New-build Tornado clocks up 100mph as part of tests to safeguard steam locomotive paths on a congested network.
‘A1’ 4-6-2 steam locomotive 60163 Tornado set a preservation speed record for a British steam locomotive on April 12, between Raskelf and Alne (between Thirsk and York) on the East Coast Main Line.
The test run, which was kept secret from the public, was the latest stage in the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s ambitions to run the 2008-built ‘Pacific’ on charter trains at speeds of up to 90mph. To ensure its safety at this speed, a minimum 10% overspeed test was necessary.
The tests were observed and monitored by the locomotive’s operator DB Cargo and Network Rail on the test run to Doncaster. To record the locomotive’s speed accurately, diagnostic and measuring equipment was fitted.
Currently, most heritage steam locomotives are limited to a maximum speed of 75mph on the Network Rail network, although some (usually with smaller driving wheels) are restricted to 60mph or less. However, growing congestion on the rail network means it is becoming more challenging for planners to find suitable paths for steam charters without disrupting service trains.
A1SLT Operations Director Graeme Bunker-James said: “We
Primed for its historic moment. During the secret test trip, 60163 Tornado waits to leave Newcastle in the early hours of April 12. The A1 would achieve 100mph running.