Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tornado

Your humble Devil has always loved trains—yes, when very young, I did want to be a train driver—and nothing really beats the smell and the grandeur of the steam engines.

So, as you might imagine, I was bouncing up and down with excitement when I happened to see, at the weekend, the news of the first run of the new Peppercorn Class locomotive, Tornado.
The first steam engine built to run on the UK mainline for almost 50 years has made a successful trial run.

Tornado was funded and assembled by steam enthusiasts in Darlington in an 18-year project costing £3m.

The 72ft (22 metre) engine is based on the Peppercorn A1 locomotive, which British Railways withdrew from service in the 1960s.

The loco made its first public move under its own steam on Friday morning in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Once fully running and certified it will be used to haul charter trains operating on Network Rail.

And now, via the Libertarian Alliance blog, here are a couple of videos of the Tornado in action...





Beautiful: absolutely beautiful. One of these days, I shall ride in a carriage behind that engine. In the meantime, perhaps I should pay another trip to the Bluebell Railway...

17 comments:

Roger Thornhill said...

STRELNIKOV!!!

witchibus said...

I remember this! My dad and I watched a BBC4 documentary about it over Christmas (I think it was a repeat of a broadcast from October). Fascinating stuff about the difficulty of building one of these things from scratch in a country where almost all the skills had been lost. It be compulsory viewing for any charity fundraiser: their main project fundraiser (Mark Allatt, I think) was dedicated, inventive and truly gifted at his job. I'd love to meet him.

Boy on a bike said...

My grandfather drove steam locos for years. He started with the railways in the late 1890's in WA, and worked his way up to driver. All the drivers reported for work in a 3 piece suit and hat, and wore that suit all the time. Dad saw he never saw grandfather without a tie. Apparently those engines gleamed - they were so clean, the driver could wear a suit. It was a different story for the fireman though...

He also carried a rifle with him in the cab, and if the train had to stop for an extended period, he'd do a bit of shooting in the bush.

When he won a seat in the state parliament in the 1920's (he was a founder of the Labor party), he took a pay cut. Driving one of those beauties was one of the peak jobs of the day.

Anonymous said...

i started this comment with reproof in mind over the huge clouds of carcinogens spewing forth, but on watching the vid, well it is an impressive piece of work, and a tribute to fine engineering, and to men with a keen sense of pride and history. but look at the fucking smoke!
in the UK you can't have a 100w bulb, and some MOT guy sticks a sensor up your Yaris. in the current Diktat this Engine's the wrath of God against the "leave-TVs-on-standby-and-bears-die" brigade. it's a good thing. i'm a man who likes planes and motorcycles, but i saw the smoke first, and was indignant. Sorry...it won't happen again. i'm OK now. viva Tornado!

Roger Thornhill said...

Its a steam train, not a smoke train.

Anonymous said...

thanks Roger, i had grasped the fact that steam powers the pistons but the energy to make the steam comes from burning coal, and therefore smoke emerges from the funnel. when diesels came in and steam-trains were scrapped, the incidence of lung cancers dropped. steam engines are beautiful machines, but they became obsolete because they were succeeded by something better. electric trains are the best of all if best = efficient, but by that criterion a casio digital watch is better than a Rolex. the casio is better but at the same time, obviously it isn't.

Anonymous said...

OMG! Carbon footprint... Polar Bears.. Ice Caps.. Penguin.. POLAR BEARS!
Bastaaaards just think of the children...

(They were the one waving from the places it went past)

Anonymous said...

They appear to have the right attitude to fundraising. That said I used to produce a couple of steam loco periodicals and these people are generally very committed.

Not one for fakecharities.org then?

Anonymous said...

My dad took my son on that very train, forgot to take me :-(

Ivor the Engine said...

Anony said:
i had grasped the fact that steam powers the pistons but the energy to make the steam comes from burning coal, and therefore smoke emerges from the funnel.

Actualy the "smoke" you see from the CHIMNEY is 90% steam as the spent steam from the cylinders is not condensed and fed back as water to the boiler. The steam is fed straight through to the chimney via a blast pipe which acts as a draw for the fire which improves boiler efficiency.

enjoy Tornado while you can, if the eco nazis have their way all steam locos will be scrapped.

Ivor the Engine said...

p/s thanks DK for the vids - she's truly magnificent :)

Anonymous said...

thanks Ivor for the correction, and yes it's interesting - like 2 stroke motorbikes, the offensiveness to idiots is part of the charm.
best regards

wh00ps said...

I always loved steam trains and traction engines, even back at school when believed in climate change. or "the greenhouseeffect" as it was called back then. which was about how old i was when i last travelled on the bluebell railway... hmmm thanks dk, i^ve got a lot of convincing the wife about our next holiday to do! hehe and she wants a sun sea sand one lol she ain't gonna be happy!

Man with Many Chins said...

My God, that is a beautiful sight :-)

Basil Brown said...

Anon 2:38PM,

"...when diesels came in and steam-trains were scrapped, the incidence of lung cancers dropped..."

Can you provide a link about that? My info has it the other way around. Diesel-fumes are considered very carcinogenic, but the most-documented risk-factor for LC on't railways historically is from asbestos, use of which in brake-linings and as insulation spanned the steam and early diesel periods.

My preserved-railway recommendation has to go to the Watercress Line. Alton-Alresford; about ten miles and the best bit is the winding climb out of Alresford, where the loco has to work hard and the bark of it's exhaust reverberating in the cuttings is a joy. Stick your head out of the window and draw on particulates the size of thruppeny bits. There's also the afterpleasure of picking bits of clag out of your hair and wafting off again on one of the best smells in all the world.

FlipC said...

DK - Just to promote my area don't forget the svr.co.uk, okay I'll stop the pimping now :-)

Mike Rouse said...

I want to check this out too