Read more on the BBC website here as the Tornado powers 12 scheduled services on the Settle-Carlisle line, the first time that scheduled services have been pulled by steam in decades.
In 1990 a group of like-minded people came together in the belief that they could construct from new, a Peppercorn Class A1 Pacific locomotive. The first steam locomotive built in the United Kingdom since 'Evening Star' in 1960 and it would be built to meet modern safety and certification standards to enable it to run on mainline connected heritage railways. After a period of nearly 20 years the dream became a reality on the 29th July 2008 when locomotive No. 60163 'Tornado' moved under its own power at Darlington.
With a 4-6-2 wheel configuration, 'Tornado' is 72' 11 3/4" (22.24m) long, 9' 2 7/8" (2.82m) wide, 13' (3.96m) high, one inch lower than the original A1s in order to meet current Network Rail OLE requirements. The locomotive weights 105.2 long tons and the tender weights 60.9 long tons and is capable of a top speed of 100mph (160km/h) but is at present certificated to 75mph (121km/h). The boiler, based on the original Diagram 118, has a pressure of 250psi, is 6'5" (1.96m) in diameter by 29'2" (8.89m) in length which powers three 19" x 26" (480mm x 660mm) cylinders.
The frames of the original 49 Class A1 Pacifics (built between 1948 - 1949, withdrawn and scrapped by 1966) were cut from two pieces of steel then welded together, however modern manufacturing techniques enable the 48'5" long steel frame of 'Tornado' to be electronically cut from a single piece of steel, creating a very strong and stable frame. During construction some adjustments were also made to the tender, increasing the water capacity from 5,000 to 6,000 gallons and reducing the coal capacity from 9 to 7.5 tons.
In the relatively short period of time in which 'Tornado' has been in operation, the locomotive has built up a large fan base because wherever the locomotive goes huge crowds flock to see this marvel of determination and fortitude.
Since it entered traffic in 2008 'Tornado' has worn various liveries, starting with 'Workshop' grey. After mainline trials it was liveried in LNER Apple Green, applied in the traditional way by hand at the NRM paintshop. In 2010 it was re-liveried into BR Brunswick Green, with different BR logo changes during the following two years. After the 2012 winter overhaul, the livery was completely changed to BR's Express Blue, meaning that 'Tornado' will have carried the same four liveries as all the original A1 Pacific locomotives.
To find out more about the real 'Tornado' project please click here.
The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust Ltd is the owner and operator of the A4 Pacific locomotive 4498 / 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, the post war steam speed record holder.sirnigelgresley.org.uk