ERS 153 - Tornado The New-Build Engine

ERS 153 - Tornado The New-Build Engine - Simon & Ryan

Story Summaries by Ian


The arrival of celebrity new-build locomotive Tornado causes quite a stir on Sodor, with stations crowded and line-sides full of people wanting to see the visiting engine. Gordon is suitably impressed and talks highly of the new build, but all the fuss irritates Henry who feels the new comer is receiving far too much attention for an engine that will surely suffer the same faults as any other. As Henry soon discovers, even the latest designs can suffer set backs, as indeed Tornado has in real life. When the visitor has to be rescued by Bear Henry feels justified in his skepticism, but Tornado for his part is greatly surprised by Henry’s negative attitude.  This story was based on an incident which took place on an SiF trip in May 2009, when problems with Tornado's fusible plug meant that she could not haul a train back, and left her out of action for one of the days of service on the North York Moors Railway.


When the Fat Controller reveals that one of Gordon’s spare fusible plugs is being used to repair Tornado, discussion leads to Gordon asking about the former Darlington Works. He is horrified to learn it has been demolished, and that Tornado was built in an old carriage shed, but Tornado reveals his fondness of his first home. A real life event is then recalled as he tells the tale of how, on his first day in steam, he needed help from the fire service as he ran low on water. This causes some hilarity in the shed as talk turns to Gordon and Henry’s own encounters with the fire brigade!  Taken again from the documentary For The Love Of Steam: The Tornado Story, which Ryan had used previously for one of his stories - thankfully some careful editing and additions meant we could use the story twice.



Trains finding themselves stuck in snow is not new to the series, but emphasizes well Tornado’s youthful ignorance of it’s dangers. The first snow of the year fascinates Tornado, who is intrigued by Donald and Douglas’ work with the snowploughs, Tearlach and Tavish. His questioning of why the diesels don’t do the work is met with some disdain, and although the big engines tell tales of how troublesome snow can be, Tornado doesn’t heed the warning. Next day he comes to a stand three miles short of Cronk before a deep drift and in whistling a warning, brings snow down behind his train.  This was based on an incident involving Peppercorn A2 Hornet's Beauty in the december of 1962, which can be found here.


Tornado’s final days on Sodor are somewhat marred by his upset, feeling he has let so many down by his failures. His last train, a non-stop across the Island filled with enthusiasts and well-wishers, takes on a more urgent stance when it is revealed a donor organ for Tidmouth is to be put on the train. The Fat Controller arranges for the line to be clear, and without further ado Tornado departs on his high-speed run. Despite causing wear to his motion during his run the organ reaches the hospital in time and, by evening, the Fat Controller delivers the good news that the little girl will make a full recovery thanks to Tornado’s special efforts. Praised and celebrated, Tornado takes great delight in being praised a really useful engine.