Tornado blows through region

October 8, 2021

Local railway enthusiasts were delighted to spot the Tornado, a new-build steam locomotive that has found fame on both the large and small screens, as it passed through Wressle, Howden and Gilberdyke last Thursday.

Although it looks like something from a bygone era, the Tornado was only completed 13 years ago, after being built from scratch by a team of dedicated volunteers at a cost of £3million. During the last decade, it has appeared in the Paddington 2 film and in the television series Top Gear. Tornado is also famous for reaching 100 miles per hour in a series of secret night time tests carried out in 2017, when it became the first steam locomotive to reach such high speeds since the 1960s. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a registered charity, built the Peppercorn class A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado at its Darlington Locomotive Works. Fitted with additional water capacity and the latest railway safety electronics, Tornado is fully equipped for today’s mainline railways.

The A1 class was originally designed by Arthur H. Peppercorn for the London & North Eastern Railway, and 49 locomotives were built in 1948 and 1949 by British Railways. However, they had all been scrapped by 1966 as the railways were modernised. After 18 years of construction and fundraising, the Tornado was finally completed in August 2008, making it the first mainline steam locomotive to be built in the UK since 1961. It was officially named by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York Station in February 2009, in honour of the crews who flew RAF Tornado fast jets during the first Gulf War, which was happening around the time that the project to build the new Peppercorn class A1 steam locomotive was first launched. Tornado now hauls special services along the mainline, and was travelling to Hull for the first time when it passed through the local area last week. It was operating a service called The Ribbleshead Rambler, which departed from Hull and took passengers on a day trip to Carlisle, passing through the dramatic scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.

Photo credit: Photograph courtesy of Chris Longman showing the Tornado at Wressle Station. (07-10-414 SU)

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