TOR­NADO MAKES 100MPH HIS­TORY

2008 ‘Pacific’ ful­fils long-held aim to run at high speed in se­cret test.

Steam Railway (UK) - - News - STEAM RAIL­WAY SPECIAL RE­PORT

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!”

ROBIN COOMBES

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.

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