Tornado looks north with new workshop
The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced that it is seeking a new main line base in the Darlington area, from which it aims to operate more of its own steam charters in the north. By the middle of the century, the trust expects to be operating a fleet of five LNER locomotives (see New-build News), so the trust is considering potential sites for the new HQ, where it aims to build suitable construction and maintenance facilities. No timescale has been set, as the talks are in their early stages, but it is possible that the new workshops could be up and running before 2021 - the projected completion date for new ‘P2’ No. 2007 Prince of Wales. With a main line connection and turntable, the new site will also include a carriage shed for the trust’s planned new train of Mk 3 coaches (SR459). Until 2016, the trust promoted relatively few railtours of its own, and despite Tornado’s strong roots in the North East, most of the locomotive’s work has been in the south of the country most recently on the ‘Belmond British Pullman’ contract. But, says Chairman Mark Allatt: “This year, we’ll have run nine of our own trains, with UK Railtours acting as the ticket agent - we’re taking the commercial risk. “That’s been an enormous step change, and we want to run more in the north. “We did have a programme planned for the Settle & Carlisle, but that had to be pushed back into next year because of the landslip.” ❚❚For more on the new Darlington base, see Down Main (pages 80-81).