TORNADO MAKES 100MPH HISTORY
2008 ‘Pacific’ fulfils long-held aim to run at high speed in secret test.
Reaching 100mph is the “culmination” of the project to build Tornado, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s Mark Allatt has told Steam Railway. The new-build Peppercorn ‘Pacific’ officially became the first British steam engine to achieve the symbolic figure since 1967, during a night-time trial in the early hours of April 12. The speed was reached on the return leg of a trip from Doncaster to Newcastle and back. Tornado undertook the unannounced trial run as part of progress towards the A1 Trust’s long-held ambition to haul passenger trains at 90mph, rather than the current 75mph limit. It is hoped that this will be achieved this year, making the 4-6-2 the first steam locomotive allowed to run regularly at 90mph on the main line. Previously, only ‘A4’ Bittern has had permission to run that quickly - but only for a trio of special trips in 2013 (SR417). For the trial run, Tornado was rigged up with electronic measuring gear, including accelerometers and a Doppler radar ‘speed gun’. At the time 100mph was reached, the locomotive was hauling two Mk 1 and seven Mk 2 coaches; a Class 67 that had been on the rear for the northbound run had been detached at Newcastle before the return trip. The process of gaining acceptance of a higher maximum speed for Tornado is being undertaken by the A1 Trust, in conjunction with No. 60163’s operating company DB Cargo, and in partnership with Network Rail. Assistance was also received from Ricardo Rail, Resonate Ltd, DATS, Electromotive, Cass Heywood and Riviera Trains, the trust has said. Official timer for the trial run was Steam Railway’s performance correspondent Mike Hedderly; the magazine’s Editor Nick Brodrick was also on board. Trust Operations Director Graeme Bunker 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.’’ Former chairman and long-term trustee Mark Allatt said: “This is the culmination of the project that we launched in 1990.” “We said we were going to build a Peppercorn Class ‘A1’, we said we were going to run her on the main line and on preserved lines, and we said we were going to run her at express passenger speeds and that was 90 - and we’ve done it. And, in fact, we’ve gone a little bit faster than that!”
Primed for speed: Tornado powers north at Thirsk with what would become the first 100mph steam run in Britain since the end of Southern steam in 1967.