We generally restrict these visits to those connected by rail to the mainline network as this reduces cost and removes the need to split the tender from the locomotive as well as the significant risk of damage to the paintwork, motion, and springs!
Heritage Line visits are important to us as they generally allow much better access to the locomotive than the brief water stops or pick-up/ set down points where we have extraordinarily little time and often the locomotive is off the platform and out of reach. Preparation and servicing are also often more accessible than a Network Rail Depot or siding and our supporters and the general public can view something of the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep a locomotive like Tornado in good condition. Members of our Support Crew and Merchandising Team are often on hand to answer your questions and deal with general enquiries.
These visits also allow us to train our own Support Crew members in all aspects of preparing the loco for traffic and the footplate skills they will need when riding as an Owner’s Representative, supporting the mainline drivers and firemen on the footplate. At the same time, we are keen that as many Heritage Crews can experience driving and firing a mainline locomotive and many of our support crew have been recruited after this type of experience.
Some Heritage Lines offer Driver Experience Courses where members of the public can experience the thrill of driving and firing a steam locomotive. If these coincide with one of our visits, they may get to experience operating Tornado themselves. These events are managed by each Heritage Line we visit and are not always available due to the length of stay and locomotive availability and enquiries should be made directly to the railway being visited rather than A1 General Enquiries.