RAIL enthusiasts saw the world famous locomotive Tornado travel through St Helens for the first time.

The freshly painted train passed through Newton-le-Willows, Earlestown, St Helens Junction and Lea Green stations at around 1pm today.

Train enthusiasts were on hand to view and take footage of the locomotive passing through the town.

The train also came past St Helens Central shortly after 6pm on its return journey today, Saturday, September 19.

St Helens Star:

Picture Glyn David Davies (St Helens Star Camera Club)

Steaming from Darlington, where the engine was built and completed in 2008, the train stopped for passengers in Yorkshire before crossing the Pennines bound for Liverpool Lime Street.

While Tornado may look like something from a bygone age, it is in fact only 12 years old and is famed for being the only main line steam engine built in the UK since the 1960s.

The locomotive has made history running more than 100,000 miles, hauling royal trains and reaching 100mph - the only steam train to have reached that speed in over 50 years.

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Tornado is also recognisable from Top Gear special ‘Race to the North’ when Jeremy Clarkson took to the shovel and from Paddington 2.

St Helens Star:

David Hennessey's picture at St Helens Junction station

The steam train bearing the name ‘Ticket to Ride’ arrived into Liverpool Lime Street around 1.30pm and passengers had around four hours to explore before Tornado took them up the steep cutting out of the station for the journey home.

St Helens Star:

Tornado going over the East Lancs, returning from Preston Pic: Barry Holland

For the first time, Tornado will also next year haul a train starting from Liverpool, allowing locals to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of yesteryear on a railtour to York on ‘The Jorvik Express’, leaving on Saturday, May 15, 2021.

St Helens Star:

Tornado approaching Rainhill Pic: Barry Holland

For those wanting a little luxury, First Class seating is available, or for a fully indulgent experience, Premier Dining offers silver service at your table for a cooked breakfast and sumptuous four course supper on the return.

Prices start at £109 for a return day trip.

For tickets and more information please see a1steam.com/jorvik or call our booking office on 01325 488215.