From the footplate: the A1 Trust’s Graeme Bunker
“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.