60163 Tornado is a new main line steam locomotive built in Darlington, England. It is the first such locomotive to be built in the United Kingdom since Evening Star became the final steam locomotive built by British Rail in 1960. Built to the LNER Peppercorn Class A1 design, but also to meet modern safety and certification standards, Tornado will be able to run on the UK rail network passenger main lines around the country, as well as on mainline-connected heritage railways.
The original 49 Peppercorn A1 locomotives built in Doncaster and Darlington for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) were all scrapped by 1966 after a comparatively youthful 15 years average age. None of the class survived into preservation, and as such Tornado fills a gap in the classes of restored steam locomotives that used to operate on the East Coast Main Line. Being a new build as opposed to a restoration, Tornado is numbered the next in class sequence as No. 60163, the 50th of the class, following on from No. 60162 Saint Johnstoun, the last Peppercorn A1 built, in 1949. Tornado incorporates many changes from the original class, reflecting the different manufacturing methods now used, and incorporating some improvements that would likely have been made to the relatively young class.
Tornado was built by the Locomotive Construction Co Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. The A1 Trust is a charitable trust founded in 1990, for the purposes of building Tornado, and possibly further locomotives. The name Tornado was chosen in honour of the RAF Tornado crews that were flying at the time in the Gulf War. The choice of name was given to a £50,000 sponsor of the project.
Tornado moved under its own power for the first time in July 2008, and was moved by road to the Great Central Railway tourist railway on 19 August 2008, where it will haul low speed passenger trains, and be tested up to running. Following certification for the main line and another move by road, Tornado is due to operate main line charter trains for the beginning of the 2009 railtour season, where it will recoup the estimated £800,000 debt remaining from the project, which cost around £3 million. With a shorter rake of 11 coaches compared to the original A1's usage, it is expected that Tornado will achieve contemporary mainline operating speeds. Theoretically capable of , Tornado will be limited to a top speed of . Once on the main line, Tornado is not expected to leave it again until its 10 year fire-tube boiler re-certification is due.
The original Peppercorn A1 series was ordered by the LNER, but the 49 locomotives were built at Doncaster and Darlington for British Railways (BR) in 1948/1949, after the nationalisation of the railways in the United Kingdom. Following the modernisation and dieselisation plans of the 1950s, the A1 Peppercorn class was eventually scrapped at a comparatively very young age of just 14 years.
Other famous East Coast Mainline steam locomotives have been preserved, for example several Gresley LNER Class A4 and one LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman but all 49 of the LNER Peppercorn Class A1 steam locomotives were scrapped. The last remaining example was 60145 St Mungo, which survived until September 1966. Therefore, building of Tornado fills a major gap in the preservation scene for former East Coast main line steam locomotives.
The A1s were designed to cope with the heaviest regular East Coast trains of the post-war period. These frequently loaded to 15 coaches or 550 tons. The locomotives were capable of maintaining 60-70 miles per hour (95-110 km/h) on level track with such trains. Thus, Tornado will be able to haul lighter (10-11 coach trains) at higher speeds, to fit in with modern-day faster main line traffic patterns.
On hearing of the project, in October 1991 the prominent Argentinian locomotive engineer, the late L.D.Porta, contacted the trust, hailing the project as the start of a \"renaissance of steam technology\". In 1992 he submitted a proposal to the trust, A proposal for the Tornado project. In it he proposed to the trust several design improvements that could be made to Tornado that, while preserving the outer form, would make Tornado a second-generation steam locomotive.
Since the trust was not creating a replica A1, but the next A1, the proposals were duly considered. However, the trust decided it could only adopt some of the proposals, and improved Tornado remains strictly a first-generation locomotive. The trust felt there were too many risks in adopting all of the untried proposals, and in Porta's own words, it would have taken 20,000 test miles to iron out his improvements, something the Trust probably could not finance. The expense of testing the heavily modified preserved Duke of Gloucester was also cited as a factor.
As such, despite not realising Porta's dream of producing an efficient viable 'second-generation' locomotive, capable of challenging the 'oil-dependent' modern-day economy, the Tornado eventually proved its detractors wrong by proving that a main line steam locomotive could still be built in Britain.
Ironically, in 2003 it had been decided to make Tornado oil-fired, for cost and operational reasons, following earlier dual-fueled coal/oil-fired proposals in 1998 when boiler design commenced. This was later abandoned in favour of the original design of coal firing, due to the cost increase by the massive increase in global fuel prices, and to save the certification costs of this design difference.
Rough engineering dimensions for Tornado were obtained from measuring Blue Peter at the National Railway Museum (NRM). Due to there being no general arrangement drawing of an A1, one from an A2 was used.
Many of the drawings originally used at Doncaster Works for the A1 Peppercorn class had been preserved at the NRM, and a team of volunteers spent 3 days collating these in the Autumn of 1991. The original linen copies had to be scanned into CAD, as the microfilm NRM copies were not suitable for manufacturing purposes, and direct dyeline copies could not be made. About 95 per cent of the original drawings were found, with 1,100 scanned by 1993, and a further 140 in 2001. A few poor quality originals required re-drawing.
Updated specifications were required to be drawn up to account for out of date material specifications, and drawing notes whose original meaing could not be determined. Other design details were also obtained through interviews with Arthur Peppercorn's former assistant, J.F. Harrison.
The following design changes were made for cost or operational reasons:
Additionally, to meet with current safety and operation standards, Tornado includes:
With advances in manufacturing, as opposed to the original A1, which had two piece frames riveted together, Tornado's 48 foot 6 inch long steel plates were electronically cut from one piece of steel. As such, these are probably the most accurate steam locomotive frames ever produced.
Despite their higher costs, roller bearings were used owing to the reliability they had demonstrated after a trial of some of the original A1's. This caused an unforeseen problem in 2003 since the modifications made to the tender in the original fitting of roller bearings as an experiment to some A1s had not been properly drawn for the Cartazzi axle of the trailing wheels.
The tender was redesigned internally, removing the water scoop, increasing the water capacity from 5,000 to 6,000 gallons, and reducing coal capacity from 9 to 7.5 tons.
A 1 inch reduction in height from the original 13 foot 1 inch height was required by the Network Rail Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) regulations, and was achieved by a redesign of the dome and safety valve mountings on the boiler, and by reprofiling of the cab roof and chimney.
By 2002 it was agreed a flush sided (all welded) boiler and tender was appropriate for a Darlington built A1, and making construction and maintenance easier. In 2003 the need for a second tender for Tornado was discounted. The tender features spoked wheels as per at least three historical LNER Peppercorn A1s.
Consideration of the boiler began in late 1998. No standard gauge boiler had been built in Britain since the 1960s, at least not for such a large engine. It was required to be based on the original LNER Diagram 118 design, but meet modern safety standards. The trust was unable to locate a British supplier with design competency as well as manufacturing capacity. This was required by the trust due to the number of design changes to the boiler. This included the cost-saving measures of a welded rather than a rivetted firebox and boiler tube, and use of steel rather than copper for the firebox, and the height reduction for OLE regulations.
In early 2002, the Deutsche Bahn ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn owned Meiningen locomotive works in the former East Germany was identified as a supplier, Dampflokwerk Meiningen (Steam Locomotive Works Meiningen). They possessed the required knowledge as mainline steam operation had continued in East Germany until the mid-1980s, and 70% of its work still involved steam, and they still possessed the powerful plate roller machines. Due to funding, the trust was not in a position to place the order until January 2005.
On 16 July 2006 the boiler arrived by sea, unloaded at Darlington with a 200 ton crane, having taken just nine months to build.
In Spring 1992 it was announced the trust intended to build Tornado in Britain, and not as had been suggested, overseas, possibly in Poland, although it would be possible that some parts would need to be built overseas.
The majority of assembly of Tornado has taken place at the A1 Trust's Darlington Locomotive Works, in the Hopetown Carriage Works, Darlington, which is a stone's throw from Darlington Works.
An initial agreement with Doncaster council for a construction site broke down, so it was decided to begin construction at Tyseley Locomotive Works, with the frames ceremonially laid there on 5 January 1995.
The motion components cost £150,000, £50,000 to forge (taking three years to complete) and £100,000 to machine. The first mainline steam locomotive wheelset manufacture in Britain since 1960 took 5 years, involved 9 suppliers and cost £100,000 even with generous sponsorship.
In March 1997, Tornado, as a now completed frame and inside cylinder, was displayed at the Great Hall at the NRM for several weeks, transported from Tyseley by an EWS freight wagon. It returned to Tyseley to await completion of the Hopetown works.
The elements of Tornado were brought together with the opening of Hopetown in 1997, and the opening ceremony saw the unveiled locomotive now consisted of the frame with its 3 cylinders and cab attached.
Spring 1998 saw the smokebox construction started and the tyres fitted, and by 1999 forging of the motion components started, with the first delivery of components commencing in January 2000.
By September 1999 the last wheel had been pressed onto the wheelset which was delivered to Hopetown by July 2000. By January 2000 the front bogie had been assembled. With the fitment of these parts, the mounting of the frame onto the wheelset and fitting of the smokebox, by the end of 2000, the most visible missing parts of Tornado were the boiler and tender.
Post millennium, assembly and setting of the motion proceeded, and attention turned to the design of the boiler, and a £250,000 appeal was launched for this major component.
Tornado became a rolling chassis by October 2002, and achieving the first synchronous motion of the motion and all wheels in August 2004.
Due to space constraints at Hopewell, the Tornado tender frames and body were built off site, with the body being significantly built locally in Darlington. The tender wheelsets were assembled by an East Lancs Railway based company. The tender frame and wheel set were united by December 2007, and the tank attached to it by February 2008.
As a new build locomotive, certification is more complex than for a restoration, and requires liaison with Railtrack, HMRI and a Vehicle Acceptance Body (VAB), with the origin of all construction materials needing to be documented and every aspect of the manufacture recorded. Following manufacture, a technical file and Notified Body certificate will be obtained on completion of a manufacturing and maintenance procedures review.
Tornado is required to pass the 2006 European Railway Interoperability and Safety Directive, achieved through compliance with the National Notified Technical Rules (formerly the Railway Group Standards. As such, certification of Tornado is being managed by the trust's notified body, Delta Rail. Tornado is exempted from portions of the regulations, as with many main line steam locomotives, such as from the need for a yellow warning panel, or crumple zones.
In liaison with Network Rail, a route acceptance strategy will be agreed. Approval for Tornado to enter service will be granted by the ORR. This will be in two stages, approval under the 'Railway and Other Transport Systems regulations, for use on the GCR and other preserved lines, and then as an 'interoperable' locomotive for use on the British main line network.
A computer simulation was used to assist in the setting up of the valves and motion. The safety valves were tested on LNER Class A4 Union of South Africa at the Severn Valley Railway before their delivery to Meiningen for fitting to the boiler.
On 10 July 2006 the boiler passed a hydraulic test at the manufacturer at 1.5 times working pressure and duly passed safe. On 11 January 2008 the boiler passed its steam test first time, up to 260psi, and was noted by the inspector to be a very rapid boiler, boding well for use on the main line.
Slow speed trials of Tornado as a steaming locomotive first occurred in a specially laid siding at Hopetown. This happened on 30 July 2008, and official movement took place on the 2 August and 3 August 2008.
From Hopetown, Tornado has been moved by road to the Great Central Railway for several months of commissioning, high speed testing and passenger work for winter 2008. Tornado will then be weighed at Derby, and then will be trialled and certified for running on the main line based out of the NRM at York. It is also due to go to York NRM for painting.
Tornado will be then moved to the Great Central Railway again.
Testing will occur with a lipped chimney, although on receipt of the first full livery, Tornado will be fitted with an authentic rimless chimney.
Main line service is expected to begin by the end of 2008. In 2004 approval was sought for 90mph running, which would make Tornado the fastest present day (2008) steam locomotive in Britain. This approach is required to run at speeds comparable to contemporary rail traffic involving full certification of Tornado.
After leaving the GCR, it is intended that Tornado will not be transported by road, therefore it will only see service on the main line, or on heritage lines with a main line connection. An exception will be transport back to Darlington for major overhaul, after 5 years service.
The trust has used Deeds of Covenant since the start of the project in 1990, marketed under the slogan 'build a main line loco for the price of a pint of beer a week!'. Covenantors can wear a special A1 Trust tie. Covenantors pay a fixed amount monthly by standing order, and for this they receive honour roll recognition, event and viewing priority, regular trust publications and the right to attend the annual conventions.
In September 1996 the concept of dedicated covenants was launched. Now renamed dedicated donations, these were one off payments of £25 to £25,000 to sponsor a particular part. As with regular covenantors, dedicated donors receive recognition, and an engineering drawing of the component they sponsored.
In October 1999 a £250,000 appeal was launched to fund the boiler, whose absence was now noticeable with Tornado now comprising a wheeled frame with completed cab and smokebox. As Tornado began to look like a locomotive with the mating of the frame with the wheelset in the Autumn of 2000, fundraising progress increased breaking previous records recruiting 100 new covenantors in 2 months. By 2005, the trust had raised over £1.5m.
Completion of the boiler was achieved through a half million pound bond issue. Following securing the boiler funding, the last major part, the tender, was achieved with a £200,000 single sponsor donation.
As of May 2008, £2.5m had been raised and spent, and the gap to the required £3m had been raised to complete Tornado, however, due to the Chinese economic boom causing raw material cost increases, and increased certification costs, a further £50,000 appeal was required to be launched if the main line running was to be achieved by September.
In 1994 the A1 trust gained its first major sponsor, a major steel company. In 1997, GNER the then operator on the East Coast mainline, became a sponsor, and decorated Darlington station for the event, as well as offering free travel for trust workers. The trust gained Rolls-Royce as a sponsor in Spring 1998. The trust's principal sponsor is a metal casting company, which initially cast the driving wheels on \\\\\\\\\\"very advantageous terms\\\\\\\\\\", and later assisted with all the wheels and almost all other steel castings.
William Cook cast products sponsored the tender.
Significant savings were made through industrial sponsorship; by 1998 this was keeping costs at 40% of normal. Some components, such as the smokebox door, were even obtained free of charge.