The locomotive was completed in 1923, construction having been started under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway (GNR). It was built as an A1, initially carrying the GNR number 1472, because the LNER had not yet decided on a system-wide numbering scheme.
Flying Scotsman was something of a flagship locomotive for the LNER. It represented the company at the British Empire Exhibitionat Wembley in 1924 and 1925. Prior to this event, in February 1924 it acquired its name and the new number of 4472. From then on it was commonly used for promotional purposes.
With suitably modified valve gear, this locomotive was one of five Gresley Pacifics selected to haul the prestigious non-stop Flying Scotsman train service from London to Edinburgh, hauling the inaugural train on 1 May 1928. For this the locomotives ran with a new version of the large eight-wheel tender which held 9 tons of coal. This and the usual facility for water replenishment from thewater trough system enabled them to travel the 392 miles (631 km) from London to Edinburgh in eight hours non-stop. The tender included a corridor connection and tunnel through the water tank giving access to the locomotive cab from the train to permit replacement of the driver and fireman without stopping the train. The following year the locomotive appeared in the film The Flying Scotsman. On 30 November 1934, running a light test train, 4472 became the first steam locomotive to be officially recorded at 100 mph (160.9 km/h) and earned a place in the land speed record for railed vehicles; the publicity-conscious LNER made much of the fact.
On 22 August 1928, there appeared an improved version of this Pacific type classified A3; older A1 locomotives were later rebuilt to conform. On 25 April 1945, A1-class locomotives not yet rebuilt were reclassified A10 in order to make way for newer Thompson and Peppercorn Pacifics. Flying Scotsman emerged from Doncaster works on 4 January 1947 as an A3, having received a boiler with the long "banjo" dome of the type it carries today. By this time it had been renumbered twice: under Edward Thompson's comprehensive renumbering scheme for the LNER, it became no. 502 in January 1946; but in May the same year, under an amendment to that plan, it become no. 103. Following nationalisation of the railways on 1 January 1948, almost all of the LNER locomotive numbers were increased by 60000, and no. 103 duly became 60103 in December 1948.
Between 5 June 1950 and 4 July 1954, and between 26 December 1954 and 1 September 1957, under British Railwaysownership, it was allocated to Leicester Central shed on the Great Central, running Nottingham Victoriato London Marylebone services via Leicester Central, and hauled one of the last services on that line before its closure.
All A3 Pacifics were subsequently fitted with a double Kylchap chimney to improve performance and economy. This caused soft exhaust and smoke drift that tended to obscure the driver's forward vision; the remedy was found in the German-type smoke deflectors fitted from 1960, which somewhat changed the locomotives' appearance but solved the problem.
Number 60103 ended service with British Railways in January 1963 and was sold for preservation to Alan Pegler, who had it restored at Darlington Works as closely as possible to its LNER condition: the smoke deflectors were removed, the double chimney was replaced by a single chimney, and the tender was replaced by one of thecorridor type with which the locomotive had run between 1928 and 1936. It was also repainted into LNER livery, although the cylinder sides were painted green, whereas in LNER days they were always black. It then worked a number of railtours, including a non-stop London–Edinburgh run in 1968 – the year steam traction officially ended on BR. In the meantime, the watering facilities for locomotives were disappearing, so in September 1966 Pegler purchased a second corridor tender, and adapted as an auxiliary water tank; retaining its through gangway, this was coupled behind the normal tender. Flying Scotsman at Carnforth in 1982 with original single chimney and without the later German-style smoke deflectorsPegler had a contract permitting him to run his locomotive on BR until 1972, but following overhaul in the winter of 1968–69 it went on a promotional tour to the USA, for which it was fitted with cowcatcher, bell, buckeye couplings, American-style whistle, air brakes and high-intensity headlamp. The trip was initially a success, but when Pegler's backers withdrew their support he began to lose money and was finally bankrupted in 1972.
Fears then arose for the engine's future, the speculation being that it could take up permanent residence in America or even be cut up. After Alan Bloom made a personal phone call to him in January 1973, William McAlpine stepped in and bought the locomotive for £25,000 direct from the finance company in San Franciscodocks. After its return to the UK via the Panama Canal in February 1973, McAlpine paid for the locomotive's restoration at Derby Works. Trial runs took place on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway in summer 1973, after which it was transferred to Steamtown (Carnforth), from where it steamed on various tours. Flying Scotsman at Seymour railway station, Victoria in 1989, equipped with electric lighting for operation on Australian railwaysIn October 1988 the locomotive arrived in Australia to take part in that country'sbicentenarycelebrations and during the course of the next year it travelled more than 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi) over Australian rails, including a transcontinental run from Sydney to Perth. It was a central attraction in the Aus Steam '88 festival, double heading with NSWGR locomotive 3801, and running alongside Victorian Railways R classlocomotives along the 300 km (190 mi)-long parallel broad and standard gauge tracks of the North East railway line, Victoria. The Flying Scotsman stayed in Victoria for two months before heading back to New South Wales. On 8 August 1989 Flying Scotsman set another record, travelling 442 miles (711 km) from Parkes to Broken Hillnon-stop, the longest such run by a steam locomotive ever recorded. A plaque on the engine records the event.
Returned to the UK, by 1995 it was in pieces at Southall Railway Centre in West London, owned by a consortia that included McAlpine as well as music guru and well-known railway enthusiast Pete Waterman. Facing an uncertain future owing to the cost of restoration and refurbishment necessary to meet the stringent engineering standards required for main line operation, salvation came in 1996 when Dr Tony Marchington bought the locomotive, and had it restored over three years to running condition at a cost of £1 million. Marchington's time with the Flying Scotsman was documented in two films, the BBC's A Gambol on Steam, and the later Channel 4programme A Steamy Affair: The Story of Flying Scotsman. Flying Scotsman at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire UK. October 2005With Flying Scotsman's regular use on the VSOE Pullman, in 2002, Marchington proposed a business plan, which included the construction of a "Flying Scotman Village" in Edinburgh, to create revenue from associated branding. After floating on OFEX as Flying Scotsman plc in the same year, in 2003 Edinburgh City Council turned down the village plans, and in September 2003 Marchington was declared bankrupt. At the company's AGM in October 2003, CEO Peter Butlerannounced losses of £474,619, and with a £1.5 million overdraft at Barclays Bank, stated that the company only had enough cash to trade until April 2004. The company's shares were suspended from OFEX on 3 November 2003 after it had failed to declare interim results.
With the locomotive effectively placed up for sale, after a high-profile national campaign it was bought in April 2004 by the National Railway Museum in York, and it is now part of the National Collection. After 12 months of interim running repairs, it ran for a while to raise funds for its forthcoming 10-year major boiler recertification.
In late 2005, Flying Scotsman entered the Museum's workshops for a major overhaul to mainline running standard; originally planned to be completed by mid 2010 if sufficient funds were raised, but late discovery of additional problems meant it would not be completed until late spring 2012. The bay in which the locomotive was being refurbished was on view to visitors to the NRM but the engine was rapidly dismantled to such an extent that the running plate was the only component recognisable to the casual observer. Early in 2009 it emerged that the overhaul would see the loco reunited with the last remaining genuine A3 boiler (acquired at the same time as the locomotive as a spare). The A4 boiler that the loco had used since the early 1980s was sold to Jeremy Hosking for potential use on his locomotive,LNER Class A4 4464 Bittern.
Debate over restorationEdit
In the NRM Workshop (18 November 2007)Choice of livery is an emotive subject amongst some of those involved in the preservation of historic rolling stock, and Flying Scotsman has attracted more than its fair share as a result of 40 years continuous service, during which the locomotive underwent several changes to its livery.
Alan Pegler's preferred option was evidently to return the locomotive as far as possible to the general appearance and distinctive colour it carried at the height of its fame in the 1930s. A later option was to re-install the doubleKylchapchimney and German smoke deflectors that it carried at the end of its career in the 1960s, which encouraged more complete combustion, a factor in dealing with smoke pollution and fires caused by spark throwing.
More recently, until its current overhaul it was running in a hybrid form, retaining the modernised exhaust arrangements while carrying the LNER 'Apple Green' livery of the 1930s. Some believe that the more famous LNER colour scheme should remain, while others take the view that, to be authentic, only BR livery should be used when the loco is carrying these later additions. The subject is further complicated by the fact that, while in BR livery, the locomotive never ran with its corridor tender.
The National Railway Museum (NRM) announced on 15 February 2011, that Flying Scotsman will be painted in LNER Wartime Black livery when it undergoes its steam tests and commissioning runs. The letters 'NE' appear on the sides of the tender, along with the number '103' on one side of the cab and '502' on the other - the numbers it was given under the LNER's renumbering system. Flying Scotsman will be repainted in its familiar-look Apple Green livery in the summer, but remained in black for the NRM's Flying Scotsman Preview Weekend which took place on 28–30 May 2011.
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Because of the LNER's emphasis on using the locomotive for publicity purposes, and then its eventful preservation history, including two international forays, it is arguably one of the most famous locomotives in the world today, and no doubt among the most famous in the UK. One of its first film appearances was in the 1929 film The Flying Scotsman, which featured an entire sequence set aboard the locomotive.
Flying Scotsman was featured in The Railway Series books by the Rev. W. Awdry. The locomotive visited the fictionalIsland of Sodor in the book Enterprising Engines. At this time it had two tenders, and this was a key feature of the plot of one of the stories, "Tenders for Henry". When the story was filmed for the television seriesThomas & Friends, renamed as "Tender Engines" only Flying Scotsman's two tenders were seen outside a shed. He originally intended to have a larger role in this episode, but due to budgetary constraints ,the modelling crew could not afford to build the whole engine.
RailSimulator.com, developers of the simulator RailWorks, released a model and associated activities for the simulator on 5 November 2010.
Flying Scotsman made a short appearance in an episode of the '60s spy show Danger Man episode "The Sanctuary".
A model of the Flying Scotsman appeared in Episode 6 and The Great Train Race episodes of James May's Toy Stories. It was James May's personal childhood model and was chosen by him to complete a world record for the longest model railway. The train was meant to travel 7 miles from Barnstaple to Bideford, in North Devon and it failed early in the trip in Episode 6 but managed to complete it in The Great Train Race which took place on 16 April 2011.
The locomotive also appeared in the animated film, "The Illusionist" (2010) adapted and directed by Sylvain Chomet from a screenplay by Jacques Tati. The film, set in Edinburgh in the early 1960s shows 4472, with smoke deflectors, leaving Waverley Station with the eponymous hero aboard.