Heritage Railway

WILL THIS BE THE HERITAGE ERA’S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

It is nearly 30 years since The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust (A1SLT) was launched, at the Railway Institute in York on November 17, 1990.

It had the stated ‘Mission Impossible’ aim of building a new Peppercorn class A1 Pacific, one of the greatest of the ‘ones that got away’ from the embryonic heritage sector’s fleet. The last survivor of the original class built by BR in 1948/49, No. 60145 Saint Mungo, was the subject of a failed preservation attempt which left the final development of East Coast Main Line’s famous steam locomotive classes unrepresented in preservation.

It is also 12 years since No. 60163 Tornado was completed, at a cost of £3 million, and over three years since it touched 101mph in an early-morning run on the East Coast Main Line, making it the first steam locomotive to hit double figures in half a century.

Tornado quickly became one of the undoubted pinnacles of the movement, a 21st-century equivalent in stature to Flying Scotsman in the 20th century, and likewise a locomotive which continues to attract crowds wherever it goes.

Many lessons were learned during the 18-year ground-breaking project to complete Tornado, during which the A1SLT established many benchmarks, not only for new-build projects in general, but in the crucial field of fundraising.

The trust was established around several core principles, which remain as important today as they were three decades ago.

There would be absolute focus on the mission statement against which all actions would be judged, and the organisation would use the best business practices by people experienced in the appropriate areas.

“The trust has stolen a march over Gresley by using the latest computer design and modelling techniques to enable the locomotive to deliver the true potential of the revolutionary design...”

Due to the requirements of certification and the nature of the work, most of the construction would be undertaken by the engineering industry and contractors. A primary goal was the establishment of the trust’s own facility for construction, overhaul and administrative functions, at Darlington Locomotive Works (DLW).

From the outset, it was decided that there would be no

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