A further update on steam locomotive No. 60163 ‘Tornado’

Tornado passes No. 8572 at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway
Credit: RailAdvent

Following on from Tornado’s failure on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ at Sandy last Saturday, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust have issued another update as to what went wrong.

Immediately after the failure, the locomotive was hauled to Peterborough by GB RailFreight Class 66 No. 66744 ‘Crossrail’, the locomotive was removed from the train at Peterborough and was immediately transferred to the Nene Valley Railway. The tour was continued on its journey by diesel with the RAIB notified and ORR aware of the incident.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust would like to apologise to anyone whose journey was disrupted on Saturday, be that on ‘The Ebor Flyer’ or on service trains affected.

On Sunday 15th April 2018, a thorough pit inspection and strip down of the immediately affected components was undertaken in the presence of one of DB Cargo’s appointed independent steam locomotive examiners.

What the trust know so far is that the front valve on the middle valve spindle seized in the valve liner. This caused a significant amount of stress to the combination lever, which in turn failed. This caused the loss of the lower part of it and allowed it and the union link to fail, causing the lower part of the drop link to separate from the crosshead.

The trust is almost certain this is due to a lubrication failure in that area, although the exact cause of this failure is not yet known but investigations continue.

The trust is also examining all components and reviewing all the relevant records and design and installation drawings.

The nature of this failure suggests that even at 75mph, the incident would still have occurred. All damage thereafter is consequential and would readily explain how parts of the inside valve gear became detached.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is now carrying out its own investigations and is working alongside the certification body, their insurers and DB Cargo.

The locomotive is now being dismantled and as well as the visual exams, NDT and other techniques are being used.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has secured the services of First Class Partnerships to provide an overview and independent opinion on both the immediate causes and effect of the failure and the impact it may have on the future of No. 60163 ‘Tornado’ on the mainline.

What repairs need to be taken out?

The locomotive will require the valve liner to be honed or bored. It also needs a new valve head and rings fitted.

A new combination lever, union link and crosshead are also needed.

Other items will require inspection and possible repair. A full list has not yet been produced and agreed.

Jeremy Hosking’s Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust has kindly offered to lend the trust the combination lever and the inside union link from Peppercorn A2 No. 60532 ‘Blue Peter’ as these are the items likely to have the longest lead time to make.

The trust would like to thank them and also the other suppliers and contractors who have contacted us to offer help.

It is too early yet to say a total cost of the repairs, but known parts are going to cost around £20,000.

Tornado is insured, but not all items are covered. The trust will know more in the coming few days. The understanding of the information above is that the trust believe the breakdown was not caused by the 90mph speed that the tour was doing at the time.

The trust has received a lot of messages of support from across the world.

From the last update

We have already reported that the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust have postponed their visit to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley. They have also now announced they have postponed ‘The Ynys Môn Express’ which was due to run on the 28th April 2018.

They will also be rearranging the Tornado Team day that was due to be at the Nene Valley Railway on Saturday 12th May 2018, again, a rescheduled event date will be announced in due course.

The trust is now concentrating their efforts on continuing the investigation and undertaking the necessary repairs to bring Tornado back to doing what she does best..!

If you would like to support The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, then why not become one of their monthly Covenantors and by donating from £10.00 a month towards the upkeep of Tornado, there are around 1,200 who regularly donate towards the maintenance, why not join them?! Click here for more information, please click here, or for a one-off donation, please click here, call 01325 460163 or email [email protected]


  1. The date of Tornado 10 event at Nene Valley Railway was going to be the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend 5 – 7 May and not Saturday 12 May, as incorrectly stated in the article above.

    • Hi Peter,

      Yes you are correct that the Tornado 10 event was to be on the 5-7 May.

      However, the 12th May date, refers to Tornado Team Day, as mentioned in the news release from the A1 SLT



  2. The OBVIOUS solution here and to properly insure against and avoid a repeat occurrence regarding the middle cylinder’s valve spindle seizing:

    FIT GRESLEY CONJUGATED VALVE GEAR. (With apologies to Arthur P.)


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