£3 million new build A1 pacific steamed today

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Peppercorn A1 pacific 60163 Tornado a few weeks before today’s test run,
photo, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

New build Peppercorn A1 pacific, 60163 Tornado, made its first public move under her own steam in Darlington at 11:00hrs today.

The new A1 class (there was an earlier Gresley class with the same designation) was designed by Arthur Peppercorn as the final embodiment of express passenger steam locomotive design for the London and North Eastern Railway. The newly formed British Railways constructed 49 Peppercorn A1s in 1948/49 at their works in Doncaster and Darlington. By 1966, 17 years after the last member of the class was built, all the A1s were scrapped. There was an abortive attempt to preserve the last survivor of the class 60145 St Mungo. The project to build a new Peppercorn class A1 was launched in 1990 and, after 18 years of planning, construction and raising over £2.9 million, 60163 Tornado made her first public run today.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented:

Tornado’s first public move in steam marks the beginning of the final phase for a project that many said could never be completed. In 1990 a group was formed with a vision and the determination to make it succeed – to build and operate a Peppercorn class A1 Pacific steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use. 18 years later Tornado is complete. It is down to our more than 2,000 regular monthly and other donors, our sponsors lead by William Cook Cast Products Limited and the hard work of our volunteers and contractors that all that remains now between Tornado and main line operations is the successful completion of her test and trials programme, first on the Great Central Railway at Loughborough and then on Network Rail.

With 4th August marking the 40th anniversary of the end of British Railways steam and 6th August the 60th anniversary of the entry into traffic of the first Peppercorn class A1 60114 WP Allen, there could be no better time to celebrate steam’s second coming and no better way than the completion of the first new main line steam locomotive in Britain for almost 50 years. When this project was launched in 1990 many people said that it could not be done. The completion of the construction programme proves the doubters wrong and means that there is only £66,000 to pay for test and trials and less than four months between now and Tornado’s main line début.

The A1 Trust has built Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado at its Darlington Locomotive Works and when certified it will be used on charter trains operating on Network Rail. Fitted with additional water capacity and the latest railway safety electronics, Tornado is fully equipped for today’s main line railway. Over £2.9m has been raised to-date through deeds of covenant, commercial sponsorship (principal sponsor William Cook Cast Products Limited) and through a bond issue. In order to get Tornado on the main line as quickly as possible the Trust needs to raise a further £66,000 on top of its existing pledges.

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One Response to “£3 million new build A1 pacific steamed today”

  1. fernando poirot Says:

    Grande y envidiable el pueblo inglés, bravo…!

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