London, Apr 6 : The first steam engine to be built in Britain for more than half a century is about to take to the tracks.
A replica of the last steam locomotive on the East Coast Main Line, between London and Scotland, the 60163 Tornado, will be fired up in the next few weeks and taken on the first of a series of test runs before making its commercial debut in the autumn.
Producing 2,500hp, the engine will be capable of up to 60mph. However, its first outing will be a few yards from inside the shed where it is being assembled, at the Darlington Locomotive Works.
The 3 million pounds project, built to plans for the A1 class, drawn up after the Second World War by Arthur Peppercorn, of the London and North Eastern Railway, is the fruit of 18 years of fund-raising and craftsmanship.
Mark Allatt, chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, said that the locomotive would be fitted with additional water capacity and the latest safety electronics.
"Tornado will be fully equipped for today's main line railway," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.