London King’s Cross to Edinburgh on Tuesday 11th June 2013 with No. 60163 Tornado and Deltic No. D9009 Alycidon
Following the extraordinary success of this train during the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust is once again recreating ‘The Elizabethan’ express. ‘The Elizabethan’ was the premier train on the East Coast Main Line in the post-war period and this unique railtour will again showcase Tornado at her best and provide nearly 400 miles of travel behind iconic Deltic Alycidon.
On Tuesday 11th June 2013, Tornado will set out from London King’s Cross station and head north to Edinburgh, the route of her famous BBC Top Gear 'Race to the North' with Jeremy Clarkson on board, pausing to collect passengers at Peterborough, York and Darlington. After a break in the Scottish Capital, Alycidon will head the train south covering the 393 miles to London - setting down as outward. This will be the first time a blue liveried Peppercorn class A1 will has arrived at Edinburgh Waverley station since the 1950s and we hope that the carriages will be in matching carmine and cream livery (including our own service vehicle!). Passengers in premier dining will receive a traditional silver service throughout the journey based upon an Anglo-Scottish menu.
We expect there to be much fast running at Tornado's permitted maximum of 75mph and Alycidon's 100mph limit. With this being a summer tour we anticipate wonderful views of the Scottish coast and the Northumberland and Yorkshire scenery with the long daylight hours. Put the date in your diary now! Bookings are via Pathfinder Tours.
In order to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, British Railways renamed ‘The Capitals Limited’ express to ‘The Elizabethan’. The first runs of ‘The Elizabethan’ were made on Monday 29th June 1953, and then resumed for each summer season, until at the end of the 1961 season on Friday 8th September, when the last steam hauled runs were made. Being non-stop between London and Edinburgh in both directions, only corridor tender fitted Gresley class A4s could be used, the sheds at King’s Cross and Haymarket being those to provide them. The inaugural time for the journey was 6¾ hours but in 1954 that was reduced to 6½ hours or only 390 minutes start to stop for the 392.7 miles. From 1962, Deltic diesels took over and whilst nominally non-stop to passengers, they halted briefly at Newcastle for crew changing.
‘The Elizabethan’ express was steam hauled from 1953 to 1961 and Deltic diesel hauled in 1962. Therefore 2012 will mark the 50th year since ‘The Elizabethan’ service was withdrawn and 2013 will mark the 60th year since the service was introduced. “The Lizzie” as the service was affectionately known was principally hauled by Gresley class A4s due to their corridor tenders, although there were times when other classes of steam locomotive deputised for the A4s. Some of the occasions when A1s deputised are 60121 Silurian on 24th & 25th July 1954, unique Thompson class A1/1 60113 Great Northern on 25th August 1954 and 60155 Borderer on 12th September 1954.
‘The Elizabethan’ was immortalised in Elizabethan Express, the 1954 British Transport Film that follows the non-stop service from London to Edinburgh along the East Coast Main Line. Although originally intended as an advertising short, it now acts as a nostalgic record of the halcyon years of steam on British Railways and the ex-LNER class A4s. It was directed by Tony Thompson, with a poetic commentary written by Paul Le Saux. It is also notable for its music by Clifton Parker, who wrote the score for several other British Transport Films.