New steam locomotive Tornado reaches 100mph during successful main line test run

While undertaking test runs in connection with raising its permitted maximum speed, new Peppercorn A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado has reached 100mph during clandestine overnight trials conducted on the East Coast Main Line between Doncaster and Newcastle.

Tornado’s footplate and support crew celebrate the 100mph achievement at York on April 12. ROBIN JONES

Completed in 2008, Tornado is currently limited to 75mph, but it has always been the intention to run the locomotive at speeds up to 90mph to better fit in with other trains on the busy UK rail network.

In connection with testing for future 90mph operations the locomotive was rigged with diagnostic measurement equipment and operated up to 100mph during controlled testing in the early hours of Wednesday, April 12.

In common with other rail vehicles, Tornado had to operate at 10% above its planned maximum speed to demonstrate a sufficient margin of safety. The tests were observed and monitored by various rail industry engineers and certification bodies.

The operations were planned by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (registered charity and builders, owners and operators of No. 60163 Tornado) in partnership with DB Cargo Rail and Network Rail. Valuable assistance and support was also received from Ricardo Rail, Resonate Ltd, DATS, Electromotive, Cass Heywood and Riviera Trains.

Graeme Bunker-James, operations director for The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, said: “We are delighted to have completed the test runs that move us one step closer to 90mph operations with Tornado. This will allow us to ensure that the locomotive continues to haul trains on the busiest parts of the UK network allowing as many people as possible to enjoy travelling with Tornado.

“As part of these tests the locomotive operated at 90mph for a sustained period and also achieved 100mph under these special conditions and running with clear signals. I would like to thank all of our industry partners for their support in making these trials a success.

“We now have to analyse the results from the tests and then complete the necessary certification processes before the first 90mph public operations can be undertaken. We hope to conclude this before the end of 2017.’’

For the 100mph return leg of its test run early on April 12, Tornado carried a Matey headboard in honour of the popular former National Railway Museum head of engineering Ray Towell, who died last year. ROBIN JONES

Tornado’s packed main line diary for 2017 includes:

*Running in public service on the Nene Valley Railway on April 22/23

Saturday, April 29 – ‘The North Briton’ – Leicester to Carlisle – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours

*Monday, May 1 – ‘The Heart of Midlothian’ – Peterborough to Edinburgh – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours

*Saturday, May 6 – ‘The Talisman’ – London King’s Cross to Darlington – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours

*Monday, May 29 – ‘The Cornishman’ – London Paddington – Penzance – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours

*Monday, August 28 – ‘The Easterling’ – London King’s Cross – Great Yarmouth – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours

*Saturday, September 16 – ‘The Border Raider’ – West Midlands – Carlisle – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours

*Saturday, October 7 – ‘The Tees-Tyne Express’ – Midlands – York, Durham and Newcastle – A1SLT promoted tour – bookings through UK Railtours

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.