Flying Scotsman Rebecca Griffiths .pdf
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The Return of a Legend
By Rebecca Griffiths
Following a ten year operational hiatus, Flying Scotsman, the world’s most iconic locomotive, took to
the tracks again.
Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, Flying Scotsman was built at Doncaster Works, costing approximately
£8000, and unveiled to the public on 24th February 1923. Amongst her many achievements,
Scotsman was the first recorded locomotive to achieve speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour on the
East Coast Mainline on 30 November 1934. The locomotive also set a record for the longest non-stop
run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles on 8 August 1989 in Australia. In 1928 the
Scotsman became the first engine to run a non-stop service between London, Kings Cross and
Edinburgh giving rise to a service which runs to this day in honour of this feat.
Flying Scotsman was retired from regular service in 1963 after covering 2,076,000 miles though
continued to gain fame as a heritage engine, appearing at preserved lines throughout England as
well as touring in America, Canada and Australia.
In 2004, following a national appeal to save Scotsman from private ownership, she was acquired by
the National Railway Museum using £415,000 in public donations, a £365,000 gift from Sir Richard
Branson and a £1.8m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. Shortly after this however
Scotsman was found to be in desperate need of an overhaul. Thus followed another public appeal
which raised much of the £4 million required to keep Scotsman steaming.
On Saturday 12th March 2016, after 10 long years, Flying Scotsman returned to service for a week
long run on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Here she was greeted by hordes of enthusiastic
onlookers of all ages, each in awe of this amazing feat of engineering.
Over 8000 tickets were available for haulage behind Scotsman and all were sold out with a matter of
weeks. My husband and I were lucky enough to be amongst some of the first to enjoy this amazing
experience. Looking glorious in her livery of British Railways green and donning her BR service
number 60103, the newly refurbished Scotsman tackled the challenging line of the NYMR faultlessly
and made a stunning spectacle for the hundreds of people lineside between Grosmont and
Pickering. Being part of this event, on board a ‘living’ legend steaming her way across the rolling
moors, beautiful at the best of times, it was certainly easy to see why steam engines, and the Flying
Scotsman in particular, continue to capture the imagination of young and old alike.
Once finished with her busman’s holiday on the NYMR, Flying Scotsman will be on display at the
National Railway Museum and embarking on a program of mainline and heritage rail tours. For more
information see: http://www.flyingscotsman.org.uk/events/scotsman-on-the-tracks/.
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