After eight years working trains to most parts of the country, 101mph A1 4-6-2 No. 60163 Tornado finally notched up a ‘first’ on May 29 when the 4-6-2 crossed the Royal Albert Bridge and entered Cornwall.
Heading UK Railtours’ ‘Cornishman’, the A1 had departed Paddington with 420 tons on, travelling via Reading, the Berks & Hants line and Taunton and put up an excellent performance first arriving at Reading a minute early in just under even time. Sustained running in the mid-70s and topping Whiteball at 47mph saw the train pass Cowley Bridge Junction 10 minutes to the good.
A slow run through Exeter to the water stop resulted in time being lost and Tornado was held for an HST to overtake at Newton Abbot. After passing Aller Juction from a standing start at 44mph, the train entered Dainton tunnel at 20mph and the A1 continued to flatten the banks through Devon and Cornwall with one more coach than would normally be permitted for a single-header.
Having crossed the Tamar, Tornado arrived at the terminus at Penzance 38 minutes late to a hero’s welcome.
The ‘Cornishman’s’ return was diesel-hauled – it was hoped to have D1015 Western Champion – but as is well known the Western is currently stopped awaiting a new second Maybach engine.
In the event, the A1 ran light to Bodmin Parkway and was the centrepiece of a hugely-successful five day visit to the Bodmin & Wenford Railway.
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