Dorset

Tornado steam locomotive on Swanage Railway

  • 16 June 2010
  • From the section Dorset

The first new main line steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost 50 years has hauled a train from London to Dorset.

Peppercorn A1 class No. 60163 Tornado, with 12 carriages, left Victoria station at 0845 BST and arrived in Swanage at 1335 BST.

The Purbeck Tornado excursion will run on the restored Swanage Railway before returning to London at 1640 BST.

The Tornado engine cost £3m to build and first took to the rails in 2008.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust spent 18 years fundraising and building the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) locomotive.

On its return journey, the Purbeck Tornado will call at Corfe Castle, Wareham, Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton, Romsey, Andover, Basingstoke Farnborough and Woking, before arriving at London Waterloo at 2213 BST.

Martin Payne, Swanage Railway commercial manager, said: "The story of Tornado fundraising and construction has been one that has gone from dream to steam and we're very proud to be having the locomotive bringing a main line excursion train from London down to Swanage

"How Tornado came to be built is an epic tale of how a conversation in a pub turned into a generation-long struggle to build a new steam locomotive from scratch - by asking members of the public to donate 'the price of a pint'."

He said Tornado starred in an episode of the BBC programme Top Gear in 2009 when it raced a 1949 vintage Jaguar XK120 car and a Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle from London to Edinburgh, with presenter Jeremy Clarkson on the footplate of Tornado.

"Tornado has had a hectic first year of main line operations stretching right across the country and we are delighted to be welcoming her to the Swanage Railway when she brings some 500 people to Swanage," Mr Payne said.

The A1 class steam locomotives were designed by Arthur H. Peppercorn for the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and 49 were built during 1948 and 1949 by British Railways.

However, following the introduction of diesel engines on the railways, they were all scrapped by 1966.

The Purbeck Tornado has been organised by UK Railtours.

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