RESIDENTS woke up early to catch the steam locomotive Tornado leave Darlington train station on Saturday morning as it headed off to Liverpool.

Tornado, which was built in Darlington and was recently repainted in BR locomotive green, left Darlington on its ‘The Ticket to Ride’ tour, steaming across Yorkshire to Merseyside via Manchester.

Kenneth Longstaff, 63, asked his carers to wake him up early so he could see the locomotive.

He said: "I always had an interest in trains. As a boy I used to go to Bank Top and get a platform ticket and take the numbers of the steam trains.

"If you were lucky enough the drivers would invite you up on to the foot plate and one even let me shovel coal into the boiler. It was heavy and I could only manage half a shovel full. I still remember the smell in the cab of hot iron and smoke.

"I used to stand on the Neasham Road footbridge and go home covered in soot and once got a spark in my eye. My mother used to go mad, coming home as mucky as a dustbin lid.

"When I found out Tornado was coming to Darlington, I got my carers to get me up early so I could see it.

"There is a certain nostalgia with a steam train, it is a living breathing machine. I am so proud to live in Darlington where the Tornado was built."