Famous new 100mph steam locomotive Tornado’s first Santa Steam Specials on the Nene Valley Railway

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity that built, owns and operates world-famous 100mph new steam locomotive No. 60163 Tornado, is delighted to announce that the locomotive will be spending the remainder of 2018 and early 2019 on the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough hauling its Santa Steam Specials, Mince Pie Specials, Winter Steam Specials and conducting some Driver Experience days. 

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Since completion in Darlington in 2008, new Peppercorn class A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado has covered over 100,000 miles and seen service on the Network Rail main line and heritage railways right across Great Britain. Highlights have included three Royal Trains including the naming by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in February 2009; BBC Top Gear ‘Race to the North’ with Jeremy Clarkson on the footplate; ‘The Winton’ train to commemorate the 70th anniversary on the Kinder Transport; the rescuing of stranded commuters in Kent; the re-opening of the Settle to Carlisle Railway; the first steam locomotive in the UK to achieve 100mph for 50 years; featuring in two BBC documentaries, ‘Absolutely Chuffed – the Men Who Built a Steam Engine’ and ‘Tornado the 100mph Steam Engine’, and starring in PADDINGTON 2 the movie.

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Tornado has been based on the Nene Valley Railway undergoing repairs since failing on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ on Saturday 14th April. With the repair work to Tornado now complete, the locomotive has been running in on the Nene Valley Railway whilst awaiting recertification and a main line test run. Delays to the latter have resulting in Tornado being available to haul her first Santa Specials since the locomotive’s completion in 2008. Tornado will be operating Santa Specials on the following dates:

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  • Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November – Yellow Ticket Prices
  • Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th December – Red Ticket Prices
  • Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December – Red Ticket Prices
  • Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd and Christmas Eve Monday 24th December – Red Ticket Prices

Classic Santa (£15.00 for Yellow days and £20.00 for Red days): the children will have visited Santa’s grotto and received their presents before sitting down in a heritage carriage for the exciting Tornado-hauled steam train trip. Drinks and a mince pie will be served to the adults and the children will receive a drink, a cracker and some sweet treats too along with a second opportunity to meet Santa.

First Class (£20.00 for Yellow days and £25.00 for Red days): allocated table seating in the NVR’s historic Belgian carriages and a luxury service with additional refreshments and crackers plus the option of a pre-booked platter served at the table (breakfast for four people at £20.00, festive nibbles selection for 2-3 people at £25.00 or traditional buffet board for four people at £35.00)

Premier First Class Compartments (£200.00 for Yellow days and £240.00 for Red days): an opportunity to experience rail travel from a bygone age in your own private compartment for up to six people. The inclusive price includes a sandwich platter, hot mince pies, hot sausage rolls and pigs in blankets – always a hit with the children! Unlimited hot drinks, two rounds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and fruit juice for the children are also included. 

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The St Nicholas Lounge (£550.00): a premium service for groups of up to 16 people, with room to spread out and relax and its own personal steward. Incorporating all the features of the Premier First Class service, additionally the exclusive well-stocked bar will host a selection of complementary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. To truly celebrate Champagne and cocktails are available for purchase during the trip. 

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All of the Nene Valley Railway’s Santa Trains depart from and return to Wansford station and cannot stop at any stations along the line to collect passengers. For more details or to book online visit or telephone 01780 782833/784444 between 09:30hrs and 15:30hrs. Infants under the age of one-year travel for free and also receive a gift from Santa.

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In addition, Tornado will be hauling the Winter Warmer Mince Pie Specials on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th December with a complementary mince pie for adult passengers and sweets for children. Tornado will also be hauling the Winter Steam services on Sunday 6th and Saturday 12th January 2019. 

Tornado can also be booked for Driver Experience courses on Saturday 5th and Friday 11th January 2019. The starter package includes theory and practical driving of Tornado and is priced at £295 per person and the advanced course is an in-depth experience of over three hours for two participants and is priced at £840.00 – an ideal Christmas present. 

Paul Roe, Locomotive Superintendent, Nene Valley Railway commented:

“The Nene Valley Railway is delighted to be the first heritage railway to operate Tornado working Santa Steam Specials. With Tornado now back in service, the locomotive will be hauling a variety of trains over the festive season and will even feature in our Driver Experience courses in January – an ideal Christmas present for the railway enthusiast in your family!” 

Graeme Bunker-James, Trustee, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented: “We are very grateful for the Nene Valley Railway hosting Tornado since April. We are pleased to be working our first ever Santa Steam Specials on the NVR and look forward to meeting lots of excited boys and girls of all ages as they get to meet Santa and travel behind Britain’s newest main line steam locomotive.

Tornado will be conducting her main line test run from the Nene Valley Railway later in January and will pick up her exciting 2019 programme of main line steam excursions on Saturday 9th February with ‘The North Briton’ from the East Midlands to Carlisle via the Settle & Carlisle Railway.”

The Trust respectfully requests that anyone wanting to see Tornado follows the rules of the railway and only goes where permitted.

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