Flying Scotsman on show at National Railway Museum

  • Published

The Flying Scotsman steam locomotive has been unveiled after a five-year overhaul.

The steam engine, the first to be officially recorded at 100mph, was bought for the nation in 2004.

Since then it has been undergoing major restoration work at the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York where it is going on public display.

Further work is to be carried out later with the engine expected to return to service in the summer.

Rail enthusiast Jean Wright, who witnessed the unveiling, described it as a "wonderful experience".

Bob Gwynne, curator at the NRM, said: "This engine really symbolises the steam age to many people right around the world.

"It reminds us of those glorious days in the 1930s when express trains would roar along behind big beasts like this engine."


The class A3 Pacific locomotive, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster.

The engine was chosen to haul LNER's new non-stop London-Scotland rail service in 1928.

The Flying Scotsman broke records in 1934 when it became the first locomotive to be officially recorded at 100mph (161km/h) on the 393-mile (632km) route between London and Edinburgh.

In its career it travelled two million miles (3.2m km) before being withdrawn from service in 1963.

Since the 1960s the engine has passed through a variety of owners and made numerous trips around the world.

It set another record in 1989 for the longest non-stop steam run of 422 miles (697 km) in Australia.

'Marathon' restoration

The engine was again put up for sale in 2004 and was saved for the nation by the NRM at a cost of £2.1m.

The locomotive was withdrawn from service in 2006 for a major restoration at the museum's workshop in York.

Chris Beet, engineering and rail operations manager at the NRM, admitted the restoration had been a daunting task:

He said: "It has been a bit like a marathon, really.

Image caption,
The locomotive was saved for the nation at a cost of over £2 m in 2004

"A tremendous amount of work has gone into the project, from researching the original designs to sourcing parts."

The project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a donation from Tata Steel, formerly Corus.

Steve Davies, director of the NRM, said: "It has been a long time coming but to see this magnificent machine, now in public ownership, looking as it has never looked before in preservation, is just a spectacular sight and well worth it."

The Flying Scotsman has been painted in the black livery used by LNER during World War II.

After final tests the engine will be repainted in its traditional apple green livery ready for its return to running steam excursions in the summer.

Mr Davies said he hoped the excursions would prove popular with all those who had donated money to help save the engine.

"This is possibly the most beautiful locomotive ever built and the public really does need to get on board. This is their engine."

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.