STUNNING pictures have captured the moment a Darlington-built locomotive steamed its way through County Durham on its way south.

The only mainline steam loco to be built in the UK since the 1960s, Tornado was constructed in the Hopetown Lane Works in Darlington.

It made its debut in 2008 and has since proved a hit, even making the big screen featuring on the BBC's Top Gear programme and the Paddington 2 movie.

Painted in BR Green, it is the only loco of its kind to have reached the impressive speed of 100mph in the last five decades.

And in a rare sight at the weekend, it was spotted as it made its way along the East Coast mainline.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The locomotive has been spotted in County Durham Picture: GRANT PARKERThe locomotive has been spotted in County Durham Picture: GRANT PARKER

Captured travelling at speed, Tornado was seen at Plawsworth, near Chester-le-Street, at around 8.30pm on Saturday.

It is understood the loco had been travelling on a special service between Edinburgh Waverley and York.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Tornado locomotive on the East Coast mainline Picture: GRANT PARKERThe Tornado locomotive on the East Coast mainline Picture: GRANT PARKER

The Northern Echo previously reported how the loco had spent much of its time parked up at the National Railway Museum in York as a result of the pandemic.

Read more: Tornado back on track and ready to steam into Darlington once more

Its planned diary of excursions, and wowing the crowds as it went past, was put on hold due to restrictions.

Sophie James, of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust which is the charity that runs the engine, at the time said: “Please be assured that should another lockdown be implemented, your money is safe and you will be given the option of a refund or hold your tickets over to a new date.”

She added: “For those in search of a change of scenery and a superb day out following months of confinement, there’s no doubt that a day trip with Tornado offers a much needed change of pace.

"With both trains starting in the North East and stopping for passengers in Darlington, you’re guaranteed a wonderful day out whether chugging along cliff tops with spectacular sea views en route to Scotland or steaming through the fabulous Peak District landscape on the way to Liverpool.”