The Flying Scotsman


Mention the “Flying Scotsman to any railway enthusiast, and it is most likely that they would smile knowingly and start daydreaming and reminiscing about the good old days. They will enthuse longingly about the days of steam, soot and smoke, and maybe mention the Flying Scotsman in loving terms as the most famous steam locomotive ever built in Britain.

For the geeks, the Flying Scotsman is a  4-6-2 Pacific class steam locomotive,  built in 1923 for the London and Northeastern Railway  (LNER) in Doncaster to a design by Nigel Gresley. (4-6-2 is the configuration of the wheels on the train; 4 at the front, 6 main wheels and 2 at the back). It entered service in 1923 on the London to Edinburgh East Coast Main line and got its name from this service between England and Scotland. In its time it has set two world records for steam traction; it became the first steam locomotive to be officially clocked at 100 miles per hour (161 km/h) on 30 November 1934, whilst hauling a light coach configuration between London and Edinburgh, and then  and on 8 Aug 1989 setting a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles (679 km) whilst on tour in Australia. When it was retired from railway service in 1963 the engine had covered over 2 million miles and has gone on to earn considerable fame in its preserved state as it has toured the UK, Canada the US and Australia. Today it is the property of the National Railway Museum in York.

So what has this to do with a travel and photography blog you may ask? The locomotive undertakes regular tours around the country, visiting and operating on heritage lines. Recently the Mid Norfolk Railway played host to this iconic steam engine and I was able to grab some images as it passed close to us. I also paid a visit to its temporary home at the HQ of the Mid Norfolk Railway in Dereham in Norfolk, where it was being operated from. The photographs below are from those trips.

Flying Scotsman arriving at Kimberley Station

Drivers eye View
The Driver explains to an onlooker how it works
Low down view
The Drivers view

Brilliant Engineering from a bygone age.

As with all things old though, bits need replacing, and it is a sad fact that there is very little left of the original locomotive. Those who remember the TV programme “Only Fools and Horses” will remember the saga of Triggers Broom; he had owned the broom for 20 years and in that time he had replaced the head four times and the handle 5 times! Well, sadly the Flying Scotsman locomotive is a much like that. Having said that, the restorers have done a fine job in preserving the spirit of the age in which it operated, and the engine itself so it can bring much pleasure to those old enough to remember the original and young enough to learn about its history.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Arthur Ormrod says:

    Lovely post David. I was aware of the first official 100 mph record but the record for the longest non stop run was a new one to me, fascinating. Arthur


    1. davyh says:

      Thanks Arthur. It was a real joy to see the Flying Scotsman up close and to talk to the operators.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s