MWM here. Akelamalu has given me permission to do a guest post today regarding my birthday yesterday. My darling wife bought me a very special birthday present - I got to experience riding on the footplate of this
60163 TORNADO - the first steam engine to have been built from scratch for 50 years and it took 19 years to build by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust at a cost of £3.1 million. For any anoraks out there reading this, it is a Class A1 Pacific loco originally designed by A. H. Peppercorn in 1945 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). Unfortunately none of the original 49 that were built were preserved, hence this new build.
Here's me on the footplate being given instructions of where to sit so that I was out of the way of the footplate crew.
Here's the driver Brian
and the machinery that makes it all work so magnificently.
Here's the view of the track from the fireman's perspective.
It has been a lifetime ambition of mine to enjoy a footplate ride and to realise this ambition on such a unique engine, on my birthday, was absolutely wonderful. All too soon the 50 minute journey was over but the memory of this day will be something I will cherish forever and I have a certificate to prove I did it.
Here I am looking very happy riding the train back home