Tornado and the Duke,

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probably the most advanced steam locomotives in the world.

60163, Tornado, hauling the Peppercorn Pioneer, North of Darlington on the East Coast Main Line Saturday 31 January 2009.  Video nymfootage.

60163’s maiden main line run in revenue earning passenger service on Saturday is all the excuse that we needed to post another video clip of the locomotive running at speed. Through the magic of You Tube and the Internet there is quite lot of video material to chose from. (Just go to You Tube and type ‘Tornado A1’ into the search box.) We were highly selective. We wanted a clip that conveyed something of the power of the locomotive and that was also reasonably professional. 

Nymfootage’s clip is in our eyes, the best clip by far. The cameraman has gone to immense trouble to choose a location that gives him a long panning shot of the locomotive working at speed. The camera is set up on a tripod and the panning and zooming effects are used sparingly and professionally. The result is an impression of immense power, like a greyhound being held back on a leash or a race horse being taken for a light trot. The clip is only marred by wind noise. An external ‘gun mike’ with a decent windshield would have easily cured the problem.

60163 is fitted with a Kylchap exhaust, as originally specified by Peppercorn for his A1 pacifics. The result is a free steaming locomotive that combines the seemingly contradictory design goals of a good draught through the boiler and minimum back pressure in the cylinders. From the lineside the locomotive sounds more like a well-tuned diesel than a traditional steam locomotive. We will probably be lynched by the steam fraternity for saying this! 

60163 is a three cylinder express locomotive built by the A1 Locomotive Trust between 1990-2008. Apart from design changes which were necessary to accommodate modern manufacturing techniques and contemporary safety regulations, the locomotive follows the 1946-47 design drawings of Arthur Peppercorn. The Peppercorn A1 class is a logical progression of the engineering work of Sir Nigel Gresley, former Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LNER, and the designer of A4 Mallard, the fastest steam locomotive in the world.

A final note, the locomotive has not had her naming ceremony yet. (There are rumours that it is to be performed by HRH Prince Charles.) which is why we refer to her as 60163 rather than Tornado.

71000, Duke of Gloucester, hauling the Tynesider near Bradbury on the East Coast Main Line. Saturday 2nd February 2008. Video nymfootage.

Having found the clip of 60163 running at speed we looked at some of Nymfootage’s other work and were delighted to find this amazing clip of BR 8P ‘Standard’ pacific 71000 Duke of Gloucester. Again the location has been carefully chosen to show the locomotive running at speed and an impression of massive, yet contained, power is conveyed.

The ‘Duke’ was designed in 1952-53 by BR CME, Robin Riddles, and incorporated the revolutionary Caprotti valve gear, but with severe time and budget constraints, the design was not properly ‘debugged’ and the single locomotive was not considered a success. After a short working life of 8 years, the locomotive was sent to the scrapyard minus its cylinders. One of these was sectioned and set up with its valve gear in the Science Museum in Kensington.

In 1973 the locomotive was rescued from Barry scrapyard by the 71000 Preservation Society. The Society later became the 71000 Duke Of Gloucester Steam Locomotive Trust. A 13 year rebuild followed, during which all the known design defects were put right. The ‘Swindon’ double chimney was replaced with a Kylchap exhaust, and a new ashpan was constructed which admitted more air to the firebox.

In 1986 the ‘Duke’ steamed again working first on the preserved Great Central Railway and later on the BR main line. A major overhaul was completed in 2004 when the opportunity was taken to ‘tune up’ the locomotive’s valve gear and effect a number of other improvements. The result is that today, the ‘Duke’ is the most powerful steam locomotive to work in Great Britain.

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