IT’S the legendary locomotive whose very name conjures up images of a bygone era – a distant past steeped in the old-fashioned romance of the rail.
And now the Flying Scotsman is gearing up to steam into Edinburgh for the first time in almost two decades, sending trainspotters across the Capital into fits of excitement.
We would urge people to use safe vantage points to view and take pictures of the train, stay clear of the line and not be tempted to risk their lives and the lives of others by trespassing on the tracks.David Oram
The historic engine will make the six-hour trip north from York on Saturday following its £4.2 million refurbishment by the National Railway Museum.
But the precise details of the iconic journey are being kept secret – after the locomotive’s return to the main line in February saw crowds throng onto the tracks to get a better view.
More than eight hours of delays hit 59 services on the East Coast Main Line as trains were stopped due to safety concerns between London King’s Cross and York.
Bosses are now urging the public not to trespass onto the tracks – with the British Transport Police vowing to take “proportionate and necessary” action against those who do.
Chief inspector David Oram said: “We understand people are excited about seeing the Flying Scotsman’s return and want them to have a great day out.
“Our priority is the safety of the public and passengers viewing and travelling on the train. The railway is a hazardous environment and we would urge people to use safe vantage points to view and take pictures of the train, stay clear of the line and not be tempted to risk their lives and the lives of others by trespassing on the tracks.”
Lucky passengers who shelled out £749 for a seat in Flying Scotsman’s dining carriage are set to tuck into smoked trout with quail eggs, roasted fillet of Highland beef – and a zested lemon cheesecake.
The 97-tonne steam engine was built in Doncaster in 1923 and broke speed records ten years later after hitting 100mph.
It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives then used by the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway. Celebrated in its time and endlessly romanticised ever since, it hauled the first ever non-stop London to Edinburgh service in 1928, reducing the journey time to eight hours.
The locomotive was retired by British Rail in 1963 after pulling trains for 40 years. Steam engines, it was argued, were becoming old-fashioned. It then spent years in private ownership before being snapped up by the National Railway Museum in 2004 and restored for the nation through a complex overhaul.
Flying Scotsman’s triumphant return as a working museum exhibit makes it the oldest mainline working locomotive on Britain’s tracks.
Its return to the Capital will be its first visit in 16 years.