A1 Steam Lo­co­mo­tive Trust Op­er­a­tions Di­rec­tor Graeme Bunker had laid down a de­tailed plan for the speeds Tor­nado was in­tended to achieve on dif­fer­ent sec­tions of its run. As far as York, speed was to be built up grad­u­ally to 83mph, to warm up the lo­co­mo­tive; the run was achieved inside ‘even time’ to York, de­spite a slow fin­ish. The out­ward run for­ward to Tyne Yard was to in­clude an emer­gency stop from 90mph at Long­lands Junc­tion, but this was switched when it be­came known that a 50mph tem­po­rary speed re­stric­tion had been im­posed on all trains at Thirsk, where track re‑lay­ing was tak­ing place. The de­ci­sion was taken for the emer­gency brak­ing to start at the warn­ing board for this re­stric­tion. The re­sult was brak­ing from 84½mph to zero in un­der a minute, to stop at Green Lane Jcn just south of Thirsk. An­other ‘even time’ run was achieved, with the 21.90 miles be­ing cov­ered in 20 mins 42 secs to the stop. The civil en­gi­neer had im­posed four 75mph lim­its in each di­rec­tion, specif­i­cally for No. 60163. The first was at Northaller­ton, the next was on the Tees Viaduct. There was an­other 75mph limit at Dar­ling­ton, but Driver Hanczar at­tacked the en­su­ing rise through Ay­cliffe to Brad­bury (at gra­di­ents of 1‑in‑200/203, in­ter­spersed with level sec­tions) in the 80s and, on the favourable gra­di­ent down to the Wear Val­ley, achieved 91mph. On the re­turn run, the aim was to achieve the full 100mph; special dis­pen­sa­tion had been ar­ranged to up­grade the lo­co­mo­tive’s speed limit. With an os­ten­si­bly clear road ahead, Con­trol al­lowed de­par­ture 7½ mins early. To pass Durham in 15 mins 15 secs, de­spite the 75mph re­stric­tion over Plawsworth Viaduct and achieve ‘even time’ by Hett Mill is un­heard of with steam. The min­i­mum on the 1‑in‑150 climb to Turs­dale Jcn from the Wear Viaduct was a cred­itable 81½mph. Then, full ad­van­tage was taken of the de­scent past Brad­bury, with a max­i­mum of 97mph be­fore brak­ing for the per­ma­nent re­stric­tion to 85mph on the curves be­low Ay­cliffe. A brisk re­cov­ery was made from Dar­ling­ton, but the 75mph re­stric­tion over the Wear Viaduct hin­dered high speed, and no sooner had No. 60163 reached 83½mph be­fore Danby Wiske than speed had to be re­duced for Northaller­ton. With a 50mph re­stric­tion at Thirsk to come, we were run­ning out of op­tions for the hoped‑for ‘ton’, but once past the North Rid­ing’s County Town, our crew opened up to max­i­mum ef­fect and speed soon be­gan to rise quickly on the very slight down gra­di­ents from Ses­say (1‑in‑739) and Pil­moor (1‑in‑741). At Raskelf, the gra­di­ent changes from 1‑in‑845 to 1‑in‑666, and this is nearly al­ways the fastest point for south­bound steam. It was enough for No. 60163 to achieve the magic ‘ton’ and to main­tain it for a mile on the level through Alne. Tor­nado was be­ing worked ex­tremely hard to achieve this, with up to 45% cut‑off. At Ben­ing­brough Cross­ing, speed was still 95½mph. The re­main­der of the run to York was heav­ily checked, due to sin­gle‑ line work­ing be­ing in ef­fect in the Skelton Junc­tion area, and there was a sig­nal stop op­po­site the Siemens de­pot be­fore we drew to a stand with the lo­co­mo­tive at the north end of Plat­form 11 (80.06 miles from New­cas­tle) ex­actly on time. The con­tin­u­a­tion of the run to Don­caster (not tab­u­lated) was nat­u­rally some­thing of an anti‑ cli­max. It was de­cided to carry out a fur­ther emer­gency stop from a higher speed and this was per­formed at 88mph on the Selby diver­sion ‘new line’. Don­caster was reached in 38 mins 33 secs af­ter a heavy sig­nal check out­side.


The A1SLT’s Mark Al­latt re­acts to the build-up of speed... (the BBC is pro­duc­ing a pro­gramme of such scenes on the 100mph run).

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