Return ticket to steam’s last hurrah of steam

A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado passes Arksey with Steam Dream Cathedrals Express from Kings Cross to York on 7 July 2013. Picture: Geoff Griffiths/A1SL
A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado passes Arksey with Steam Dream Cathedrals Express from Kings Cross to York on 7 July 2013. Picture: Geoff Griffiths/A1SL
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In its day it was the premier train between Yorkshire and London, transporting thousands of people in the post-war period.

Now the legendary 60163 Tornado steam locomotive is to ride again with the famous The White Rose express returning to the rails in 2014.

A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity behind famous new steam locomotive 60163 Tornado claims the new rail tour will showcase “Tornado at her best”, providing nearly 400 miles of travel.

The Tornado, which has just undergone an extensive winter maintenance period, will be hauling her first main line rail tour of 2014 in April between London King’s Cross to York, before doing the journey in reverse.

The attention to detail has been high with the carriages to be coloured in the historic carmine and cream livery of its heyday.

Passengers in premier dining on ‘The White Rose’ will receive a traditional silver service throughout the journey, with rail bosses saying they expect the service to be running at its maximum speed of 75mph

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, said: “We are very pleased to announce our first main line railtour of 2014 with ‘The White Rose’.

“Tornado will be hauling fewer main line trains during 2014 than in previous years as we look to expand our own exciting rail tour offerings, so we anticipate that seats for this train will sell out rapidly.

“This is a classic Peppercorn class A1 run from London King’s Cross to York, offering magnificent sights and sounds that will accompany a fast, express working – an experience not to be missed.”

The Tornado, a new build steam locomotive Tornado, was completed in 2008 and recently found renewed fame after it was featured in BBC Top Gear’s ‘Race to the North’, which saw it pitted against a Jaguar XK120 car and a Vincent Black Shadow motorbike in a race between London and Edinburgh.

The race saw the train break a number of records for preserved steam locomotive operation in Britain, including the first ‘non-stop’ all-steam-hauled passenger train between Waverley and King’s Cross. However the train, ‘driven’ by Jeremy Clarkson, was pipped narrowly by the Jag, driven by James May.

The new journey will take place on along a 189 mile-long stretch of the East Coast Main Line.

As part of the route Tornado will stretch her legs along the line once frequented by the original Peppercorn class A1s, taking in the magnificent sights of the spring countryside heading towards York.

Pick-ups will be made along the way at Potters Bar, Stevenage and Peterborough. On arrival at York passengers will have time to explore the city before boarding ‘The White Rose’ for its return leg to London.

A spokesman said: “Tornado will be hauling a limited number of main line rail tours during 2014, the overwhelming majority of which will be promoted by its owning group with all profits going towards the upkeep of this magnificent locomotive.

“Consequently, space on this train is likely to be at a premium and so an early reservation is recommended.”

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is a registered charity. It built the Peppercorn class A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado, named after the RAF aircraft, at its Darlington Locomotive Works. After 18 years of planning, construction and fundraising the £3m locomotive was completed in 2008. Tornado was named by HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at York station in 2009 and is frequently in the Press.

It has been fitted with additional water capacity and the latest railway safety electronics, meaning that Tornado is fully equipped for today’s modern main line railways.

Tickets for the ‘The White Rose’ are priced at standard class (adult £99.00, junior £74.00), first class (adult £139.00, junior £104.00) and premier dining (adult £225.00, junior £168.00) with all profits going to The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. Tables for two in first class and premier dining are available for a supplement of £25.00 per person.

Bookings by debit or credit card are via ticket agents Pathfinder Tours on 01453 835414/834477 or through www.a1steam.com.