Once a year the A1 Locomotive Trust holds a Convention for its 2551 covenantors (regular contributors) to feed back on the past year and outline future plans. This year's event was held at the Great Northern Hotel Peterborough, followed by a ride behind Tornado on the nearby Nene Valley Railway, accompanied by an excellent lunch served by our hosts on the preserved line.
The Trust reported a successful year financially, with income comfortably exceeding costs. However, when income from covenantors and merchandise are excluded, it was clear that hire fees alone will not fund end-of-ticket overhauls. After 58000 miles in service, Tornado is two-thirds of the way towards a general overhaul. The boiler is in good shape and the problems of maintenance this year have been minor.
There have been 29 main line runs and five heritage railway visits. Next year will also see the Trust hopefully run four more trains itself, a repeat Elizabethan and three tours all starting at or north of Sheffield - good news for many of us!
Finally on Tornado, it was reported that the loco will be repainted into early BR blue in November 2012!
There was then a presentation of the computer modelling done to test the feasibility of successfully running a brand new P2 2-8-2 loco like Cock o' the North on a 21st century railway. So far so good, but there is a long long way to go!
Then the coaches ferried us round to Peterborough NVR station where Tornado shortly arrived with our special train. She looked, sounded and ran magnificently as usual, marred only by a wicked headboard!
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures