Will 'Tornado' Locomotive Again Rescue Stranded British Travelers This Christmas?

Dec 2009: Britain’s Tornado steam engine rescued passengers at Victoria StationGreenTracker| Reading the news of stranded passengers all over Europe, it seems that Christmas week will again be a big challenge for travel on the Continent. So far the Eurostar is running with cancellations and delays, but it’s running. Let’s hope for all our European friends that modern train travel doesn’t break down, too.

Last year in a symbolic, old-fashioned gesture, the new ‘Tornado’ locomotive was sent to rescue British travelers and get them home for Christmas. The electric trains were all dead as a doornail.

Traditionally, Britain experiences mild winters, but last year’s was the coldest for 30 years and this December is likely to be the coldest since 1910, says Reuters.

Snow travel: Reaction to frozen Britain crisis BBC News

Dec. 25, 2009: As hundreds of passengers and Mr. Sarkozy himself demand to know how a modern Eurostar train system could be brought to a standstill by bad weather, an old-fashioned steam locomotive Tornado picked up 100 passengers stranded at London’s Victoria Station. The electric trains were delayed or out of service, due to weather.

Unlike the airlines who jacked up the prices of air travel 300 percent for Eurostar travelers desperate to get home for Christmas, Tornado offered a free ride home to Kent for weather-weary travellers.

Tornado Dedication by HRH Prince Chares

The new ‘old style’ A1 60163 Tornado is the 50th Peppercorn locomotive in service in Britain. It was officially christened by the Prince of Wales and the Dutchess of Cornwall earlier this year. Tornado was busy offering festive trips in the region, when staff on board heard about the stranded passengers at Victoria Station.

Delighted to operate an old-fashioned rescue mission, Tornado proved that “she” still has the right stuff.

“She” sounds a bit like Meryl Streep, who pulls the sexual emotional rug out from under the modern, young fashionista second wife in “It’s Complicated”, opening in movie theaters today.  Here’s to living la Dolce Vita. Anne