A repairs update on steam locomotive No.60163 Tornado – 16th July 2018

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

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has released an update on the repair work being carried out to A1 steam locomotive No.60163 Tornado taking place at the Nene Valley Railway. The repair work is because of the locomotives failure on The Ebor Flyer in April 2018.

Union Link repair

Unfortunately, there will be an extra delay to Tornado’s return to steam due to the hot weather and also the trust needing to replace one of the outside union links due to the trust identifying a tiny flaw on its surface.

This defect affects the hardened surface of the union link, rather than the core. This, however, needs replacing before Tornado can return to the mainline. The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has said that this replacement isn’t thought to be associated to the locomotives failure in April and does not prohibit the locomotive to operate at 25mph on a heritage railway.

They anticipate that the new union link will be completed in early August and then the this will be fitted to the locomotive, which will take 2 – 3 days. The trust are grateful to Robert Stephenson of Stephenson Engineering Ltd of Atherton for the fast turnaround in the manufacture of the new union link. The process requires new forging and then machining and case hardening to complete the process.

The trust has completed the next stage of the reassembly of the locomotive by confirming that the work undertaken so far is to the correct specification with the trust’s certification body and operator, DB Cargo.

The next inspection will be in next seven days, this is where the reassembly of the locomotive can be completed ready for operations. Most likely, further inspections will take place within test running and as part of the mainline loaded test runs.

Steam Bans

The ongoing hot weather is continuing to cause concern for running in Tornado at 25mph. There is currently a steam ban on the Nene Valley Railway where the locomotive is set to be run in. There is also a steam ban on the National Rail network. A diesel locomotive is currently required to provide the traction power. This is prohibiting the trust to run a test run on the network. In some places, such as the West Coast Mainline, no steam locomotive at all can run under any conditions. The trust is monitoring this and will run a test run as soon as possible.

Railtours hauled by Tornado

Due to the delays that the trust has run in to, the trust has had to cancel the planned circular tours from Darlington on Sunday 29th July. They are also postponing ‘The Mad Hatter’ railtour which will now run in Spring 2019.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust have also spoken to the railtour operating customers. They have recommended that they find a replacement locomotive for trains in Mid August due to the issues above. It is hoped by the trust that the locomotive will be ready for this, but the continued hot weather means that the trust isn’t confident that they will be able to complete the necessary running in and mainline test runs in time for these trains.

The following changes are in place:

  • Darlington Circulars on the Sunday 29th July 2018 – Cancelled
  • ‘The Mad Hatter’ on the Wednesday 1st August – Postponed to Spring 2019
  • ‘Settle and Carlisle Golden Express 1’ on the Saturday 11th August – Hauled by another locomotive
  • ‘Settle and Carlisle Golden Express 2’ on the Wednesday 15th August – Hauled by another locomotive
  • The Bard of Avon’ on the Saturday 18th August – Hauled by another locomotive

The above changes are all subject to restrictions of the weather by Network Rail. Passengers will be contacted by the appropriate railtour promoter when more information is available.

It is hoped that Tornado will return to the mainline on the 27th August 2018 with ‘The Canterbury Tale’. Which will run from Peterborough to Canterbury and return.

What did they say?

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust said:

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust apologises for the disappointment that this will cause to all passengers who have booked on these trains and our supporters – we hope that there will be something of interest in the remainder of our 2018 and our yet-to-be-published 2019 programme of railtours and heritage railway visits.

We would like to thank our supporters, friends and colleagues in the industry for their support and assistance as we return Tornado to operations.


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