Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost 50 years, will start her 2012 season of trains running-in on the Mid Hants Railway at Alton, Hants over the weekend of 25th /26th February 2012 after the completion of her scheduled winter maintenance.
The locomotive will start this season wearing her livery of BR Brunswick green, carried by the original Peppercorn class A1s for most of their working lives, but with the later British Railways crest replacing the earlier emblem on the tender sides. Over the duration of her first boiler certificate Tornadowill carry all of the A1’s historic liveries of LNER apple green with ‘British Railways’ on the tender, BR blue and BR Brunswick green, with both emblem and crest.
Planned Winter Maintenance
Following the short notice substitution of Tornado for King Edward I on ‘The William Shakespeare’ tour from London Paddington to Stratford-on-Avon on 30th December 2011, the locomotive made her way to Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway on New Year’s Eve.
The Trust’s staff, led by David Elliott, carried out inspection work and a few tasks including removing both injectors for cleaning and repair. The MHR staff, led by Frank Boait, have done the routine dismantling and reassembly including piston and valve exam, removing the motion to enable all the rod bushes and crank pins to be inspected and measured. They have also removed all the engine and tender brake gear to enable inspection of pins and bushes and to ensure full lubrication of all the joints.
The insurance and VAB boiler inspectors have completed the cold examination of the boiler and have not found any problems. A further completed periodic item is ultrasonic and magnetic particle inspection of the axles and crank pins which is scheduled every four years. As the start point forTornado was August 2008, it was done now to avoid having to take the locomotive out of traffic part way through the year.
Other work includes paint work repairs, the tender sides needing rather more than would be normally expected as there is evidence of something metallic having scraped along the upper side in addition to the usual chips due to flying coal and scratches from line side vegetation. The opportunity has been taken to replace the early style British Railways emblem with the later style crest on the tender sides.
Three modifications are planned for this winter:
· Improved engine-tender drawbar spring arrangement
· Larger capacity auxiliary batteries
· Preparation for GSMR Radio
Whilst the majority of the winter maintenance work has gone extremely well, a problem was found with a component in the engine brake gear - a 3½in diameter pin had seized in the wishbone bearing. Despite several attempts to press it out it in situ, it eventually proved necessary to remove the cast steel bracket in which the pin was mounted and to machine out the seized pin. In the mean time the MHR team have manufactured a replacement and minor design change is being made to enable grease lubrication of the pin as opposed to external oiling. The net result of this is that work is running about one week late and the first operations of the locomotive will be on the weekend of 25th/26th February 2012.
Work on the new support coach (Mark 1 BCK E21249) has continued at Darlington over the past three months. Paul Depledge has spent some time working on the electrical system, fitting the locomotive battery charger connections at the ends of the coach and pulling wires through the conduits to the connectors. Mick Robinson has completed the corridor connection overhaul and the refitting of the doors. The fitting of the luggage van doors was difficult as we were only using one out of the four originals - the remainder being beyond economic repair. The coach was purchased with four spare doors from a former Southern region Mark 1 EMU. However, as these were made at York as opposed to our coach which started life at Swindon, they required a fair amount of fitting and adjustment. A joiner is now completing the door linings and interior trim and M Machine’s Ian Matthews and Peter Horden have installed the ceilings in the luggage van and guard’s areas.
Mick has also finished making and fitting the pieces of galvanised steel sheet to cover all the exposed woodwork underneath – a new requirement for overhauled Mark 1 coaches, and has refitted the vacuum brake cylinders. He has also made progress on the Panda diesel generator frame including making the radiator air ducting and installing in the same frame the warm air convector which heats the workshop area.
The Trust’s two electrical volunteers Gordon Little and Gordon Wells have completed the reassembly of the 200A alternator and will test it shortly by mounting it in the lathe to turn the rotor. Gordon Little has re-manufactured the brush gear which was seized and short if brush springs.
Thanks to a kind offer from the MHR, the Trust has been able to acquire a replacement wheelset (the original had cracks which condemned it) and this has been subjected to ultrasonic and magnetic particle inspection by Serco which has confirmed that the wheelset is in good condition. It will shortly be moved to Rampart Carriage & Wagon in Derby where it will be painted and united with the second bogie which has been overhauled by Rampart.
Locomotive Manager Appointed
The Trust is pleased to announce the appointment of John Wilkinson to the newly created position as Locomotive Manager. John will be responsible for day to day planning and delivery, and also the ongoing development of the Trust’s support crew volunteers as they improve their skills and competence. The Trust is delighted that John has come on board as he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to a new role which will be pivotal to the organisation in the future.
John joins the Trust from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway where he was Footplate Superintendent and has been involved in the running of steam locomotives, including Tornado, on the main line and heritage railways for over 30 years. John is passionate about former LNER traction and remains involved with the NYMR in a voluntary capacity.
Commenting on his appointment, John Wilkinson said, “I have enjoyed working as a volunteer with Tornado and look forward to further involvement going forward, particularly working with our volunteer support crew.”
It takes a lot of people to keep Tornado on the rails, not just those who travel with the locomotive as support crew or merchandise team but also those in the engineering team in Darlington and elsewhere. At the moment the Trust is seeking people to help with on-train sales, events, merchandise logistics, marketing, giving presentations, archives, works guides, engine cleaning, engineering (especially on the support coach), support crew and works housekeeping. There is always so much more that we could achieve with the right volunteer with the right skills and a can-do attitude. We are especially short of team leaders who will take some form of managerial responsibility within their discipline. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you can help. Especially urgent is a volunteer with expertise in procurement (particularly in the field of engineering) due to the overhaul and conversion work on the new support coach and the on-going requirement to purchase spares and consumables for the operation of the locomotive. If anybody with this experience is prepared to volunteer they should email email@example.com with the subject “Purchasing Volunteer”.