A NEW man is at the helm of a Darlington-based railway trust which aims to keep building and running steam locomotives on the main line.

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has announced Steve Davies MBE, a lifelong railway enthusiast, has been appointed as its new chairman.

He joined the board of trustees in October 2019 and is involved in a significant number of heritage railway projects both on a professional and voluntary basis.

A former colonel in the British Army, his career saw him serve on operations in a variety of countries and roles.

He rose to become the commanding officer of his regiment and served at the Ministry of Defence in London working at the military and political strategic level.

Whilst on secondment in Sierra Leone he helped create the country’s National Railway Museum, which continues to thrive today and he still has a close association with.

On retirement from the Army, Mr Davies was director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, then director of the National Railway Museum in York.

During his time there he saw through his grand idea come to fruition, uniting six A4 class Pacific steam locomotives for the 75th anniversary of Mallard’s world record run at 126 mph.

Mr Davies lives in North Yorkshire and is the founder and managing director of the International Railway Heritage Consultancy Limited.

He said, “It’s a great honour be appointed chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust. I’ve worked closely with the organisation for many years.

“I look forward to working with the other trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters to deliver on the trust’s promises: keeping No. 60163 Tornado operating successfully on the main line; completing the construction of No. 2007 Prince of Wales; starting work on Gresley class V4 No. 3403, and expanding the trust’s base in Darlington.

“I have always been attracted to exciting, ambitious and very professionally-delivered projects and organisations, and in that respect I know I am going to feel very much at home with The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust.”

The flagship locomotive Tornado has now left the Wensleydale Railway after completion of its winter maintenance programme and will be housed at the National Railway Museum York until mainline operations recommence.

The trust has the task of raising about £250,000 every year to ensure it can maintain the Tornado.

It runs a covenantor scheme – an A1 for the price of a pint of beer a week – which raised the funds to build Tornado and now provides the essential support to keep the locomotive in good working condition.

People can contribute, or find out more by visiting the trust’s website - www.a1steam.com.