Now, It's a Blue Tornado

Published 29th November

Ditcot - The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s new-build A1 No. 60163 Tornado has been unveiled

A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (A1ST) supporters gathered at Didcot Railway Centre on November 25 for the re-launch of A1 No. 60163 Tornado in its newly applied early British Railways express passenger blue livery. The shade selected has been matched with that applied to A1s by Doncaster in 1949.

Fourth livery variation for Tornado

Following its initial debut in ‘works grey’, the first proper livery carried by Tornado was apple green with ‘British Railways’ on the tender. This was changed to BR green in early 2011 when the locomotive returned to service following remedial attention to the boiler in Germany. The later BR crest was applied to the tender sides, replacing the earlier emblem, when the tender received attention at the Mid-Hants Railway in January-February this year.

The change to express passenger blue (with early BR crest on the tender) was undertaken at Southall (a brushed application carried out by Ian and Dan Matthews, the same team who applied the previous liveries to the A1) during Tornado’s October-November winter maintenance, which would in any event have included repainting.

The A1 Trust has long-promised Tornado would carry all four of the livery variations of the original Peppercorn A1s during its first period of operation. Application of BR blue following the previous three incarnations fulfils that assurance.

This latest livery will remain for only a limited period, probably around 18 months. “The Tornado ‘brand’ is very much as an apple green locomotive and this will remain her ‘core’ livery,” commented A1 Trust chairman, Mark Allatt.

Main line run then unveiling at Didcot

Following completion of the new blue paint scheme, Tornado worked ‘The Cathedrals Express’ from London Paddington to Hereford, Ludlow, Shrewsbury and back to London on November 24. The A1 moved to Didcot early on the Sunday morning, arriving in a lot less than pristine condition as a result of the poor weather encountered during its main line trip!

Tornado’s Whirlwind Cleaning Team

A team of cleaners got to work and had the A1 shining again by around 10.30 on the Sunday morning, just half an hour later than originally planned. Tornado drew out of Didcot’s shed (unfortunately under a sky steadily clouding over – in contrast to the bright sun of 20 minutes earlier!) and Mark Allatt made a short speech to the loco’s supporters and covenentors. It then steamed through the Didcot site to be displayed and admired on the turntable for a few hours.

They said:

Mark Allatt, chairman, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented:

“We are delighted to be unveiling Tornado in her new, striking blue livery. We have long promised that Tornado will carry all four historic liveries during her first period of operation.

Tornado will therefore carry Express Passenger Blue with the BR Crest on the tender for at least the remainder of 2013 and throughout the 2014 season before reverting to her ‘core’ livery of Apple Green.”

The Trust is grateful to Didcot Railway Centre for hosting the event, Devon & Cornwall Railways for moving Tornado from her Southall base and Craftmaster Paints for their continued sponsorship of Tornado’s liveries.


Funds to build Tornado have been raised through deeds of covenant, sponsorship (principal sponsor William Cook Cast Products Limited), loans and a bond issue. The Trust is still seeking to raise funds to repay the outstanding £500,000 borrowed to complete her construction and provide a support coach. For details of how to help or where to travel behind Tornado, email

2013 Tornado Tours

The A1ST is promoting several charter trains using their engine next year, and their website carries all the details.

External Links


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