The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, responsible for the construction of A1 60163 'Tornado, have announced that they will be withdrawing the new-build engine for the rest of the 2018 season.
Following discussions with Tornado's operator DB Cargo, the trustees of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust have decided to withdraw No. 60163 from traffic for the remainder of 2018 in order to complete repairs and recertification of the locomotive to DBC’s satisfaction.
After a valve gear failure on the 14th April, the trust had hoped for a quick return to operation for Tornado. Saturday 6th October was a significant day in the return of the engine to main line operation, and following two of weeks successful running-in on the Nene Valley railway during which a total of 772 miles were covered, made up of 225 miles light engine and 547 miles loaded, one of DB Cargo’s steam examiners carried out an audit of the condition of the locomotive and the “standard” paperwork which accompanies it including test certificates for the boiler and air reservoirs, ultrasonic testing of the axles, spring weights etc. No significant defects were found, however, in addition to the essential repairs to the inside valves and valve gear, the trust decided to refurbish and renew parts of the outside cylinder valve gear whilst the engine was out of service.
The A1 Steam Loco Trust and DB Cargo have indentified the likely contributory factors in the failure. Each one on its own is unlikely to have caused the failure, however coming together, excessive rubbing between a ring or the valve head itself eventually resulted in localised heating which led to a thermal runaway causing the valve head to expand until it became locked in the liner. This stopped the spindle moving which placed a great load into the inside valve gear which was absorbed by flexing the combination lever until it broke.
The upcoming SRPS railtour this Saturday will now be diesel hauled rather than being hauled by Tornado. No. 60163 will remain based at the Nene Valley Railway until its loaded test runs.
Latest from Unseen Steam
- Final call to ride the iconic 'Union of South Africa'
- Telford Steam Railway seeks Ironbridge site plan support
- Historic main line loco pulling trains at Swanage this week
- Appeal launched to celebrate Tornado's birthday and imminent return