Archive for August 7th, 2008

A1 driver a TV ‘star’

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Graham Bunker, the driver of new build A1 pacific locomotive Tornado, during her first public run. Still from BBC NEWS video.

No apologies for returning to the subject of Tornado. It’s not every day that a £ 3 million steam locomotive is built from scratch and the Tornado project deserves maximum publicity. The story is particularly pertinent in Poland where steam locomotives are still being dumped and subsequently scrapped because their boilers require overhaul.

We have just come across a great video made by the BBC and available on their One-minute World News Channel. Robert Hall, the presenter, has made a very informative short film about the challenge of building a steam engine at a time when many of the skills and engineering facilities are difficult to find. But the real star is Graham Bunker, Tornado’s driver.

The other challenge has been the engineering. We’ve had to relearn things that have been lost in time. We’ve had to go all round the world. The metal tires on the wheels have come from South Africa. The boiler has come from Germany. Various other parts have come from across Europe.

There is a part of me that would have enjoyed to have seen everything done in Britain, but… the UK gave railways to the world, perhaps it’s not unreasonable that they gave us a little bit back.

I can think of quite a few Polish railway bosses who could learn a few useful TV interview tips from Graham! Just listen to the way he deals with Tornado’s CO2 footprint.

(If you haven’t already done so, do click on the picture on the top of this article to see the BBC video.)