It is with the greatest of sadness that the Trust learned today that one of its firmest friends had passed away. Jim Smith has been a friend of the Trust for around 20 years, and for many of our team somewhat longer. His association with Tornado is unique.
On almost every special occasion he was with us. The first main line test runs operated under Jim Smith’s supervision, including the legendary run from Newcastle to York in 2008. He was with us on a variety of trips after that, the length and breadth of the country and most happily in the north east. It was Jim who took charge of the 100mph run in April 2018. He even drove the engine on occasion away from the main line, to ensure her care.
Always referred to as ‘Gentleman Jim’ his kindness and generosity to the Trust will be massively missed by all of us. He continued to guide those new to the main line in our team right up until operations were curtailed due to lockdown. Building confidence, tutoring firing technique or just an understanding of how the locomotive worked, Jim was at his best when teaching and his legacy is a broad group of people who will carry main line steam forward.
On behalf of the Trust, Graeme Bunker-James said ‘We have lost one of the key people in Tornado’s history and someone with a unique position in ensuring the locomotive’s success. Jim led the footplate team at the very beginning in 2008, and at 100mph in 2018, with many superb and memorable runs in between. We will all miss him greatly and we extend our sympathies and kind wishes to his family and friends. God speed Jim, and thank you from us all.’