Steam locomotive Tornado reaches 100mph during test run

The Tornado steam locomotive. Credit: Alan Weaver.
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Peppercorn class A1 steam train Tornado has reached 100mph during a test run on the East Coast Main Line.

The locomotive was undertaking tests between Doncaster and Newcastle in view of raising its permitted maximum speed.

It is currently limited to 75mph but the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a registered charity that operates the train, wants to increase the maximum speed to 90mph to bring it in line with other trains on the network.

The tests were organised in partnership with DB Cargo Rail and Network Rail and took place in the early hours of April 12 with rail industry engineers and certification bodies monitoring the trial.

During testing the locomotive was fitted with diagnostic measurement equipment and, as is customary for safety reasons, it had to operate at 10 per cent above its planned maximum speed.

Operations director of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Graeme Bunker-James said: “We are delighted to have completed the test runs that move us one step closer to 90mph operations with Tornado.

“This will allow us to ensure that the locomotive continues to haul trains on the busiest parts of the UK network allowing as many people as possible to enjoy travelling with Tornado.

“As part of these tests the locomotive operated at 90mph for a sustained period and also achieved 100mph under these special conditions and running with clear signals.

“I would like to thank all of our industry partners for their support in making these trials a success.

“We now have to analyse the results from the tests and then complete the necessary certification processes before the first 90mph public operations can be undertaken. We hope to conclude this before the end of 2017.”

The project to build the Tornado, which is named after the RAF aircraft, was completed in August 2008 following £3 million investment and 18 years of construction.