Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented: “We are now clearly on the final stretch of the project to build Tornado
, with just a few weeks until she moves under her own steam for the first time and departs Darlington for the Great Central Railway. All – but there is an awful lot of it - there is left to do is a large amount of detailed pipe work, painting and final assembly. We have therefore taken the decision to put back the completion date to early August in order to have a much higher degree of confidence that we can make the revised deadline.
All of this progress has, however, come at a cost. Recently the Trust has been spending in the order of £60,000 every month on construction. It is thanks to our supporters’ continued generosity that our income continues to hold up and maintain its record breaking levels achieved since late last year. Although we have already raised £30,000 of the extra £50,000 we made an appeal for in late March, now is not the time to be complacent. We still need to close this gap in order to get Tornado onto the main line in 2008 and once Tornado is on Network Rail we will need to raise in excess of £800,000 to service the loans taken out and Bond issue taken up to ensure the locomotive’s long term operations.”
The Trust has therefore been able to continue activity in Darlington Locomotive Works at a very high level, with up to 15 people working there on Tornado
at any one time, delivering the virtuous circle of progress generating donations that generate more progress, etc.
The project has also continued to keep in the public eye through a high press profile. Mark Allatt appeared on Radio 5 Live news and Radio 4’s Today Programme
on Saturday 24th May 2008 and we have also been in The Sunday Telegraph
and on Radio 4’s You and Yours
recently. Every major newspaper and TV & Radio news programme is lined up and chomping at the bit to cover the major milestones later this year.
However, the Trust has been experiencing a number of challenges as Tornado
nears completion – not unexpectedly as she is the first main line steam locomotive to be built since 1960 and the first ever without the luxury of a traditional, fully equipped and manned locomotive works:
- Under-estimation of the time taken to complete final assembly
- Costs of certification due to unique nature of project
- Continuing very significant price rises in energy and raw materials.
It is the first of these that is really challenging us at the moment. The redesign of the locomotive to better fit on the modern railway with air and a subsidiary vacuum braking system (as opposed to steam and vacuum) and the enhanced electrical system needed to not only power the OTMR (On Train Monitoring & Recording) and TPWS (Train Protection & Warning System) but also support our application to run Tornado at 90mph on the main line are proving to be much more complex and time consuming than originally anticipated. Due to their one-off nature this has been done using schematics and doing the detailed design and build at the same time, whilst also seeking to preserve the historic look of the Peppercorn class A1s. This and the continual discovery of minor errors in the original design that were clearly picked up on the shop floors in Doncaster and Darlington Works when the originals were built in the 1940s but never passed back to the drawing office to amend the as-built drawings are all adding to the time needed to finish the locomotive.
Mark Allatt continued, "However, I'm afraid that we’ve had to put back Tornado’s
first moves in steam and under her own power from June to 2nd/3rd August to accommodate these delays. This will have a knock on effect on the rest of the programme as she will now be later onto the Great Central Railway in Loughborough for trials and testing and therefore on to the main line for the required test runs and mileage accumulation."
Although everyone has been working flat out there has been an inevitable knock on effect as delays in the construction phase have led to events planned for later this year being pushed back. The Trust sincerely hopes to honour the dates now in place but we cannot guarantee them. Despite Tornado not being in steam as hoped, our Covenantors’ Spring Weekend, which took place on the weekend of 26th/27th April, was a great success with around 400 Covenantors making the trip to Darlington. We raised more much needed funds and persuaded some of their friends to become Covenantors.
The Trust has arranged one last opportunity for its Covenantors to see Tornado
- in steam and moving under her own power - in Darlington before she leaves. Due to the delays outlined above this will now be on the weekend of 2nd/3rd August.
Within a few days of Tornado’s
first moves, she will be taken by road to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough. Consequently our previously announced Covenantors’ Weekend will NOT now be taking place on the weekend of 28th/29th June but at a later date to be announced in due course. After a period of running in and trials in and around Loughborough, Tornado
will be moved to York and visitors will be able to see the locomotive at the National Railway Museum when it is not out on main line trials. Then Tornado
will be moved into the paint shop at the National Railway Museum for final preparations for her launch.
It is planned that the launch of Tornado
will take place at the National Railway Museum in York over a weekend later in the year. The Trust’s Covenantors will then have the opportunity to travel behind Tornado
on the main line for the first time – with current thinking being return trips from York to Newcastle on both the Saturday and Sunday. Details of all of these events will be publicised as soon as we are as confident as we can be about them.
VOLUNTEERS - The Trust is appealing for volunteers to help at various events it is attending throughout this year. If anyone can spare a day or two to help and would like to join the Trust’s events team, do get in touch with Alexa Stott via firstname.lastname@example.org
. The Trust is taking the Tornado
exhibition stand on the road to:
- “1968 and all that” at the National Railway Museum from 24th May to 1st June.
- The Coronation Weekend at the National Railway Museum on 5th and 6th July.
- The Steam Gala at Barrow Hill, Chesterfield from 22nd to 25th August.
- The Warley Model Railway exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham on 22nd and 23rd November.
TRACK WORK - In order to complete the track work outside Darlington Locomotive Works and enable Tornado
to make her first moves, the Trust needs two right hand turnouts. Any combination of the following two types will suffice: "A-6 (Bullhead)" and "AV-6 (Flat Bottomed)". If you can help please contact Duncan Ross via Duncan.email@example.com
[caption id="attachment_1789" align="alignnone" width="220"] Ground preparation for track extension from S end of DLW[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1790" align="alignnone" width="220"] Ground preparation for track extension from S end of DLW[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1791" align="alignnone" width="221"] Sleepers ready[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1792" align="alignnone" width="221"] Rail arriving[/caption]
GENERAL - High levels of activity are being maintained to complete the loco as soon as possible. Additional plumbing resources have been engaged to help cover the largest amount of work which is left, with other specialist skills being brought in as necessary.
CYLINDERS AND VALVES - The valve rings have been fitted and the three valve spindles inserted in the valve chests. Ian Howitt has delivered some of the stuffing box details.
MOTION - The pin fitting activity is continuing and is almost complete. The reverser stand has been re-assembled in the cab and the reversing gear is now complete with the exception of the drive to, and escutcheon plate for, the cut off indicator which can only be completed after the valve setting which is expected to be done after the Spring Bank Holiday under the guidance of John Graham.
FITTINGS AND PIPE WORK
[caption id="attachment_1793" align="alignright" width="300"]
Backhead at 13 May[/caption]
Tom Snowball has recruited a further plumber, Brian Gunn, who has been concentrating on insulating pipes between the frames and final-fitting them with gaskets. Tom has continued with various bits of steam and air pipe work, particularly to the hose disconnect points between the engine and tender. He has also hydraulic tested a large amount of air pipe work, prior to refitting to the loco for the last time. John Haydon, assisted from time to time by David Hurd, is concentrating on completing connections to the gravity oil boxes, a task which is almost finished on Driver’s side of the engine and well advanced on the other side.
BRAKE AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT - Some air brake control equipment has been returned from overhaul which will enable us to install the bracketry and pipework on the tender. Ian Howitt has delivered further mechanical brake gear.
[caption id="attachment_1794" align="alignleft" width="300"]
Main steam pipes fitted[/caption]
Taylors of Leeds have been retained to pre-assemble and weld the main steam pipes and have now fitted them to the smokebox finally. The regulator cross shaft and other back head fittings have been finally fitted. The regulator quadrants and stops are still to be fitted and will be done when the cab is taken off again. The smokebox is being fitted out including the anti-vacuum valve and top cover. The blast pipe is being fitted for the last time.
BEARING SPRING GEAR - The bogie spring and side control gear is now fitted. The coupled wheel springs have been delivered and the coupled wheel spring links have been fitted to the axle/cannonboxes. The springs will not be fitted until the remaining pipe and motion work is complete as they hamper access.
CAB - The cab and floor plates have been grit blasted and the interior has been finish painted in apple green in the sides and green on the inside of the roof. Andrew Daniel, the contract joiner who works for the LNERCA has made up and fitted the cab floor woodwork. Another day’s work remains to make the attachments to the steel floor.
[caption id="attachment_1795" align="alignnone" width="222"] Fireman's side of cab in apple green[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1796" align="alignnone" width="219"] Woodwork for the cab floor[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1797" align="alignleft" width="200"]
Paul Depledge at work[/caption]
Paul Depledge has now completed the main conduit runs down the loco and tender and with the assistance of Mick Robinson has started loom making and pulling cables through the conduits. Paul has completed virtually all the boxes and other mechanical components of the electrical installation on loco and tender. Volunteer Rob Payne has assembled the essential and auxiliary I/O (Input/Output) boxes. The Essential Services box is in the process of being fitted out and the Auxiliary Services cabinet (which is smaller and less complex) will be completed by our electrical designer, Rob Morland in his own workshop.Additional work has been required to re-fit the alternator and its regulator following the reinforcement of the tender back drag box. The front and back marker lamp boxes and associated conduit work have been fitted.
The electrical system design is now essentially complete. The only areas where more work is required are the marker and head lamps (where the LED system has to be finished and the units constructed). Thanks to our recent appeal the Trust now has all eight required plus spares.
The internal layout of the battery boxes is now complete and CAD drawings are being produced by David Elliott. Each box will contain two batteries and a Battery Panel, to which will be fitted the DC-DC converter battery charger and associated protection components. The first power supply has been wired up to test the DC-DC converter charging a set of batteries. Using the shore supply this has been bench-tested through two complete battery charge-discharge cycles and performed without any problems.
The first item of circuitry to be carried on the loco has now been built and tested. This is the simple circuit that provides a health indication via LEDs on the Control Panels for each of the input and output supplies. Boards containing four of these circuits have been assembled and potted in flame-retardant silicone elastomer. Two units are required and four boards have been built, providing two spares.
On the loco itself, the key challenge has been to identify the best routing for the wiring between the cab, frames and battery boxes. This is a very congested area and it was important that we came up with an arrangement that is reliable and maintainable. Paul Depledge has managed to fit in enough conduit capacity which has allowed the circuit schematics and wiring lists to be finalised.
Rob Morland is in the process of assembling and testing the Input/Output and Battery Box panels and will deliver them to Darlington as complete units ready for fitting.
TENDER (SPONSORED BY WILLIAM COOK CAST PRODUCTS LTD) - The last of the bolts holding the tender tank to the frame have been fitted along with the steel structure that supports the wooden floor in the cab area. This floor has also been made and fitted. The hand brake screw assembly has been delivered by Ian Howitt and has been tried and fits. Some fitting work had been required on the brake hangers. Otherwise the only remaining brake equipment to be delivered is some pins which are in manufacture.
The tender tank has been grit blasted and Great Northern Steam has been retained to improve the flatness of the sides. Painter Ian Matthews is currently filling, flatting and priming the sides. The reservoir brackets have been secured to the underside of the tank and the reservoirs are being mounted as this is being written. This will permit the air pipework to be completed. The alternator has been refitted. Following individual spring rate-checking by the manufacturers, Owen Springs, the tender spring gear has been fitted by A1 Trustees Barry Wilson and Graeme Bunker.
The components for the extended shank rear coupling should be delivered in June which will enable William Cook Cast Products’ Leeds plant to friction weld the stem onto the hook forging – thanks to the intervention of Andrew Cook when the supply problem was discovered. In the meantime the rather worn redundant back draw hook off No. 60019 Bittern
has been purchased which will suffice for the operations on the Great Central railway.
[caption id="attachment_1798" align="alignnone" width="160"] Grit blasting the tender sides[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1799" align="alignnone" width="219"] Lining up the tender springs[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1800" align="alignnone" width="160"] Sorry, I just need to use the office to get these springs on ....[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1801" align="alignnone" width="160"] Tender brake gear pipework[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1802" align="alignnone" width="219"] Bittern's drawhook at the rear of the tender[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1803" align="alignnone" width="160"] Marker light housings mounted at rear of tender[/caption]
CERTIFICATION - Delta Rail is well underway with its review of changes made to the original Peppercorn design – where the design hasn’t been changed, verification is on the basis of the A1s' previous service history. They have also audited the manufacturing processes against the quality management system in order to give them confidence that the locomotive has been constructed in accordance with the agreed design. This audit was successful and no remedial work is required in this area. Frequent discussions have been held with the ORR (Office of the Rail Regulator – formerly known as Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate), most recently on 2nd April, with a further visit on 13th May which has completed their ‘cold’ inspection on the locomotive. This coupled with an interim certification statement from Delta Rail and completion of the agreed testing plan will pave the way for testing and use of Tornado at the GCR. The Route Acceptance Strategy is subject to a number of activities being progressed to support the operation of the locomotive on the main line, the most significant being the now agreed track force testing programme which involves a mixture of testing at the GCR at 60mph, followed by main line testing at 75mph and ultimately 90mph to prove that the locomotive behaves as is expected in comparison with other steam locomotives. This will include instrumentation being placed on the locomotive to measure its dynamic behaviour, similar to the acceptance of modern rolling stock. Tornado is the first steam locomotive this will have been done to.
For the latest news and photographs visit www.a1steam.com
. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone 01325 4 60163.