THE team behind Tornado, the first steam locomotive built in the UK for decades, is celebrating a string of achievements – as plans for a second engine continue to progress.

January marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Tornado’s designer and has also seen it clock up a long-service record and a cameo appearance in the hit BBC show Sherlock.

Arthur Pepporcorn, the designer of the A1 class of locomotives, was born in Herefordshire on January 29, 1889.

Loading article content

He died in 1951 and his widow, Dorothy Mather, president of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which built Tornado in Darlington, was present as the locomotive made its debut in August 2008.

Since then, Tornado has become one of the busiest steam engines on the railway, having covered more than 73,000 miles.

Tornado has now served longer in traffic than the last steam locomotive to be built by British Railways, Class 9F, No. 92220 Evening Star, which clocked up just five years in service in the 1960s before being withdrawn.

Earlier this month, Tornado made a brief appearance in crime drama Sherlock, in 4mm scale model form.

Model manufacturer Hornby was asked to supply a track layout and locomotives for a scene in the third series of the crime series.

Staff from Hornby travelled to Cardiff, where the series is filmed, to set up the track, and the layout can be seen in a scene in the first episode of the new series.

Tornado, in her original British Railways apple green livery, was one of the locomotives to be featured on screen.

Hornby is giving away this on-screen prop. Visit for more details.

Mark Allatt, chairman of the trust, said: “Tornado continues to do what she was built for – hauling express passenger trains at speed, thrilling passengers and line-siders alike.

“None of this would have been possible without the dedication, professionalism and generosity of our covenantors, volunteers, contractors and other supporters.”

Mr Allatt is involved in plans to build a second steam locomotive in Darlington – the Gresley-class engine Prince of Wales Roadshows giving details of the scheme’s progress will be held in the spring.

One will take place at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, at 11am, on April 5. For more details, visit