Flying Scotsman's Edinburgh visit expected to attract thousands

IT will be one of the most eagerly anticipated events on a trainspotter's calendar.

Friday, 13th May 2016, 9:41 am
Updated Friday, 13th May 2016, 10:47 am
The Flying Scotsman passes a rapeseed field near Durham, as part of its UK tour. Picture: PA
The Flying Scotsman passes a rapeseed field near Durham, as part of its UK tour. Picture: PA

The chance to see the historic Flying Scotsman steam train arrive in the Capital is the stuff of dreams for many railway enthusiasts.

Yet many thousands more, including families with young children, are also expected to share in the enthusiasm of its arrival this weekend.

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The historic engine will make a six-hour trip north from York on Saturday following its £4.2 million refurbishment by the National Railway Museum.

It is expected to arrive at Waverley late in the evening, with exact timings being held back over safety fears. On previous outings, crowds have rushed on to the railway tracks to get a better view.

From there, the Flying Scotsman will make a return journey to Tweedbank on Sunday morning on the Borders Railway and then over the Forth Bridge on the Fife circular that evening. A host of festivities, including musicians and market stalls, have been arranged to celebrate its arrival.

The locomotive was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at that time – and left its Doncaster works on February 24, 1923.

It was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London the following year and had been given the name Flying Scotsman after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily in 1862.

In 1934, the train was clocked at 100mph on a test run – officially the first locomotive in the UK to have reached that speed.

After its trip to Edinburgh this weekend, it will go on display at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway on Monday.

Vic Michel, Chairman of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society who operate the attraction, said: “We are all excited to welcome Flying Scotsman to our railway. It is a great thrill for our volunteers, who keep our steam trains running all year round for over 70,000 visitors, to host the world’s most famous steam engine.” Tourist bosses are hoping to capitalise on the arrival of the Flying Scotsman this weekend by encouraging visitors - many of whom have secured tickets for a journey on the train - to further explore the sights they see on their trip.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Ground-breaking, beautiful and famous the world over, the Flying Scotsman embodies the finest aspects of the country that inspired its name. Sir Nigel Gresley is just one of a long list of Scots who have helped to shape the world in which we live, and it is very appropriate that arguably his most famous creation is returning to Scotland in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

“The 12-month celebration is something which gives us an unprecedented opportunity to put Scotland on the map in a new and exciting way, catching the attention of visitors old and new, positioning our country as a mix of traditional and cutting-edge.