THE first steam locomotive to be built in this country for nearly 50 years has returned to the region.

The Peppercorn class A1 Pacific steam locomotove, named Tornado, yesterday moved to the National Railway Museum (NRM), in York.

The £3m train was built by a band of volunteers in Darlington.

For the past two months, it has been undergoing trials on the Grand Central Railway (GCR), in Loughborough, where it reached speeds of up to 60mph.

The Tornado will be on display in the NRM’s Great Hall for a few days, then she will be behind the scenes until February next year, undergoing final preparations for her main line debut.

It is hoped she will be reaching speeds of up to 75mph.

After the tests, she will enter the NRM’s paint shop and lose her test livery of grey.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, said: “The trust can’t thank Grand Central Railway enough for their professionalism, helpfulness and hospitality during our stay.

“We will look forward to returning many times in the future.

“Tornado at the NRM is the next chapter in the story of a project that many said could never be completed.”

Bill Ford, president of the Great Central Railway, said: “It has been a real honour to host the running in trials and first passenger trains for Tornado.

“She’s a handsome machine and her smooth debut is a tribute to the skill and determination of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.

“We wish this great team of people and their engine every success in future endeavours and hope to welcome her back to the GCR in future.”

Andrew Scott, director of the NRM, said: “Hosting Tornado during her main line trials confirms the NRM’s position as the centre of all things rail.

“Not only was York the final home of the Peppercorn class A1s but the original drawings used to recreate this extinct class of steam locomotive are preserved by the NRM and without them this fantastic project, which has been more than 18 years in the pipeline, would not have been possible.

“We’re excited to see Tornado in the NRM’s Great Hall next week – we are certain she will draw a lot of attention and attract many visitors to the museum.”

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust still has to raise £50,000 for a support coach and £66,000 for tests and trials.

Anyone who can help is asked to call 01325-460163, visit or email enquiries@