Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost 50 years, will be visiting Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot, Oxfordshire, from 16 August to 2 September 2009. The railway centre is open every day over this period, and with Didcot’s famously relaxed attitude to letting people wander around the engine shed, there will be plenty of opportunity to inspect Tornado up close without the huge crowds that accompany her main line appearances. As well as being able to see, smell, hear and photograph her from the lineside there will also opportunities to travel on the footplate and even have a go at driving Tornado.
Tornado will be hauling passenger trains over the August Bank Holiday weekend from Saturday 29 – Monday 31 August 2009. With an admission price of £9, including train rides, this may be the cheapest way of experiencing a Tornado journey this year. And with frequent shuttles on Didcot’s demonstration line there will be plenty of opportunities to see and photograph her from the lineside. Tornado will also be running and giving train rides during the steam day on Wednesday 26 August. A very limited number of footplate rides will be available this day and over the bank holiday weekend, at £20.
There will also be an opportunity to drive and fire Tornado on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th August 2009. Places, which are strictly limited, will be allocated on a first come first served basis. To ensure every guest gains the most from the experience, a maximum of eight people will be allowed to take part on each day. The day will start at 8:30am with a full English breakfast. The group will then be split into two groups of four. One group will spend the morning touring the site, with visits to the signal box and locomotive work shops, and will have the opportunity to learn at first hand how the railway, and Didcot Railway Centre in particular, operates. The other group will spend the morning driving and firing Tornado which will be hauling a short passenger train. After a break for lunch the two groups will swap over. The day will finish at around 4:00pm. Priced at £550, this unique experience is available via firstname.lastname@example.org.