Tornado’s boiler safety valve

Components and boiler

A computer simulation was used to assist in the setting up of the valves and motion. The boiler safety valves were tested on LNER Class A4 60009 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 was hydraulically tested at the manufacturer at 1.5 times working pressure and was passed safe. On 11 January 2008 the boiler passed its first steam test, in tests carried out by an external boiler inspector. The boiler was noted by the inspector to be a very rapid boiler, boding well for use on the main line. As also noted by the inspector, in contrast to heritage restorations, being brand new, Tornado's boiler exhibited no leaks of any kind during the test.

For the test, the locomotive fire was lit and allowed to warm up over 48 hours and was then taken up to a pressure of 260psi, just over the maximum working pressure. During the test, the boiler safety valves were set to the correct pressure.

At the time of the test, the Tender body was not yet finished, the test was being conducted using a water bowser. The boiler was creating steam so efficiently, that the water supply was being used faster than it could be replaced by the mains water supply to the works. In order to complete the test and not prematurely damp down the fire, an emergency call for water was made to the local fire brigade, who responded with a fire engine to supply more water. This was sensationally but inaccurately reported in one local newspaper as "fire brigade called to prevent boiler explosion".

Launch of steam trials

Low speed trials of Tornado as a steaming locomotive first occurred on the 500-foot (150 m) long Darlington works track. After a series of private tests in the days beforehand, in which Tornado made her first in-steam moves on 29 July, Tornado was launched on 1 August 2008, moving up and down the test siding in front of the press.

Tornado at the GCR, 22 August 2008

The August 1 launch was timely, as it coincided with the 40th anniversary of the end of steam on British Railways, on 4 August 1968, and with the 60th anniversary of the entry into traffic of No. 60114 W.P. Allen, the first Peppercorn A1 class locomotive.

Great Central Railway

From Darlington works, Tornado was moved by road on two semi-trailer trucks to the 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) preserved Great Central Railway, where she would perform mileage accumulation and testing, before hauling her first passenger trains.

After being transported to the GCR on 19 August 2008, Tornado was unloaded at Quorn and Woodhouse station the following day, and towed to the GCR Loughborough shed.

Tornado performed her first non-stop mile run at the GCR on August 21, and hauled her first empty trains on 22 August. For the GCR Thomas the Tank Engine themed bank holiday weekend (23-25 August), Tornado wore a small Thomas face for light runs during the days.

It was anticipated that Tornado would need around 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of running to bed in, before moving to the main line proper. Following HM Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) approval, 60 mph (97 km/h) running was achieved by the end of September 2008. Prior to mid-October 2008, Tornado had achieved 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of fault free running. By the end of October, Tornado had run 1,500 miles (2,400 km).

While at the GCR, Tornado hauled empty passenger trains at speeds up to 60 mph (97 km/h), and load test trains of up to around 500 tons. One load test in September involved the hauling of a rake of 11 empty coaches and a dead Class 45 diesel locomotive. Also in one load test, over 2,000edhp (Effective Drawbar Horsepower) was recorded. On 10 September Tornado was officially timed for the first time, hauling 518 tons up the 1 in 176 gradient south from Rothley railway station.

Unveiled in the National Railway Museum in British Railways Apple Green livery, 13 December 2008

According to the preserved railway's president, Tornado achieved a "smooth debut" while at the GCR. Tornado was also described to have performed in the testing and passenger runs "effortlessly" and "faultlessly".

National Railway Museum

On 21 October 2008, Tornado arrived at the National Rail Museum in York, and was first put on display in the Great Hall for a few days, where she was given pride of place on the NRM turntable for the annual railway industry dinner on 23 October 2008. Tornado then remained operationally based at the NRM behind the scenes for final preparations and testing on the main line, reaching speeds of up to 75 mph (121 km/h), before an expected main line debut in February 2009. The acceptance testing based out of York would be conducted by EWS.

Three test runs on the main line were planned, for the 4, 6 and 18 November 2008, involving out and back journeys departing from York in the evenings. The first would be to Scarborough. Two further runs would occur to Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, and to Newcastle.

The Scarborough run would be run would be a round trip of 84 miles (135 km) with a support coach only. The Barrow Hill run would see Tornado haul a 500 ton load, consisting of a rake of 12 coaches and a Class 67 diesel locomotive, at up to 60 mph (97 km/h), on a 142-mile (229 km) round trip. The Newcastle run would be a 176-mile (283 km) round trip at up to 75 mph (121 km/h), with a rake of empty coaches.

The first test run ran successfully on 4 November 2008 with "with no discernible problems". The second test also ran on 6 November. The morning of 19 November 2008 marked the successful completion of the third and final test run.

Tornado and the chassis of Flying Scotsman in the NRM workshops, 24 January 2009

Following the completion of the mainline test tuns, Tornado entered the NRM paintshop to receive her first proper livery, and was unveiled in a launch ceremony on 13 December 2008. After some brief further work behind the scenes, Tornado returned to the NRM turntable on 22 December and was displayed there over the Christmas period until 11 January 2009, whereupon she was moved back into the workshops to undergo preparation for her main line passenger debut.

A further test run was announced, the first in her green livery, with a run for Tornado and support coach from York to Leeds and back, to be run on 28 January 2009, in preparation for the inaugural main line passenger trains. This was duly completed, allowing passenger trains to begin.

While Tornado was based at the NRM, on 21 January 2009 a £250,000 funding appeal, Save Our Scotsman, was launched for completion of the restoration of LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman, a long term resident of the NRM workshops since being taken out of service for overhaul in December 2005. Inevitable comparisons were drawn with the Tornado project, with it being highlighted that as of the end of 2008 the cost to the NRM since 2004 of restoring Flying Scotsman (£2.2m purchasing and £742,000 overhauling) was almost the exact cost of building Tornado from scratch. In particular, as of January 2008, the believed cost of £800,000 for Tornado's brand new boiler from Germany was less than the latest NRM budget of £850,000 for restoring Flying Scotsman's A3 boiler, which had risen from earlier estimates due to the boiler's poor condition and the rising cost of copper.

On The Footplate
Cab controls of Tornado
  1. Brake
  2. Blower valve
  3. Reverser
  4. Reverser indicator
  5. Cylinder drain
  6. Whistle
  7. Regulator
  8. Fireman
  9. Firebox
  10. Water gauge
  11. Injector control valve
  12. Speedometer
  13. Mash pot
  14. AWS 'Sunflower' indicator


As a new build locomotive, certification is more complex than for a restoration, and requires liaison with Network Rail, 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 Interoperability of the conventional rail system Directive, achieved through compliance with the National Notified Technical Rules (formerly the Railway Group Standards). Certification of Tornado is being managed by the trust's UK Notified Body, DeltaRail Group Ltd. Tornado is exempted from portions of the regulations, as are 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 Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). This will be in two stages, approval under the 'Railway and Other Transport Systems regulations, for use on the Great Central Railway (GCR) and other preserved lines, and then as an 'interoperable' locomotive for use on the British main line network.

Tornado alongside a Class 91, her modern day replacement, in Newcastle on her third mainline certification test

Testing of the On-Train Monitoring Recorder (OTMR), Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS), Automatic Warning System (AWS), and air brakes occurred at the GCR. These tests are standard for all steam locomotives requiring certification for the main line. Regulator position and locomotive speed are both recorded by the on-train recording equipment, stored under the driver's seat.

As well as standard tests, as technically a new design of locomotive, Tornado was required to undergo specific extra tests to examine ride quality and track force, to assess the effect the locomotive would have on the main line track. The details of these tests are laid down by the Network Rail Safety Review Panel. It was agreed in advance between the trust and the authorities that these could be done in part at the GCR. Accordingly, on 25 September 2008, the tests were performed by running Tornado through the Kinchley Curve at speeds of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 mph (97 km/h), with a trailing saloon car fitted with monitoring equipment, including a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to measure the precise speed and distance travelled every metre.

Tornado LED cluster lamps in reversing aspect. 'A1' buffer beam mark.

Measurements were taken on-board through 21 sensors attached to the locomotive, measuring pitch and roll, acceleration and deceleration. Measurements were also taken through the use of track side sensors measuring side forces exerted on the track, augmented with freeze frame footage of the position of the wheels as they passed. The results would be compared with control readings taken at the same site using Oliver Cromwell, two weeks later. The preliminary results were described as producing "no untoward signals".

Tornado was granted an Engineering Acceptance (EA) certificate on 31 October by DeltaRail and a Route Acceptance certificate on 3rd November by Network Rail, allowing testing on the main line to begin. Further test would be performed at Network Rail facilities located between York and Darlington, at a testing facility known as a wheelchex. This consists of track fitted with sensors to measure vertical force effects such as hammer blow. Completion of a test run between York and Leeds on 28 January 2009 signalled the gaining of certification to pull passengers on the Network Rail main line.

In January 2009, the railway press reported that a discrepancy had emerged in the 18 November 2008 75 mph (121 km/h) test, whereby the OTMR recording equipment on the Class 67 being towed had recorded a top speed of around 100 mph (160 km/h), while the A1 data recorder measured speeds "nearer the 75 mph (121 km/h)" mark. It was stated that while a 10% overspeed is allowed (and may be required) in such new equipment test runs (A4 Class 4464 Bittern reached 83 mph (134 km/h) in 2007,) Tornado had not been planned or authorised to do so on this test. It was suggested that the discrepancy may been down to the equipment on the Class 67 having had its gearing altered but not received recalibration.