Tornado, the first steam locomotive to be built in Britain for almost 50 years, will begin hauling charter trains on the mainline rail network later this month. The newly-liveried Peppercorn class A1 engine will be a magnificent sight in its classic LNER Apple Green coach enamel, which was supplied by Craftmaster Paints of Stourbridge, in association with Manchester surface coatings manufacturer HMG Paints. This £3 million locomotive, recently named by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, will provide a memorable showcase for the firms’ undercoat, primer, topcoat and heat resistant paints and the ability of these finishes to withstand high temperatures and an oil- and steam-laden environment.
“We are extremely proud that all the paint on the engine and tender are classic transport coatings that have been developed jointly by Craftmaster and HMG,” says Craftmaster director and founder, Phil Speight. “It’s an exceptional application for Craftmaster products, which will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, and in a few years’ time we shall hopefully repeat the exercise, when Tornado will be reliveried in another classic paint scheme.”
Tornado was built by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in Darlington, using funds raised by railway enthusiasts, and recreates a class of steam locomotive that was originally commissioned by British Railways in 1948/9, immediately following nationalisation. Designed by Arthur Peppercorn and regarded as the most reliable of express passenger steam locomotives then in service, just 49 Class A1s were built, but due to the rapid onset of diesel power, all were scrapped by the 1960’s.
The project to build a brand new Peppercorn Class A1 from scratch was launched in 1990 and, after years of planning, construction and fundraising, was completed in August 2008. The engine was then moved to York’s National Railway Museum in October to start main line trials and, having previously run in a test livery of photographic grey, was finally transferred to NRM’s paintshop for its fresh colour scheme of Apple Green and Black, which dates back to LNER passenger locomotives of the 1920’s.
Phil Speight had earlier supplied Craftmaster products to classic restoration specialists M-Machine of Darlington, for the locomotive’s original test livery, and was happy to donate another 20 litres of high quality, high solids Coach Enamel for Tornado’s final paintwork, as well as a similar quantity of Special Coach Enamel Varnish for the clearcoat finish. He also matched the precise Apple Green shade to a product sample provided by the museum, which is actually not quite the same as the British Standard colour of the same name.
The locomotive’s paint system, from primer and high build undercoat to classic coach enamel, results from a highly developed and close technical partnership between Craftmaster and HMG Paints that dates back a dozen years, in which HMG develops formulations to Phil Speight’s specifications, using pigments and components of the highest quality. The boiler, cab, tender and chassis are primarily green, with black detailing, while the smokebox, footplate and frames are painted black and the front/rear buffer beams are finished in red.
The Craftmaster coach enamel used for this application is an ultra high quality, synthetic enamel intended primarily for brush application, with a long wet edge to allow the largest vehicles to be painted without brush drag. It was applied over a high build undercoat in a complementary colour, for depth of finish, and overcoated with clear alkyd varnish, which is 98% reflective. In addition, there were heat resistant black paints, formulated for withstanding different temperature ranges on different parts of the engine.
“The Tornado livery is a tribute to the technical performance and outstanding finish of our paint, as well as the expertise of the National Railway Museum’s paintshop team,” says Phil. “Craftmaster and HMG Paints work closely together to deliver an old-fashioned level of quality and service to a thoroughly old fashioned, classic transport market, which is exemplified by this superb project.”
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