British Steam Engine Clocks 100 MPH in 2017

An exciting new era is about to unfold for British Pacifics.

Tornado in action

Up until now, these sleek beasts in preservation have been restricted to 75mph, still pretty fast for a steam train.

Back in the 1960s when steam hauled main line express trains, Merchant Navy Class and others quite often exceeded the ton.

In the dead of night on April 11, 2017, Tornado, a newly built A1 class only a few years old, was let loose on the main line between Doncaster and Newcastle with the speedo maxing out at 100 mph.

Apparently, this test was due to operational issues scheduling steam on the main line as they are holding up other trains, not due to their abilities, but imposed speed limit of 75 mph.

I reckon a lot of people will make their way to the UK if preserved steam engines on main line service start travelling once again at 90 – 100 mph.

The author standing in front of Princess Elizabeth at Gloucester 2016

There are a number of candidates, including the recently rebuilt Flying Scotsman. Rail Buffs could be in for a feast in the near future.
Last year I travelled behind Princess Elizabeth at 75 mph and she was coasting. This was quite unlike my journeys in other countries. This engine looked a thorough bread and with that four cylinder beat, made a roar even at 75 mph. The driving wheels were huge compared to what I am used to and perhaps this explains their ability to maintain high speeds.

It is a combination of easy grades,straight track and sheer steam power that enables that 100 mph running.

It will be interesting to see what the old girl can do if they remove the speed restriction.

This is exciting news. The video below shows the Tornado flying past at high speed in the dead of night. Listen to the roar!


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