The Flying Scotsman returns to the National Railway Museum in York
PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 March 2016
Hundreds of people turn out – some even risk their lives - to welcome back one of the world’s best-loved steam engines as it arrives in York
Never has there been quite such excitement on the platforms of York railway station since, well, not since the last time the Flying Scotsman arrived home after a long absence. The celebrity locomotive 60103 (yes even steam engines can claim celebrity status) pulled into York, delayed by fanatical followers who risked their lives trying to take selfies by the trackside as the engine roared towards them en route from London King’s Cross.
The journey was the first opportunity for the public to see the Flying Scotsman in green livery and carrying its iconic nameplates since its £4.2m decade-long restoration. The landmark first journey along the East Coast Mainline was the locomotive’s first passenger-carrying outing after the end of its testing and commissioning programme.
The Flying Scotsman is considered by many to be the world’s most famous locomotive after its name topped a National Railway Museum poll late last year. Throughout January and early February, crowds turned out in force in the North West to see Scotsman on its test runs at the East Lancashire Railway and along the West Coast Mainline. Then the engine stormed down its old East Coast stomping ground between London King’s Cross and York, reaching speeds of 75mph.
Colin Green, lead engineer on the restoration project, who travelled on the train from King’s Cross, affectionately described the Flying Scotsman as a ‘kettle on wheels’ as he explained the workings of its engine. He said the train was forced to stop four times on its inaugural journey for fear of injuring people attempting to take selfies by the trackside.
He went on to say the restoration was ‘a fantabulous achievement’ and how proud he was of the team of 27 apprentices and tradesmen who worked on the project. He added: ‘It is an iconic name everyone knows, it’s up there with Concorde and the QE2, it’s the nation’s engine and people need to come and see it.’
Paul Kirkman, the director of the National Railway Museum in York, said: ‘We have all been looking forward to the day when Flying Scotsman steams home to York along the East Coast Mainline and now this historic moment has finally come to pass. This celebratory journey marks a new stage in this steam icon’s long and colourful history, and is a tribute to all the people who have worked so hard to make this happen, from those who have worked on the restoration itself to the public who donated to our appeal to bring this legend back to life.’
The historic run took place in the week that marked the anniversary of the British-built icon being ‘out-shopped’ from Doncaster Works after it was built in 1923.
There is a whole season of exhibitions and events throughout the year at the National Railway Museum in York and around the country marking the return of the Flying Scotsman to the tracks.
Visit flyingscotsman.org.uk/events for full details