Going like the wind: ‘A1’ Tornado tops 100MPH on ECML


‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado has set a new record for a preserved steam locomotive, reaching 100mph during a covert overnight test run on the East Coast Main Line.

Partly shrouded in steam, A1 No. 60163 Tornado gets its 415-ton load underway, passing Thirsk after a planned emergency brake test just south of the station. STUART BROWN

Tornado is believed to be the first loco to reach that speed in the UK since ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35003
Royal Mail was recorded more than 100mph in June 1967 on consecutive nights between Basingstoke and Woking with a load of three coaches and two vans.

Back in 2013, ‘A4’ No. 4464 Bittern was authorised to run at 90mph, even though it only managed 92½mph on test run on May 29, 2013, not the 99mph required.

Later, the loco did touch 93mph on an ECML excursion.

It was well known that ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado was being prepared to make a high-speed test run in order to be certified to run some steam specials at up to 90mph, but very few people knew where and when.

Planning for the test run had been taking place for months involving discussions with Network Rail as to a suitable place and time, and also with DB Cargo, which would be crewing Tornado, as well as Ricardo Rail, which was the certification body overseeing the tests.

Read more in the May issue of The RM – on sale now!


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