A1 class pacific, 60163 Tornado northbound at Durham Station at approx. 20:00 hrs on the evening of 18 November 2008. Picture from a You Tube video by SiriusHardware.
(Click picture by to see original video on You Tube.)
Tornado, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s £3 million new build express steam locomotive, has completed its programme of trials on Network Rail tracks. Tornado was issued with her Engineering Acceptance certificate on Friday 31st October by Delta Rail and her Route Acceptance certificate on Monday 3rd November by Network Rail. On Tuesday 4th November, Tornado made her first main line test run with support coach from York to Scarborough and return. On Thursday 6th November 2008, Tornado hauled a non-passenger carrying test train which run at up to 60mph. Finally, on Tuesday 18th November, Tornado hauled 10 carriages plus a class 67 diesel locomotive, equating to about 550 tons from York to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and return 2008. This test train, was sponsored by National Express East Coast, and ran at up to 75mph (120 km/hr).
With the programme of tests complete, the Trust plans that Tornado will start hauling revenue-earning passenger trains in the New Year. However, with the engine throttled back to a maximum of 75mph it is unlikely that the locomotive will ever be able to show off her true potential on British tracks. When Tornado was being built, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust entertained the hope that, as a ‘new-build’ loco, Tornado would be certified to run at 90 mph (145 km/hr).
Maybe, bringing Tornado to Poland would be the answer? Howard Jones of Wolsztyn Experience has agreed with PKP that a properly certified British loco could run at 100 mph (160 km/hr) on a particular section of Polish track. So how about it, A1 A1 Steam Locomotive Trust? When you have finished running in and shaking down 60163 why not ship it over to Poland and show the world what a modern Peppercorn designed, A1 class pacific is really capable of? I understand that Wolsztyn Experience are even willing to sponsor the shipping costs. Now if WE organised a series of high speed runs for Tornado on the Poznan-Warsaw main line, would I pay £50 to travel at 100 mph plus behind 60163? You betcha! I suspect that skilfully marketed, such a venture might even end up making a profit!
Watch the video by clicking on the picture at the top of this post. You’ll be amazed how quietly 60163 runs.