Monday, February 9, 2009

First Mainline Steam Engine In Five Decades Makes Long-Distance Trip

The first new mainline steam engine to be built in Britain for nearly five decades has made its first long-distance passenger trip into London.

The train set off from Darlington at 0745 GMT and arrived at London King's Cross station shortly after 1400 GMT.

The 3m Peppercorn class A1 Pacific engine was built in Darlington over 18 years with donations from enthusiasts.

Hundreds watched Tornado arrive in London. Passenger John Warren described the journey as "absolutely phenomenal".

Tornado pulled 13 carriages, equating to about 500 tons, and ran at speeds of up to 75mph.

Additional passengers were picked up at York and the train passed through stations including Newark, Peterborough and Potters Bar before arriving in London.

The train's headlamps, signalling system and onboard voyage data recorder or "black box" are powered by electricity, he added.

Mr Morland denied the steam engine posed a health risk.

"The approach to steam has changed in the last few years but once you have your engine fully certified for the mainline there isn't really a problem," he said.

"Although it does of course create some smoke, actually pulling 500 people with a steam engine is quite an efficient way of transporting people."

Trust chairman Mark Allatt said the journey marked "the end of another chapter in the story of a project that many said could not be completed".

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