From the foot­plate: the A1 Trust’s Graeme Bunker

Steam Railway (UK) - - News -

“The build-up to the run on April 11 had in­volved a lot of work and money. Af­ter all the com­mit­tees, pa­per­work and other sim­i­larly crit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, the time was upon us to test Tor­nado. The sup­port of DB Cargo UK and Net­work Rail had been es­sen­tial. “From the foot­plate it was a rare plea­sure to have a light load, and Tor­nado set off from New­cas­tle in fine style, and was well on top of the job. Be­yond Durham, speed was al­lowed to rise and the lo­co­mo­tive climbed to 90mph in confident fash­ion. In gen­eral, there wasn’t much dif­fer­ence to 75mph, although there was a lit­tle more dust and the de­mands from the boiler were be­yond a nor­mal run. What was no­tice­able is how quickly key land­marks passed by and the miles flew un­der the lo­co­mo­tive’s wheels. “Af­ter not quite hit­ting 100mph be­fore Ay­cliffe, speed checks near Thirsk for a TSR (50mph) and a bridge (75mph), the lo­co­mo­tive was opened out. Gra­di­ents were help­ful, if not es­pe­cially so, and Tor­nado was soon pass­ing 90mph. But to get to 100mph on nom­i­nally level track takes a supreme ef­fort. The en­deav­our by Fireman Dave Proc­tor was un­re­lent­ing. It was a con­stant de­mand at the limit of one man. The lo­co­mo­tive rode well, but at 100mph things aren’t as smooth as at 90mph. The non-stop ef­fort to get the re­sult from every­one on the foot­plate makes you won­der what Driver Dud­ding­ton and Fireman Bray faced in 1938. “On ar­rival at York, to many con­grat­u­la­tions, it was an hon­our to stand with the rest of the foot­plate crew who had done the ‘hard yards’ with such pro­fes­sion­al­ism and de­liv­ered an his­toric out­come. Un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Trac­tion In­spec­tor Jim Smith, Steve Hanczar and Dave Proc­tor had per­formed su­perbly. “We now have a lot of data to crunch, and then a round of more sub­mis­sions and reviews. Even then, we are one big step closer to pas­sen­ger op­er­a­tions above 75mph.”

Graeme Bunker, Dave Proc­tor, Steve Hanczar and Jim Smith.

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