Lopez Mike wrote:
It does seem odd to be doing this at night. I understand the scheduling problems but the whole point of steam excursions is see the thing. This feels like submarine races. Not a big spectator event.
The run wasn't quite a secret Mike, but members of the A1 society were asked to keep it quiet, and there was certainly no warning of the run in the press. The problem is amateur photographers, who in recent years have often strayed onto the track in significant numbers and caused a line shutdown.
Tornado has about a mile of wiring in total: much the same as any modern locomotive, and all the lighting is by LEDs to keep the electrical load down. Even so, the power distribution board looks like it would be fit for a small factory! There was some argument about lighting the valve gear (originally purported to be so that the crew could walk along the running plate and check things: Oh yeah!), but it's caused so much positive comment that I think it's there to stay now.
Hand firing really isn't a problem in the UK, and although various automatic feeders were tested and used over many years, the railway companies were fiercely competitive and very strict on cost-benefit, and they weren't generally economically viable. The big Beyer-Garratt articulated locomotives were the main exception to that, and some had rotary drum tenders. This is partly a result of UK coal quality, which is much easier to shovel than most US coal (the occasional comments of the few firemen who went to the US pre WW2 on the coal quality are definitely unprintable), and also because very few runs in the UK are much over 100 miles. London to Edinburgh is an exception at 400 miles, and non-stop trains had a sort of "crawl-way" through the tender to the first coach, so that crews could change over half way. Tornado's water tanks are wedge shaped and under the coal, so that it mostly comes forward under gravity, and I'm not sure there's a pusher. The coal capacity is only 7.5 tons, down from 9 tons in the original, though water capacity has been increased a bit to 6,200 imperial gallons given that all the water troughs for pickup at speed were removed half a century ago, and most water cranes removed from stations and depots.