Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Tornado Comes To East Anglia

Due to an abject lack of news at the moment, n which subject look for a new post in the next couple of days, here is a post I've been saving up. Cast your mind back to August Bank Holiday, which was a very warm, sunny if windy day. It also saw Class A1 Pacific 60163 Tornado come to East Anglia on a charter to Great Yarmouth from London. Huge crowds were expected to see one of the newest locos around - Tornado was only built in 2008 - and finding locations for unique pictures was going to be difficult.

However, Tim and I hatched a plan and ventured to a station only reachable by train or boat, and police car as it turned out - Berney Arms. It also took an experienced rail journey planner to realise the only way back to Yarmouth from Berney Arms was via Brundall, so we were fairly confident there wouldn't be many joining us. But I wanted to see Tornado is more than one location, so before meeting up with Tim in Yarmouth, I went to my secret location in Norwich where with just a couple of fishermen for company I waited for Tornado to appear. Lovely scene.

Tornado heading for Norwich
I had hoped to beat Tornado to the Acle Straight but alas hot bank Holidays, great Yamouth and traffic don't make a great combination, and steam beat petrol quite comfortably. So I joined the merry throng at Yarmouth and watched the shunting movements involving a rather smart DB Schenker Class 66 as Tornado was reversed back to Norwich to turn round.

After the hordes had gone and just the Mark I's remained while the two locos played musical tracks at Norwich, Tim and I waited for our train to Berney Arms. Before it arrived, though, the familiar growl of the Class 37 short set was heard, and it set up one of those photos tat just looks timeless in back & white.

Nostalgic eh!
A short ride on one of the tastefully refurbished 170's later and we alighted through the designated door at Berney Arms, my first visit there. The words "middle of nowhere" are overused, but wholly appropriate in this case. I've been to Dovey Junction in North Wales which is also inaccessible by road, but at least that has mountains. Berney Arms has nothing!

I mean nothing!
We weren't alone, 3 others had also got off but I wanted a location where we could see the trains long distance and get the station in view, and a field opposite the station ticked all the boxes. The theory was soon put to the test as the 37's passed through on teir way back to Norwich.

37405 passes Berney Arms
As you can imagine at such a popular bustling location security was high. A Police helicopter was spotted, and ten the amusing sight of a BTP car dodging the cow pats and ditches to make sure no riot was taking place at one of Britain's remotest stations! And even then they only spoke to the people on the station, not Tim and I standing in a cow field!

Please disperse - nothing to see here!
One quirk about Berney Arms is the amount of information there - I know far bigger stations with far less information. Fair play to whoever looks after the station.

The information  board at Berney Arms
And then Tornado came through, firstly being reversed back to Yarmouth, pulled by the 66, and then spectacularly with the full rake of 12 coaches.

Tornado passing through Berney Arms
Sadly the stills from the video haven't turned out great, but you can see all the videos from the day below. Thanks to Tim for the company, and to the brilliant people behind Tornado for making her visit possible. Her older sister, or should that be brother Flying Scotsman is coming later this month and we'll be out trying to avoid the crowds for that too.


  1. Tornado is a wonderful piece of engineering. Seen her 5 times, 4 on the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough and once on the ECML. Definitely going to try and get seats on the 90mph run next April and a few round trips on the NVR again in May won't do any harm!


  2. Just a note, 60163 was built in 2008, she is 10 next year...

    1. Cheers, Charlie - amended!

    2. Ipswich bus latest accounts published. Whilst they show a modest operating profit they have made a significant loss overall.

      They stand to next year have increased investment costs whilst at the same time a considerable revenues loss due to the Park & Ride Contract loss and the reduction to the shuttle bus service in addition changes to the way Concessionary fare revenues are calculated could cost them up to £500K

      They are planning to have a total review of all their services. Whilst they do not say so I think it will lead to service reductions. It will be a very challenging 12 months. Carters bus cost may rise as well now they have been fully absorbed into Ipswich bus