New-build ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado will assume a new identity in April next year, when it becomes No. 60164 Typhoon.
The locomotive was named Tornado in honour of the RAF fighter jets of the same name then in operational service during the First Gulf War, when the project to build the 50th Peppercorn ‘A1’ was instigated.
However, with the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust keen to maintain its strong links with the Royal Air Force, which celebrates its 100th anniversary on April 1, and with the RAF’s Tornado jets being withdrawn from service in March 2019, it has been decided to rename/renumber No. 60163 Tornado to No. 60164 Typhoon.
The locomotive’s new name will commemorate the RAF’s jets of the same name, which are still in front line service.
A1SLT Trustee Mark Allatt said: “Now that Tornado is approaching ten years since completion, the trust has decided to give the locomotive a new name, new number and new look.
“From April 1 2019, it will be renamed and renumbered to No. 60164 Typhoon, and will also be repainted in the popular British Railways Express Passenger Blue livery carried in 2012-14. This change is a reflection of our desire to maintain an on-going link with the RAF.”
As part of the trust’s initiative to forge stronger links with countries flying Typhoon jets, it is planning to take Typhoon on an overseas tour, which will include Germany, Italy, Span, Austria, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Graeme Bunker, A1SLT Operations Director said: “It’s in the early stages of planning but the first part of the tour will start on April 1 2019 in Aprilschertz in Germany.”
The Peppercorn ‘A1’ is not the first ‘Pacific’ to be named Typhoon, as Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway No. 7 was christened Typhoon when it was built in 1927.