Page last updated at 08:03 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

First passenger trip for new loco

The Tornado
Tornado will make its passenger debut in the new year

The first new main line steam engine to be built in Britain for nearly 50 years will take fare-paying passengers for the first time later this month.

Enthusiasts in Darlington raised 3m to build Tornado - a Peppercorn class A1 Pacific locomotive.

The engine has been undergoing trials while at its new home at the National Railway Museum in York.

It is due to make its first mainline run between York and Newcastle on 31 January, with others planned later.

Seats on the first journey have been reserved for supporters of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which built the engine, as have those on a second outing on 1 February.

'Vision and determination'

Other people will be able to buy tickets for Tornado's first trip to London's Kings Cross on the East Coast Main Line on 7 February.

Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust said: "Tornado's first main line passenger train is the end of another chapter in the story of a project that many said could never be completed.

"In 1990 a group was formed with a vision and the determination to make it succeed - to build and operate a Peppercorn class A1 Pacific steam locomotive for main line and preserved railway use.

"Eighteen years later, and thanks to that shared vision and determination, Tornado turned her wheels in anger for the first time on 1st August 2008 in front of the world's press."

The trust is now launching a scheme to raise a further 500,000 through public donations.

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