The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is disappointed to announce that Tornado's return to service following her first intermediate overhaul will be postponed. This delay is due to the unfortunate combination of a number of different problems discovered during the overhaul, the rectification of which is not possible in time for the locomotive's planned return to service.
Boiler: The boiler was sent to DB Meiningen in October 2014 with an expectation of it being completed by the end of February 2015. Some additional work was identified including changing some flexible firebox stays, and the replacement of flue tubes. In addition staff shortages due to illness resulted in the boiler not arriving in Darlington until 21st April 2015.
Roller bearings - 1: During inspection of the roller bearings which forms part of the overhaul, a Timken service engineer identified problems with both crank axle bearings and one bearing on each bogie wheelset. Replacements and repairs were put in hand, and with the help of Timken and their new subsidiary Revolvo we were able to bring forward the initial delivery date from October 2015. However, additional problems with the forged rings for the new bearings for the crank axle meant that delivery was further delayed until 22nd April. South Devon Railway Engineering which had been contracted to change the bearings responded quickly and returned the crank axle wheelset to Darlington on 29th April.
Roller bearings – 2: Despite previous inspection by Timken, a problem was identified with trailing coupled axle bearings when preparing to re-wheel the locomotive on 29th April . Thanks to the recent delivery of similar bearings for No. 2007 Prince of Wales and excellent cooperation from South Devon Railway Engineering, the wheeslet and new bearings were dispatched there immediately with an expected return to Darlington around 19th May. Replacements for the class P2 bearings have been ordered and this will not impact the programme to build No. 2007 Prince of Wales.
However, the additional work means that Tornado's loaded test run has been postponed from 25th May to w/b 8th June and alternative arrangements have been made for No. 60163's first three planned main line trains – 30th May 'The Cumbrian Fells Express' for Pathfinder Tours (now to run with No. 70000 Britannia), 2nd June 'The White Rose' for A1SLT but booked through UK Railtours to be re-dated, date to be confirmed, (we tried multiple alternative motive power options but couldn't get any to work) and 4th June The Railway Children charity fundraising train (now to run with No. 35028 Clan Line).
David Elliott, Director of Engineering, A1SLT, commented:
"Tornado's engineering team is hugely disappointed not to be able to deliver the locomotive back into traffic on schedule. We are now working around the clock to complete her first overhaul as soon as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused."
Graeme Bunker, Operations Director, A1SLT, added:
"We are very sorry to have let down our customers, passengers and supporters by not completing Tornado's intermediate overhaul in time to meet her first commitments of the year. However, we are looking forward to an exciting 2015 season, with Tornado back on the main line and resplendent in her glorious apple green livery.
"It is expected that No. 60163 Tornado's loaded test run will now take place w/c 8th June 2015 and will then take up rail tour duties across the UK. We have been approached by various parties to hire the locomotive and will be confirming exact dates in the next few weeks. Our website www.a1steam.com will as always have all the details."
We are also pleased to announce that for the first time in four years Tornado will be rostered on 'The Torbay Express', hauling trains on Sunday 12th July, 26th July and 2nd August from Bristol to Kingswear.