by Jack Boskett

Last call for main line fireworks up the Lickey on November 8

Published: 4th November 2014

Tornado back at Darlington alongside the P2 Frames

Vintage Trains has just a few seats left for their ‘Pannier Ramble’ this Saturday November 8. This is an unusual Railtour using the pair of Tyseley based GWR Pannier Tank locomotives Nos. 9600 and 7752.

This is not a high speed run but as the train’s name suggest, a Winter steam ramble that ends with fireworks on the fearsome 1 in 37 Lickey incline which climbs from Bromsgrove into the outskirts of Birmingham. The train leaves Tyseley Warwick Road with a Pannier Tank at each end of the train.

The train initially goes to Stratford-upon-Avon via the North Warwick line and after a short layover for servicing, travels to and through the heart of Birmingham via the Snow Hill tunnels. It carries on past the Severn Valley Railway at Kidderminster and on to Worcester Shrub Hill for a break of a couple of hours.

From Worcester, the ‘Rambler’ returns to Birmingham via Bromsgrove and onto the punishing Lickey incline and subject to operational conditions on the day, onwards to Birmingham New Street.

Train times

The train departs Tyseley Warwick Road at 0920hrs and takes 70 minutes to reach Stratford-upon-Avon at 10:30. After the engines are watered, they depart at 11:10hrs and arrive at Worcester Shrub Hill just before 3pm. Its an after dark departure at 530pm and two hours later, Birmingham New Street should be reached and back at Tyseley at 8pm.

Tornado returns to her Darlington birthplace

The UK’s newest standard gauge steam locomotive, No. 60163 Tornado built by the A1 Steam Trust (A1ST), has returned to its birthplace at Darlington. The engine, minus its boiler, has been placed adjacent to the A1ST’s latest project, the construction of another LNER locomotive, a 2-8-2 ‘P2’. 60163’s boiler has returned to Germany where it was built for an intermediate overhaul where it was also repaired a few years ago.

This is Tornado’s first time back at the Darlington Works since the engine was steamed in August 2008. The engine will remain there until May 2015 being worked on after covering 80,000 miles over the past six years.

The initial dismantling of the engine was carried out at Barrow Hill Roundhouse after the annual A1ST’s convention on 4th October 2014. The boiler was lifted from the frames and is now at the DB Meiningen Locomotive Works in Germany.

First meeting

In addition to being the first time that Tornado has returned to Darlington Locomotive Works for the intermediate overhaul, this has led to another ‘first’ as an ‘A1’ and a ‘P2’ would never have met as the P2s were converted before the A1s were built.

The P2s were rebuilt from a 2-8-2 to 4-6-2 wheel arrangement class ‘A2’ in 1944, four years before the first Peppercorn class A1 was completed. The new version of the ‘P2’ will carry the number 2007 and called Prince of Wales and is being built at Darlington. Completion is scheduled for 2021.

Tornado’s intermediate overhaul will consist of a full internal boiler inspection with all the tubes removed. The firebox foundation ring corners will be renewed and a significant number of stays will be replaced and the renovated boiler is expected back in Darlington in January.

The rest of the engine will receive mechanical attention including re-setting of hornblock/axlebox clearance which requires all wheels to be removed and a check for any cracks using non-destructive testing plus a thorough inspection of all bolted/riveted joints. The engine will be re-assembled in by March 2015 and the tender will also be cleaned, inspected and repaired if required.

When steam tests are completed, the engine will be outshopped in LNER Apple Green previously carried five years ago. There will be some events in Darlington where visitors can see both engines side by side. Tornado is scheduled to be back in service by May 2015.

The Darlington Locomotive Works is open to the public from 11:00hrs to 16:00hrs on the third Saturday each month.

Tornado, Prince of Wales but no Mayflower for the A1ST

The A1ST had announced a few months ago that they would be operating LNER ‘B1’ No. 61306 Mayflower on behalf of its new owner David Buck. This proposal has been reversed as the engine has been taken under the West Coast Railways (WCR) operational fleet on behalf of the owner.

There are only two main line steam operators and WCR operate vacuum and air braked trains while DB Schenker (DBs) only operate air braked trains. So what was the problem? The engine is vacuum braked only and as the A1ST work with DBs the potential for tem operating the engine was as some might say, slim to nil!

The engine will be based at the North Norfolk Railway which has a main line connection at Sheringham. It will also no doubt visit Southall as its London base to operate charter trains in the south.

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