Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE

The Tornado Story - From Dream to Steam

01 November 2010

This illustrated talk covers the epic story of how a conversation in a pub turned into a generation long struggle to build a steam locomotive from scratch, by asking members of the public to donate ‘the price of a pint’ !

Covering the creation of the Trust in 1990 and a brief history of the class of locomotive built. 
Tornado starred in an episode of ‘Top Gear’, first shown in 2009 and watched by over seven million people, racing a 1949 vintage Jaguar XK120 car and Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle from London to Edinburgh, with presenter Jeremy Clarkson on the footplate. The new £3m Peppercorn class A1 pacific steam locomotive was built over almost 20 years by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a registered charity, at its Darlington Locomotive Works.

The talk will take the audience back to the National Railway Museum where the story of her construction started with the discovery of the surviving drawings of the Peppercorn class A1’s right up to the present day.

The construction will be illustrated using original engineering drawings and the new components. Accompanying these illustrations will be a description of the engineering behind the creation of the parts comparing the resources to hand today with those for the original engines. Our base in Darlington where the locomotive has been assembled will be shown as well as details from the testing of the locomotive on the Great Central Railway at Loughborough in 2008 and the subsequent mainline fast test runs.

Presented by David Elliott, Director of Engineering, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.


Railway Division - Heritage Lecture

: David Elliot, Director of Engineering, A1 Trust

Duration: 1hr 30mins