THE team behind the Tornado steam locomotive have been celebrating the 25th anniversary of work starting on the ambitious project.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust worked tirelessly to raise the £3m needed to get the work started at he then British Steel facility in Leeds in 1994.

Dorothy Mather, the late President of the Trust, the registered charity which built, owns and now operates the Tornado, and widow of Arthur Peppercorn, ceremonially started the the profile cutting system which cut the main frames from steel donated by British Steel.

The Northern Echo:

David Champion, the then Chairman and now President of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, and the late Dorothy Mather, Arthur Peppercorn’s widow and former President, formally start the construction of Tornado Picture: Ted Parker/A1SLT

The project took rather longer than initially anticipated but Tornado was unveiled outside Darlington Locomotive Works on August 1, 2008.

"What a 25 years it has been," said Trust President David Champion. "After 18 years of construction and fundraising the new £3m locomotive was unveiled to the world’s press at Darlington Locomotive Works in August 2008. Since completion, No. 60163 Tornado has covered over 100,000 miles and seen service on the Network Rail main line and heritage railways right across Great Britain."

In June, the Trust announced that it had placed a £1m order for two new boilers for its two steam locomotives. The order is to supply the boiler for new Gresley class P2 No. 2007 Prince of Wales, currently under construction at Darlington Locomotive Works.

Mr Champion added: “In order to ensure we have the funds available for Tornado’s overhauls we need to raise in excess of £250,000 each year. Our Covenantor scheme raised the funds to build Tornado and now provides the essential support to keep our locomotive in tip-top condition.

"To ensure we keep Tornado on the main line where she belongs, we would be delighted to welcome you on-board as a Covenantor, from as little as £2.50 each week.

Tornado is now fulfilling the dream of those who helped to build her, hauling main line steam excursions, visiting heritage railways and giving joy to thousands of people who want to witness the legend in action."

For details of how to help visit

, email or call 01325-460163.