A1 driver a TV ‘star’


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.)


One Response to “A1 driver a TV ‘star’”

  1. gary stevens Says:

    Dear Editor,

    Firstly thank you for your excellent site. I am a daily reader. I would like to comment on the Tornado story.

    In Great Britain we have building steam locomotives constantly since the ‘end of steam’ on BR. The last commercial steam locomotive to be built, a Hunslet, was sent to Java in 1971 and was to the UK a couple of years ago. It is now on the Statfold Barn Railway.

    The Festinog Railway has had a building programme for many years with the Fairlie design being produced in single and double format. Also, Lew the repilca Lynton & Barnstaple Manning Wardle is nearing completion.

    On the standard gauge some the Barry scrapyard rebuilds are nearly new locomotives and new builds Beachy Head at the Bluebell Railway, a Brighton Atlantic, plus Hengist on the East Somerset Railway, a ‘Clan’ BR standard class 6 light pacific, are both well in production.

    On the Isle of Wight, our replica four wheel coaches have won awards for excellence.

    I hope this of interest i am sure you could find out more info to make a comment.

    Yours Gary Stevens

    P.S. I went to Wolstyn 2008. Well done Poland. Jolly good show.

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