Fifty years later, steam appears on British railway
No. 60163 Tornado completes trial run
A Peppercorn class A1 Pacific traveled from York to Scarborough on Tuesday evening, becoming the first new steam train to run on Britain's railway since 1960.
The steam locomotive - No. 60163 Tornado - departed the National Railway Museum in York at 6:04pm, arrived at York station by 6:18, and reached the coast at 8:12, The Telegraph reports. At 10:15pm, it left Scarborough, returning to its home at the museum just before midnight.
Built by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, Tornado is the first Peppercorn class A1 steam locomotive in existence since the last original A1 - No. 60145 Saint Mungow - was euthanized in 1966. The trust hopes to get the train into main line passenger service next year.
With Tuesday's trial run - a "light engine movement" - the train pulled two support coaches and nine engineers. Maximum speed: 50mph.
The Tornado will be based at the National Railway Museum (NRM) until at least February. Over the next few months, it will undergo additional main line tests, before being certified to run on Network Rail.
The next trial is scheduled for Thursday, when the train will travel to Barrow Hill, Chesterfield and return. ®
Of couse the LMS did try turbine power with the Turbomotive 6202 and it worked quite well. It's a pity the concept wasn't developed further.
The reason they built a new A1 was that no Peppercorn A1s were preserved. Nothing to do with any great need for steam engines or any technical experiments. Basically because they wanted to. There was no actual need for a steam engine to run on main lines, there are more than enough existing engines certified to run on main lines to fulfil the required role of pulling specials. I for one would rather be pulled by a genuine historic engine than a recreation.
There are those who would argue that the reason no Peppercorn A1s were preserved is that they weren't actually very good.
If somebody really wanted to build an old fashioned engine brought up to modern standards then the logical starting point was the 9F class alluded to in the article, those last engined built in 1960. Capable of hauling the heaviest freight trains and still pulling an express at 90mph. That was arguably the epitome of British mainline steam design. However they wouldn't want to do that because there are still some 9F's around.
Of course if you wanted to build a modern steam engine you would probably be looking at a steam turbine driving an alternator. Which is of course pretty much what we have with electric trains, it's just that the steam turbine is miles away from the train.
I for one,
welcome our new steam-powered overlords.