By mattbuck (category) (Photo by mattbuck.) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A new BBC Yorkshire documentary gives viewers a glimpse behind-the-scenes at the moment a British-built steam engine hit 100 mph for the first time in 50 years.

Tornado, a British-built steam locomotive, was built over two decades in Darlington, financed by enthusiasts who wanted to show steam has a viable future on Britain’s railways. Almost 50 years since the last steam locomotive travelled at 100mph on a UK main line, Tornado attempted to recreate history by reaching the magic “ton”.

This documentary follows the team of volunteers making sure Tornado was in the shape of its life in the run up to the test train. Then as the train crew took over and stepped onto the footplate, seven cameras were mounted on Tornado, giving insight into the excruciating test of man and machine in the early hours of 12 April 2017.

On its route, the Peppercorn class A1 steam train travelled from Doncaster through York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle, before turning round and successfully accelerating to hit the 100mph mark in the dead of night.

Nicola Addyman, executive producer of Tornado: the 100mph Steam Engine, said: “This achievement was a momentous occasion for the railway industry and something which will be remembered for years to come.

“Our documentary shows how much spirit and determination went into hitting the ton, and viewers will see the great emotional journey everyone went on throughout the night.”

A total of £3m was spent to build Tornado, and it costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to run every year. A plan has been devised to prove Tornado can run regularly at up to 90 miles per hour, and this test run was done to show it can safely run at 10 percent over that speed.

The 1×30 minute documentary was produced by BBC Yorkshire and narrated by BBC Look North Yorkshire’s Tom Ingall. It was executive produced by Nicola Addyman.

Tornado: the 100mph Steam Engine, airs on BBC One in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, the North East and Cumbria on Monday 15 May at 7.30pm.

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