Tornado tale in words and pictures

Although Tornado, the first new main line steam locomotive in Britain for almost 50 years, has only been in service since January 2009, it has already embedded itself in the national imagination, attracting large crowds and proving to be a major draw for new customers on heritage railways and main-line tours alike.

A new edition of 'The Tornado Story' not only tells the tale of the building of 60163 Tornado but has been fully updated and expanded to include material from the past two years of operations in its 60 pages. It was compiled by Tony Streeter, a railway journalist and former editor of 'Steam Railway' magazine who has been present for most of the milestones covered.

Lavishly illustrated and also including many historic photographs, the book tells a 20-year story of how Tornado was conceived, built to the original Peppercorn design, and subsequently operated.

Arthur Peppercorn was chief mechanical engineer on the London & North Eastern Railway from 1946 to 1949. His A1s were the last in a series of express Pacific-class locomotives for the East Coast Main Line. While other Pacifics survive, all the original A1s were scrapped in the age of diesel.

The new £3m Peppercorn class A1 Pacific steam locomotive was built over almost 20 years by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a registered charity, at its Darlington Locomotive Works in Darlington, County Durham. It is now in regular service hauling excursion trains on the Network Rail main line.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, commented: "The Tornado Story is just that – the story of how Peppercorn class A1 60163 Tornado came into being from idea through to what seems to have become something of a national icon. The essence of the story is written on plaques carried by Tornado - 'this locomotive was built and paid for by people who shared a vision and were determined to turn it into reality'. You just can't get any more British than that!"

Tornado starred in an episode of the BBC's Top Gear programme racing a Jaguar XK120 car and Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle from London to Edinburgh, with presenter Jeremy Clarkson on-board. The first showing of the programme was watched by over seven million people.

 'The Tornado Story' is published by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust and priced at £10, with all profits going towards the upkeep of Tornado. It is available, along with a variety of gifts featuring Tornado ranging from models of the locomotive to DVDs, from the Trust's on-line shop.

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