I have nothing but the greatest admiration for the team of people who for the last 19 years have been doing their utmost to produce this remarkable achievement. A tribute I think to all those incredible British engineering skills, which have made this country so famous.
It clearly is wonderful that so many volunteers and enthusiasts have put so much time and effort and sheer love into building this incredible locomotive.
What gives me even greater pride and pleasure is the fact that I’m exactly the same age as the A1 Locomotive - 1948 - a very good vintage I promise you.
I think also this locomotive is a great tribute to Arthur Peppercorn and his original design. He was the last Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London and North East Railway and the wonderful thing is that his widow Mrs Dorothy Mather, is here today as President of the A1 Trust. I’m sure she shares equally in my delight to see the birth of the fiftieth A1 locomotive.
So ladies and gentlemen after a wonderful tribute to the commitment and hard work of the A1 Trust and its army of voluntary supporters over the past 19 years, to whom we owe the greatest possible debt of gratitude, the steam engine has been returned to the British mainline and will again serve as an iconic and inspirational symbol of Britain.
And as someone who remembers the days of steam engines so well, this really is a special day.
Now Ladies and Gentlemen, my wife and I would like to declare that this engine is named ‘Tornado’. May God Bless all who are lucky enough to locomote behind her.