Tornado, the first new steam engine to have been built in 50 years, will grace the North Yorkshire Moors Railway from May 1st to 10th. Thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway over the first couple of weekends in May, to see and experience a ride behind a number of iconic engines, including the newly-built steam locomotive Tornado.
Tornado – also referred to as engine 60163, will be making its debut on the ‘Moors’ and will join at least ten other engines in steam as part of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s “Spring Steam Gala”. The Gala will be taking place over the May Bank Holiday, from Friday 1st to Monday 4th and on the following weekend, from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th May. Such events are hugely popular as it gives families, enthusiasts and tourists a chance to experience the magic of steam, up close and personal.
Amongst the line-up of engines will be the streamlined A4 Pacific engine, 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, the imposing Schools Class Repton and North East engine 63395, otherwise known as a “Q6”. According to Philip Benham, General Manager of the NYMR, the visit of Tornado will be the highlight of the season. Last year’s Gala saw the gathering of three A4 Pacific’s in steam, (the first time in over 40 years), when home based 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley was joined by classmates Union of South Africa and Bittern.
Tornado is a class of engine, known as a ‘Peppercorn A1’. They were the final development of the LNER Pacific design started by Nigel Gresley back in Great Northern Railway days. Sadly all of the original A1 engines were scrapped in the mid to late 1960s, as part of the transition by British Rail from steam to diesel traction. So Tornado had to be built from scratch, at a cost of over £3 million. Thankfully its creation was guided by original plans from the National Railway Museum. Much of the work was undertaken at nearby Darlington.
It was only a matter of weeks ago that Tornado was officially named at York Station by HRH The Prince of Wales, accompanied by his wife, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. Since then it has been doing several main-line excursions and visits. However, by making its debut on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in early May, it will allow more families, enthusiasts, locals and tourists to experience the engine at first hand – and at affordable prices.
Philip Benham said “We cannot compete with the high speed running already seen on the East Coast Main Line, but the varied topography and dramatic scenery of the NYMR route, as it carves its way through the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, will provide plenty of opportunity. The highlight will undoubtedly be the pairing of Tornado with our teak liveried LNER coaching stock, to recreate the express train image that would have been seen when Tornado’s early cousins first emerged in 1948.”
Visitors to the Railway can find out more about the Gala by logging on to www.nymr.co.uk . A brochure will be available from the Railway at £3 per copy featuring the line-up of locomotives and the running timetable throughout the Gala.