running trains during that time. You can make a donation to support Tornado at www.a1steam.com and play an essential part in the engine’s journey back to steam.