Class A1 Flying Scotsman front

Resource Type: Image | Posted on 11th November 2011 by Liam Physick

This is the front page of a leaftlet issued by Locomotives of the World, referring to one of the most famous of all locomotives, Flying Scotsman: the page nostalgically describes the engine as “a representative locomotive of the good old days when steam locomotives were still the kings of overland transportation”. A Pacific Class, described as “The nation’s favourite loco” by the National Railway Museum, it was built in 1922 at Doncaster by Nigel Gresley (later Sir Nigel) for the Great Northern Railway as an A1 (a type with 2032 mm driving wheels and a long, stout boiler), and launched on 24th February 1923. Following the 1923 merger of the GNR into the London and North Eastern Railway, it carried its GNR number, 1472, as the LNER had not yet decided on a company-wide numbering scheme. It represented the LNER at the British Empire Exhbition at Wembley in 1924 and 1925, thus earning widespread fame: in February 1924, just before the former event, it received its name and the LNER number 4472: it was often used for promotional purposes by the LNER. The locomotive was used to pull long-distance express trains both on the LNER and then later on the Eastern and North Eastern Regions of British Railways, in particular the ten o’clock in the morning service from London to Edinburgh that had been running since 1862 and which was nicknamed the Flying Scotsman, hence the name of the locomotive. It was one of the five Gresley Pacifics selected to pull this train non-stop, doing so for the first time on 1st May 1928 (the first time the service had been non-stop), and appearing in the 1929 film The Flying Scotsman. Flying Scotsman and its sister locomotives were capable of doing so because of their eight-wheel tenders, which could hold nine tons of coal; water replenishment via the water trough system; and a corridor connection and tunnel through the water tank in the tender connecting the cab with the train, thus allowing the driver and fireman to be replaced during the eight-hour journey without stopping the train. On 30th November 1934, pulling a light test train from Leeds to London, Flying Scotsman became the first steam locomotive to be officially recorded at 100 miles per hour, something eagerly exploited for publicity purposes by the LNER. In January 1946, Flying Scotsman was renumbered 502 when the LNER changed the numbering system for its locomotives: in May of the same year it became No. 103 when the new system was amended. It was rebuilt in 1947 as an A3, with enhanced steam pressure: however, by this time A4 locomotives were taking over the presitigious express services. In December 1948, following nationalisation, Flying Scotsman became No. 60103, as nearly all LNER locomotives had their numbers increased by 6000. From 1950 and 1957, it was reallocated to the Nottingham Victoria to London Marylebone service and based at Leicester Central shed, until that service was closed down. In January 1963, its service on British Railways came to an end and it was due to be scrapped, but was bought and preserved by Alan Pegler on 16th April. Pegler restored Flying Scotsman to its LNER condition and took it on a number of main-line railtours, including a non-stop run from London to Edinburgh in 1968, and a tour of the United States beginning in 1969. In September 1966, Pegler bought a second tender as an auxiliary water tank, as watering facilities for locomotives were disappearing due to the impending demise of steam traction on BR: Flying Scotsman was now the only steam locomotive to run on the main line. However, the US tour caused Pegler to go bankrupt in 1972, as the tours’ sponsors pulled out, and the engine was stranded at a US military base. In February 1973, it was bought by Sir William McAlpine and returned to England, touring both the main line and heritage railways: it took part in the Rocket 150 celebrations in 1980. In 1988, Flying Scotsman was sent to Australia to take part in that country’s bicentenenary celebrations: during this tour, on 8th August 1989 it travelled non-stop from Parkes to Broken Hill, a distance of 442 miles, the longest-ever non-stop run by a steam locomotive: this feat is recorded by a plaque on the locomotive. On 28th April 1995, Flying Scotsman was withdrawn from service due to a cracked firebox. On 23rd February 1996, it was bought by Dr. Tony Parchington, who restored it over three years and ran it on mainline tours: the first run after restoration was from King’s Cross to York on 4th July 1999. Parchington subsequently fell into financial difficulties, and on 29th May 2004 Flying Scotsman was bought by the National Railway Museum, where it remains. After doing a few runs between York and Scarborough in the summer of 2004, it underwent a major overhaul, beginning in 2005. On 26th May 2011, the overhaul complete, Flying Scotsman was once more put on display in the National Railway Museum. It has been restored to its wartime black livery, with the number 502 on one side of the cab and 103 on the other. In 2012, it will take part in the torch relay for the Olympic Games in London and is expected to take part in more railtours in future. It has run over two and a half million miles during its distinguished history, and is the only surviving A3 locomotive

Class A1 Flying Scotsman front

Tagged under: steam locomotives, tender locomotives, rocket 150, railway workers, british rail, drivers, heritage railways, firemen, pacific class locomotives, london and north eastern railway

Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

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By Joe and Stella Butler on 12th November 2011

well done Liam very good indeed!!!!

By Shelley on 12th November 2011

I really enjoyed reading this!

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