The National Railway Museum has drawn up plans that will see, from early 2016, the reappearance of The Flying Scotsman around the UK as a working museum exhibit, demonstrating the engineering science behind steam traction to new generation. For the past two years the dedicated team at Riley & Son Ltd have been completing the work to make the 1920s built locomotive fit to operate within the stringent requirements of today’s modern railway network.
The Doncaster-built locomotive has always been a media darling right from the moment it was named after the world’s oldest–established express train between London and Edinburgh. Supporting its time in steam are three Museum showcases where the public can get up close and personal with the nation’s favourite stea, the sole survivor of Sir Nigel Gresley’s well-known A3 class of locomotives.
An inaugural run between London Kings Cross and York will mark Scotsman’s official completion and return to steam, and form the opening event for the National Railway Museum’s February Flying Scotsman Season, a celebration of the fame and celebrity of the locomotive legend, to mark its anticipated return to the tracks.
Highlights will include an exhibition exploring the highs and lows of the steam icon’s rollercoaster career and a Flying Scotsman display in the museum’s Hall of railway greats that allows visitors to step on board the most famous train in the world. The season’s finishing flourish will be the chance to see Scotsman in light steam at a ‘Shed Bash’ at the National Railway Museum’s Shildon Co. Durham site.
“With its new BR Green No. 60103 guise, Flying Scotsman will be starting a new chapter in its long and fascinating history as the oldest mainline working locomotive on Britain’s tracks,” said Jim Lowe, Head of Operations at the National Railway Museum. “Its first outing in its latest incarnation will be a triumphant return home with the inaugural run. The steam icon will be the same colour as when flamboyant business man Alan Pegler saved it from the scrapheap in 1963, and after a decade-long restoration where it has been literally taken down to the bare bones, the frames, it will probably be in the best condition it’s been in since the comprehensive overhaul it received at Doncaster Works that year.”
Fans can also see Flying Scotsman in its black undercoat during its test runs at the East Lancashire Railway, and then resplendent in its BR green livery at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering, North Yorkshire and the Severn Valley Railway in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.
Once the Flying Scotsman’s return to mainline operation is complete, the commercial partnership agreement under which Riley & Son (E) Ltd will manage the operation of the locomotive for a period of two years also includes a programme of on-going maintenance using Riley’s vast experience of keeping steam locomotives on the track.
Flying Scotsman in the Bury workshop. Peter Byrne, Press Association