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LNER Peppercorn Class A1 60163 Tornado

As steam locomotives were withdrawn from the railways of the UK, steps were taken to spare many of them from the cutter's torch. Notable examples of LNER express locomotive designs entered preservation. Several A4 Pacifics were rescued including the world famous Mallard, an A3 (Flying Scotsman), an A2 (Blue Peter) plus the V2, Green Arrow.

An LNER design completed under Arthur Peppercorn's stewardship, the new A1 Class was built to operate high speed express passenger trains on the East Coast Main Line hauling upwards of 500 tons. The locomotives entered service from August 1948 during the transition to the nationalised British Railways. Despite hopes that the last remaining engine, 60145, Saint Mungo would survive, all members of the 49 strong A1 Class were scrapped by 1966; displaced by dieselisation after an average of just 15 years service.

The absence of a preserved representative of the Class led to the formation in 1990 of the charitable A1 Steam Locomotive Trust; with the pioneering goal of constructing a brand new and evolved example of the Peppercorn A1 from scratch. After tireless efforts garnering support and overcoming the various conceivable difficulties in preparing to build a steam locomotive in the UK for the first time since 1960; construction began in 1994.

The Trust sought to build a locomotive that was as close as possible to the original, while meeting regulatory standards for running on the national network and also taking advantage of modern technological developements. Rather than a replica, it would be considered the next locomotive in the Peppercorn A1 series and given the next number in sequence, 60163. The name Tornado was recommended by Allen Levy, a board member for New Cavendish Books which was a significant early sponsor. The name honours the pilots who flew combat aircraft of that name in the first Gulf War and provides an appropriate implication of power and speed.

Since making her debut on the Great Central Railway in 2008, Tornado has delighted enthusiasts around the country, operating specials on main lines and visiting other preserved railways. A great success story attesting to the tenacity of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and the generosity of it's supporters.



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