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New Build Locomotive No.60163 Tornado

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a registered charity, built Peppercorn class A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado, named after the RAF aircraft, at its Darlington Locomotive Works. Fitted with additional water capacity and the latest railway safety electronics, Tornado is fully equipped for today’s main line railway.

After 18 years of construction and fundraising, the £3million locomotive was completed in August 2008. Tornado was named by HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York station on 19th February 2009. Frequently headlined in the press and on TV and radio, Tornado was the subject of a BBC documentary ‘Absolutely Chuffed: The Men Who Built a Steam Engine’ and featured in ‘The Race to the North’ on Top Gear.


History of the Class A1 Steam Locomotives

 The A1 class was designed by Arthur H Peppercorn for the London & North Eastern Railway and were the last in a line of famous express passenger steam locomotives for the East Coast Main Line that included the Stirling Singles, the Ivatt Atlantics and the Gresley Pacifics.

The original 49 Peppercorn Class A1s were ordered by the LNER and built at Doncaster and Darlington for British Railways (BR) in 1948/9, after the nationalisation of the railways. As designed they were ideally suited for the post-war world of poor maintenance and heavy trains, with their 50sq ft grate allowing them to use lower grade coal than their predecessors. The final five were even equipped with roller bearings enabling them to go for an average of 118,000 miles between heavy repairs, making the A1s the cheapest to run of all British steam locomotives in the same category. They were also the most reliable of all of the express passenger steam locomotives owned by British Railways. However, following modernisation, all were scrapped by 1966.


Continuing to break records, Tornado has been in the news this year…

100mph Record - Whilst undertaking test runs in connection with raising its permitted maximum speed, No. 60163 Tornado reached 100mph during trials conducted on the East Coast Main Line between Doncaster and Newcastle. Tornado is currently limited to 75mph, but it has always been the intention to run the locomotive at speeds up to 90mph to better fit in with other trains on the busy UK rail network. In connection with testing for future 90mph operations the locomotive was rigged with diagnostic measurement equipment and operated up to 100mph during controlled testing in the early hours of Wednesday 12th April 2017. In common with other rail vehicles, Tornado had to operate at 10% above its planned maximum speed to demonstrate a sufficient margin of safety. The events of the evening were captured in the BBC documentary ‘Tornado – the 100mph Steam Engine’, available on BBC iPlayer until 13th June 2017.

Plandampf - Taken from German meaning Planned Steam. Tornado took to the rails on February 14th, 15th and 16th, pulling regular timetabled services (usually diesel hauled) over part of the Settle and Carlisle Railway (S&C), on what were the first steam hauled service trains in England since the 1960s. In three days around 6000 people travelled on these trains, all 12 of which were sold out.

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