The original Peppercorn A1 series was ordered by the LNER, but the 49 locomotives were built at Doncaster and Darlington for British Railways (BR) in 1948/1949, after the nationalisation of the railways in the United Kingdom. Following the modernisation and dieselisation plans of the 1950s, the A1 Peppercorn class was eventually scrapped at a comparatively very young age of just 14 years.
Other famous East Coast Mainline steam locomotives have been preserved, for example several Gresley LNER Class A4 and one LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman but all 49 of the LNER Peppercorn Class A1 steam locomotives were scrapped. The last remaining example was 60145 St Mungo, which survived until September 1966. Therefore, building of Tornado fills a major gap in the preservation scene for former East Coast main line steam locomotives.
The A1s were designed to cope with the heaviest regular East Coast trains of the post-war period. These frequently loaded to 15 coaches or 550 tons. The locomotives were capable of maintaining 60-70 miles per hour (95-110 km/h) on level track with such trains. Thus, Tornado will be able to haul lighter (10-11 coach trains) at higher speeds, to fit in with modern-day faster main line traffic patterns.
 Project milestones
Tornado side view
Tornado nameplate1990 – A1 Steam Locomotive Trust formally launched, 11 November
1994 – Tornado’s first and last components ceremonially presented (a bogie swivel pin and a regulator nut)
1994 – Construction starts (frame plates rolled at Scunthorpe), 22 April
1995 – RAF officers present the Tornado nameplates at Tyseley at the frame laying ceremony, January
1995 – First wheel cast
1996 – Tornado’s 3 cylinder castings unveiled at Tysley, 25 May
1997 – Tornado frame displayed at the Great Hall at the National Railway Museum, March.
1997 – Tornado unveiled at Hopetown.
1999 – Smokebox door complete, Tornado’s symbolic ‘face’
2000 – Tornado over 50% complete (Summer)
2000 – Wheelset added (Autumn)
2004 – The book value of Tornado components reaches 1 million pounds.
2004 – first synchronous smooth wheel motion, 25 August
2007 – boiler/firebox assembly fitted to frame, June
2008 – First static steaming, January
2008 – Tender completed, February
2008 – Moves under own steam for first time, July
2008 – Moved to the Great Central Railway for 60mph test running
 L.D. Porta
Right hand valve gearOn hearing of the project, in October 1991 the prominent Argentinian locomotive engineer, the late L.D.Porta, contacted the trust, hailing the project as the start of a "renaissance of steam technology". In 1992 he submitted a proposal to the trust, A proposal for the Tornado project. In it he proposed to the trust several design improvements that could be made to Tornado that, while preserving the outer form, would make Tornado a second-generation steam locomotive.
Since the trust was not creating a replica A1, but the next A1, the proposals were duly considered. However, the trust decided it could only adopt some of the proposals, and improved Tornado remains strictly a first-generation locomotive. The trust felt there were too many risks in adopting all of the untried proposals, and in Porta’s own words, it would have taken 20,000 test miles to iron out his improvements, something the Trust probably could not finance. The expense of testing the heavily modified preserved Duke of Gloucester was also cited as a factor.
As such, despite not realising Porta’s dream of producing an efficient viable ‘second-generation’ locomotive, capable of challenging the ‘oil-dependent’ modern-day economy, the Tornado eventually proved its detractors wrong by proving that a main line steam locomotive could still be built in Britain.
Ironically, in 2003 it had been decided to make Tornado oil-fired, for cost and operational reasons, following earlier dual-fueled coal/oil-fired proposals in 1998 when boiler design commenced. This was later abandoned in favour of the original design of coal firing, due to the cost increase by the massive increase in global fuel prices, and to save the certification costs of this design difference.
Tender body, 2007Rough engineering dimensions for Tornado were obtained from measuring Blue Peter at the NRM. Due to there being no general arrangement drawing of an A1, one from an A2 was used.
Many of the drawings originally used at Doncaster Works for the A1 Peppercorn class had been preserved at the National Railway Museum, and a team of volunteers spent 3 days collating these in the Autumn of 1991. The original linen copies had to be scanned into CAD, as the microfilm NRM copies were not suitable for manufacturing purposes, and direct dyeline copies could not be made. About 95 per cent of the original drawings were found, with 1,100 scanned by 1993, and a further 140 in 2001. A few poor quality originals required re-drawing.
Updated specifications were required to be drawn up to account for out of date material specifications, and drawing notes whose original meaing could not be determined. Other design details were also obtained through interviews with Arthur Peppercorn’s former assistant, J.F. Harrison.
 Changes from original
The design was modified where necessary to better suit modern manufacturing techniques, and to fit in with the modern high speed railway, while retaining the greater part of the original design.
Cab electricsThe following design changes were made for cost or operational reasons:
All welded boiler (i.e. not rivetted)
Steel firebox (not copper)
One piece frames
Improved front bogie
Improved steam circuit
Altered tender coal/water balance (more water)
Overall weight reduction
Additionally, to meet with current safety and operation standards, Tornado includes:
Up-rated electrical supplies
Primary air (not steam) brakes
Vacuum brakes (for heritage railway stock)
1 inch reduction in overall height (for OLE regulations)
Automatic Warning System (AWS),
Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS).
data recorder and radio
With advances in manufacturing, as opposed to the original A1, which had two piece frames riveted together, Tornado’s 48 foot 6 inch long steel plates were electronically cut from one piece of steel. As such, these are probably the most accurate steam locomotive frames ever produced.
Cartazzi axleDespite their higher costs, roller bearings were used owing to the reliability they had demonstrated after a trial of some of the original A1’s. This caused an unforeseen problem in 2003 since the modifications made to the tender in the original fitting of roller bearings as an experiment to some A1s had not been properly drawn for the Cartazzi axle of the trailing wheels.
The tender was redesigned internally, removing the water scoop, increasing the water capacity from 5,000 to 6,000 gallons, and reducing coal capacity from 9 to 7.5 tons.
A 1 inch reduction in height from the original 13 foot 1 inch height was required by the Network Rail Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) regulations, and was achieved by a redesign of the dome and safety valve mountings on the boiler, and by reprofiling of the cab roof and chimney.
In 1991, a preference for a ‘Doncaster pattern’ riveted tender was expressed, as per the Doncaster built A1s. The redundant tender of the Flying Scotsman was acquired, although later returned unused, allowing Tornado to remain a completely originally manufactured locomotive.
By 2002 it was agreed a flush sided (all welded) boiler and tender was appropriate for a Darlington built A1, and making construction and maintenance easier. In 2003 the need for a second tender for Tornado was discounted. The tender features spoked wheels as per at least three historical LNER Peppercorn A1s.
Dampflokwerk Meiningen locomotive works, 2005Consideration of the boiler began in late 1998. No standard gauge boiler had been built in Britain since the 1960s, at least not for such a large engine. It was required to be based on the original LNER Diagram 118 design, but meet modern safety standards. The trust was unable to locate a British supplier with design competency as well as manufacturing capacity. This was required by the trust due to the number of design changes to the boiler. This included the cost-saving measures of a welded rather than a rivetted firebox and boiler tube, and use of steel rather than copper for the firebox, and the height reduction for OLE regulations.
In early 2002, the Deutsche Bahn ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn owned Meiningen locomotive works in the former East Germany was identified as a supplier, Dampflokwerk Meiningen (Steam Locomotive Works Meiningen). They possessed the required knowledge as mainline steam operation had continued in East Germany until the mid-1980s, and 70% of its work still involved steam, and they still possessed the powerful plate roller machines. Due to funding, the trust was not in a position to place the order until January 2005.
On 16 July 2006 the boiler arrived by sea, unloaded at Darlington with a 200 ton crane, having taken just nine months to build.
In contrast to the original LNER Doncaster and Darlington works which were ultimately self-sufficient, with no comparable remaining locomotive workshops in the UK, the building ofTornado has required the use of a large number of sub-contractors in varying locations, requiring multiple suppliers to build components such as the cylinders.
In Spring 1992 it was announced the trust intended to build Tornado in Britain, and not as had been suggested, overseas, possibly in Poland, although it would be possible that some parts would need to be built overseas.
Tornado in the siding outside Hopetown Carriage WorksThe majority of assembly of Tornado has taken place at the A1 Trust’s Darlington Locomotive Works, in the Hopetown Carriage Works, Darlington, which is a stone’s throw from Darlington Works.
An initial agreement with Doncaster council for a construction site broke down, so it was decided to begin construction at Tyseley Locomotive Works, with the frames ceremonially laid there on 5 January 1995.
The motion components cost £150,000, £50,000 to forge (taking three years to complete) and £100,000 to machine. The first mainline steam locomotive wheelset manufacture in Britain since 1960 took 5 years, involved 9 suppliers and cost £100,000 even with generous sponsorship.
 1995 – 2000
Actual manufacture and construction had started in 1994, before the Hopetown works opened, with casting of the cylinders (late 1994) and wheels, cutting of the frames and construction of the cab. The locomotive frames were assembled at Tyseley Locomotive Works, Birmingham completed by October 1996.
In March 1997, Tornado, as a now completed frame and inside cylinder, was displayed at the Great Hall at the NRM for several weeks, transported from Tyseley by an EWS freight wagon. It returned to Tyseley to await completion of the Hopetown works.
The elements of Tornado were brought together with the opening of Hopetown in 1997, and the opening ceremony saw the unveiled locomotive now consisted of the frame with its 3 cylinders and cab attached.
Spring 1998 saw the smokebox construction started and the tyres fitted, and by 1999 forging of the motion components started, with the first delivery of components commencing in January 2000.
 2000 – 2005
Tornado in 2002, awaiting a boilerBy September 1999 the last wheel had been pressed onto the wheelset which was delivered to Hopetown by July 2000. By January 2000 the front bogie had been assembled. With the fitment of these parts, the mounting of the frame onto the wheelset and fitting of the smokebox, by the end of 2000, the most visible missing parts of Tornado were the boiler and tender.
Post millennium, assembly and setting of the motion proceeded, and attention turned to the design of the boiler, and a £250,000 appeal was launched for this major component.
Tornado became a rolling chassis by October 2002, and achieving the first synchronous motion of the motion and all wheels in August 2004.
2005 also saw construction of the boiler in Germany, with construction begun on 16 Oct , and completed in time for delivery on 16 July 2006. By June 2007 Tornado’s internal construction was sufficiently complete to allow fitting of the boiler to the frame, using a 100 ton crane. The most complex casting, the superheater header, was started in 2007, and after defeating two foundries the complex shape was cast by a third supplier.
Due to space constraints at Hopewell, the Tornado tender frames and body were built off site, with the body being significantly built locally in Darlington. The tender wheelsets were assembled by an East Lancs Railway based company. The tender frame and wheel set were united by December 2007, and the tank attached to it by February 2008.
"No. 2195 Darlington 2008"As a new build locomotive, certification is more complex than for a restoration, and requires liaison with Railtrack, HMRI and a Vehicle Acceptance Body (VAB), with the origin of all construction materials needing to be documented and every aspect of the manufacture recorded. Following manufacture, a technical file and Notified Body certificate will be obtained on completion of a manufacturing and maintenance procedures review.
Tornado is required to pass the 2006 European Railway Interoperability and Safety Directive, achieved through compliance with the National Notified Technical Rules (formerly the Railway Group Standards. As such, certification of Tornado is being managed by the trust’s notified body, Delta Rail. Tornado is exempted from portions of the regulations, as with many main line steam locomotives, such as from the need for a yellow warning panel, or crumple zones.
In liaison with Network Rail, a route acceptance strategy will be agreed. Approval for Tornado to enter service will be granted by the ORR. This will be in two stages, approval under the ‘Railway and Other Transport Systems regulations, for use on the GCR and other preserved lines, and then as an ‘interoperable’ locomotive for use on the British main line network.
Tornado running on the test siding at Hopetown, 8 August 2008A computer simulation was used to assist in the setting up of the valves and motion. The safety valves were tested on LNER Class A4 Union of South Africa at the Severn Valley Railway before their delivery to Meiningen for fitting to the boiler.
On 10 July 2006 the boiler passed a hydraulic test at the manufacturer at 1.5 times working pressure and duly passed safe. On 11 January 2008 the boiler passed its steam test first time, up to 260psi, and was noted by the inspector to be a very rapid boiler, boding well for use on the main line.
Slow speed trials of Tornado as a steaming locomotive first occurred in a specially laid siding at Hopetown. This happened on 30 July 2008, and official movement took place on the 2 August and 3 August 2008.
From Hopetown, Tornado has been moved by road to the 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) Great Central Railway for several months of commissioning, high speed testing and passenger work for winter 2008. Tornado will then be weighed at Derby, and then will be trialled and certified for running on the main line based out of the NRM at York. It is also due to go to York NRM for painting.
Tornado will be then moved to the Great Central Railway again.
Testing will occur with a lipped chimney, although on receipt of the first full livery, Tornado will be fitted with an authentic rimless chimney.
On August 1st, 2008, Tornado moved under steam for the very first time. Met by eager crowds and news media, Tornado moved back and forth along the track at Darlington Locomotive Works with Dorothy Mather, (widow of the original designer of the A1 class Arthur Peppercorn) on the footplate, thus officially starting the A1’s steam trials.
Tornado in steam at Hopetown, 8 August 2005Main line service is expected to begin by the end of 2008. In 2004 approval was sought for 90mph running, which would make Tornado the fastest present day (2008) steam locomotive in Britain. This approach is required to run at speeds comparable to contemporary rail traffic involving full certification of Tornado.
After leaving the GCR, it is intended that Tornado will not be transported by road, therefore it will only see service on the main line, or on heritage lines with a main line connection. An exception will be transport back to Darlington for major overhaul, after 5 years service.
Tornado will be tested in a grey undercoat until final testing is complete, as a precaution against the need to remove the boiler cladding. The first full livery will be LNER-style express passenger apple green, with ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ mark on the tender. Over the life of its first ten year boiler certificate, it is expected that Tornado will also wear BR Blue, BR Brunswick Green (pre-1957) and Brunswick Green post-1957.
A project volunteer prepares Tornado for operationThe trust has used Deeds of Covenant since the start of the project in 1990, marketed under the slogan ‘build a main line loco for the price of a pint of beer a week!'. Covenantors can wear a special A1 Trust tie. Covenantors pay a fixed amount monthly by standing order, and for this they receive honour roll recognition, event and viewing priority, regular trust publications and the right to attend the annual conventions.
In September 1996 the concept of dedicated covenants was launched. Now renamed dedicated donations, these were one off payments of £25 to £25,000 to sponsor a particular part. As with regular covenantors, dedicated donors receive recognition, and an engineering drawing of the component they sponsored.
In October 1999 a £250,000 appeal was launched to fund the boiler, whose absence was now noticeable with Tornado now comprising a wheeled frame with completed cab and smokebox. As Tornado began to look like a locomotive with the mating of the frame with the wheelset in the Autumn of 2000, fundraising progress increased breaking previous records recruiting 100 new covenantors in 2 months. By 2005, the trust had raised over £1.5m.
Completion of the boiler was achieved through a half million pound bond issue. Following securing the boiler funding, the last major part, the tender, was achieved with a £200,000 single sponsor donation.
As of May 2008, £2.5m had been raised and spent, and the gap to the required £3m had been raised to complete Tornado, however, due to the Chinese economic boom causing raw material cost increases, and increased certification costs, a further £50,000 appeal was required to be launched if the main line running was to be achieved by September.
A1 Trust headboard. "51 A" was the code for Darlington Locomotive shedIn 1994 the A1 trust gained its first major sponsor, a major steel company. In 1997, GNER the then operator on the East Coast mainline, became a sponsor, and decorated Darlington station for the event, as well as offering free travel for trust workers. The trust gained Rolls-Royce as a sponsor in Spring 1998. The trust’s principal sponsor is a metal casting company, which initially cast the driving wheels on "very advantageous terms", and later assisted with all the wheels and almost all other steel castings.
William Cook cast products sponsored the tender.
Significant savings were made through industrial sponsorship; by 1998 this was keeping costs at 40% of normal. Some components, such as the smokebox door, were even obtained free of charge.
Cost savings of third of the original were possible in some manufacturing cases where the building of one locomotive allowed for cheaper construction methods such as using one-off polystyrene cast patterns. Several other events and fund-raising drives have assisted in funding the project, including a Land’s End to John O’Groats bike ride.