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Bachmann Class A1 60163 'Tornado'

Review by Doug Teggin

 

Background

The original Peppercorn A1 series was ordered by the LNER, but the 49 locomotives were built at Doncaster and Darlington for British Railways (BR) in 194849, after the nationalisation of the railways in the United Kingdom. Following the modernisation and dieselisation plans of the 1950s, the A1 Peppercorn class was eventually scrapped at a comparatively early age of just 14 years.

Other famous East Coast Mainline steam locomotives have been preserved, for example several Gresley LNER Class A4 and one LNER Class A3, 4472 Flying Scotsman, but all 49 LNER Peppercorn Class A1 locomotives were scrapped. The last was 60145 St Mungo, which survived until September 1966.

The Peppercorn A1s were designed to cope with the heaviest regular post-war East Coast trains. These were frequently 15 coaches or 550 tons. The locomotives were capable of 60-70 mph (95-110 kmh) on level track. Tornado will be able to haul 10-11 coach trains at higher speeds, to fit modern faster main lines.

The A1 Trust intended Tornado to be built from scratch, designed and built as the next locomotive in the A1 Peppercorn class, not as a replica or restoration project, but an evolution of the class incorporating design improvements that would have occurred had steam motive power continued on the mainline railway.
(Source: Wikipedia)

 

The Locomotive

60163 Tornado is a main-line steam locomotive built in Darlington, England, the first such locomotive built in the United Kingdom since Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built by British Railways, in 1960. Designed to meet modern safety and certification standards, Tornado runs on the UK rail network and on mainline-connected heritage railways. The locomotive is named after the Panavia Tornado military jet.


Tornado under the coaling stage at Didcot - Photo: Ian McDonald
Courtesy of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

The locomotive was built by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, a charitable trust founded in 1990 to build Tornado and possibly further locomotives. Tornado was conceived as an evolution of the LNER Peppercorn Class A1 class, incorporating improvements likely had steam continued, and changes for cost, safety, manufacturing and operational benefits, while replicating the original design's sound and appearance. Tornado, completely new-built, is considered the 50th Peppercorn A1, numbered next in the class after 60162, Saint Johnstoun, built in 1949.

The 49 original Peppercorn A1s were built in Doncaster and Darlington for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). Tornado was built in the trust's Darlington works. The original 49 locomotives were scrapped by 1966 after an average service of 15 years. None survived into preservation, and Tornado fills a gap in the classes of restored steam locomotives that used to operate on the East Coast Main Line.


October 2009 - 60163 passes Salt Lake heading north - Photo: Neil Harvey
Courtesy of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

Tornado moved under her own power for the first time on 29 July 2008 at Darlington, and then spent two months at the preserved Great Central Railway double-track tourist railway in Loughborough, where she was tested up to 60 mph (97 km/h) and operated her first passenger train. Tornado then moved to the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York for three test runs on the main line up to 75 mph (121 km/h). After repainting into LNER Apple Green, Tornado was approved for main-line passenger operation. On 31 January 2009 she hauled her first passenger trip on the main line, The Peppercorn Pioneer, from York to Newcastle and back. By hauling various A1 Trust railtours, charters and other activities, Tornado will begin to recoup the estimated 800,000 debt from the project, which cost around 3 million. (Source: Wikipedia)


October 2009 - Graham Hubbard (Bachmann Models) presents Mark Allatt with the 00 gauge version! - Photo: Neil Whitaker
Courtesy of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust

 

Models of the locomotive

It was inevitable that the model was made of the Tornado locomotive. Converted Class A1 Tornado models were produced by The Model Centre (TMC), pictured above. See here for more information.

 

The Bachmann model

In 2009 Bachmann announced that they would produce the Tornado. A mass-produced model in the first official livery of 60163. Great new for all steam fans

I had difficulty in getting a model for review. I had placed an order with a shop that fell through and I managed to find one eventually at Trains n Railways in Kent. The model is very nicely boxed - the wrap-around plastic supports the model well.

On the layout, the model looks great. Fantastic paintwork and fine detailing as well as a robust construction make it a great model to use on your layout and impress your friends.

A detail pack is supplied with etched nameplates, brake rods, steam pipes, hoses, lamps, steps and scale couplings will allow you if you wish to make the model look even better.

For a few more comments (good and bad) or the model, see the video further down where I ramble on about it. Here are some more photos that show off the model.

 

DCC Decoder installation

See the video below for how I installed a decoder. A bit funny as I had no idea on how to open up the loco.

The HD shows off the model quite well. Take the time to see it in HD and at full screen if you can. The video took 7 hours to upload onto YouTube! I hope that you appreciate it :-)

 

Running-in

After the installation of the decoder, I ran the model in for about an hour on the rolling road. I hooked up the rolling road to my DCC BUS so that I had full control of the model with my system.

Like we have heard on the forum from a few people, the leading bogie promptly fell off after about 45 minutes. The screw is just too loose and there is no locking mechanism. I added a drop of weak glue to the thread to hold it on. I removed the NEM pocket whilst I was about it as I'm not using a front coupler. I like the front of these locos to look as good as possible.

 

What next?

The model will be packed up and shipped off to Australia where Richard from DCC Concepts will install a ESU Loksound sound decoder using real sounds recorded from the Tornado locomotive. One or two other modifications will be made and I'll update this review then with another video and some more photos of the enhancements.

For more info on the Tornado, check out the Tornado Update topic here on the forum that has been running since 2006 and has a good amount of insider information. Many thanks to Graham who has been giving us lots of info of the locomotive.

See the A1 Steam Trust webpage here: http://www.a1steam.com/

 

Many thanks to Trains n Railways for supplying this loco.

DFT - January 2010

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